ABOUT 10 YEARS AGO, ALICE BARNES WENT TO a seminar at her community church called Making Changes in Your Life. A representative from Prudential Financial was sharing the company's plans to recruit people of color so that they could better serve the minority community. The event turned out to be an 'aha' moment for Barnes. She had been out of work for about seven months after taking a buyout from JP Morgan Chase when the company moved her wealth management division to another state.
"I had been doing some soul searching and exploring what I wanted to do," says Barnes. "Helping my community and becoming my own boss really struck a chord."
Before long Barnes had her own practice, which has grown to more than 250 clients. As her business grew and she identified clients, she found herself increasingly drawn to black women.
"More than 80% of my clients are black women. Many of them are nurses, some are in finance, and their average annual salary is about $100,000," she says.
Regardless of income or occupation, Barnes has noticed some similarities between black women when it comes to financial behavior that she feels they need to be aware of.
"Black women are the breadwinners in the family, but quite often they're so busy taking care of others that they don't take the time to take care of themselves. They don't get the knowledge and information they need to thrive financially," says Barnes.
In fact, a Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation study found that nearly three-quarters of black women worry about having enough money to pay their bills.
Barnes also says many black women have challenges developing confidence and self-esteem when it comes to creating financial wellness.
"Sometimes, it's unveiling themselves. It's not so much a reluctance to ask for help; it's a reluctance to trust. Quite often, black women have been burned...