Building Financially Secure Futures: An Approach for Boys and Men of Color

by Alexandra Bastien

Apr 20, 2015

This research brief examines the economic and financial challenges facing boys and men of color and lifts up asset-building strategies that can be integrated with targeted services for this group. It also highlights successful practices that are already addressing financial challenges at a community level and draws from these practices to inform policy recommendations.
  • As the U.S. experiences a major demographic shift, with growing populations of people of color, financial insecurity in communities of color is also increasing, contributing to a widening racial wealth gap.
  • Young men of color face barriers that undermine their ability to build financial security: an educational achievement gap, low labor force participation rates, disproportionate incarceration rates, and overly harsh enforcement in the criminal justice system and in child support.
  • Bringing a targeted focus on boys and men of color into existing programming to break the cycle of poverty can help improve financial stability and overall economic outcomes.
  • Practices with a demonstrated record of impact include programs targeted to formerly incarcerated job candidates, programs that bridge the gap between employment and financial security through organizational relationships, and worker-owned cooperatives addressing unemployment among men of color.
  • Policy recommendations include requiring financial education in elementary and secondary education curriculum, establishing city government initiatives on financial inclusion for low-income residents, eliminating the practice of jailing defendants for inability to pay court fines and fees, and basing child support on ability to pay – among others.