How a Nasty Exchange on LinkedIn Led to a New Non-Profit
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“Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of your arm. As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands. One for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”
– Audrey Hepburn
After allowing myself to descend into a crude “comment fight” with an annuity hater on LinkedIn, I came away feeling that “Balkanization” is an apt term to describe the warring factions that exist within and outside of the asset management and insurance business silos with respect to annuities.
Too much energy is wasted arguing over issues such as compensation schemes, who is or is not a genuine “fiduciary,” or the relative value of various types of investment and insurance products.
That exchange of comments on LinkedIn led me to write an article on the experience. I titled it “The Tragic Politicization of Annuities.” The writing process was cathartic. Still, I was left with the feeling that I should do more to help improve a hostile climate.
A question emerged in my thinking: What problem could be solved or what issue or challenge could be addressed that would offer wide appeal to the expansive advisor community? The answer that made sense to me was financial education.
My thought process led to creating Project 6000 Minutes, a new non-profit that will, on a nationwide basis, provide free financial education to women of color. The reason for this focus is that, for underserved communities, a constellation of factors make it difficult to transcend a disadvantaged financial status.
For women in these communities, education is the way out – the positive force that puts them on a path toward lifelong financial success. There is no time to waste. The financial reality for women of color in underserved communities is staggering:
- Nearly half of women (48%) do not have a stable, good-paying job that pays the bills, allows for savings, and allows them to be healthy.
- Half of women of color (52%) have less than $200 in savings.
- Roughly half of Latinx (51%) and Black (48%) women do not have enough money to pay for basic needs like food and housing.
Source: Time’s Up Foundation
To change things, the sharing of knowledge is one of the most meaningful and impactful actions we can take. I’m confident that the financial advisor community can unite in support of a just cause, namely, using financial education as the tool to build a more equitable society.
A vast reservoir of financial knowledge
When it comes to personal finance, financial advisors of every stripe possess a collective base of knowledge that is unequaled. But when knowledge is unshared, when its capacity to change lives is left unused, it results in a loss of potential that would otherwise ignite a radical transformation.
Although the advisor community is not yet representatively diverse in terms of racial composition and socioeconomic status, it is diversified in its reservoir of knowledge. Each segment of the advisor community has specific expertise and skills. Project 6000 Minutes will serve as a unifying framework for this financial knowledge, where each segment of the advisor community is able to join together, having a place of honor and importance, and contribute its specific and valuable expertise.
By focusing on a compelling human need, financial education for Black, Latina, Hispanic and other women of color, we can brush aside business conflicts in favor of aligning efforts for a noble objective. The advisor community is large enough, dispersed enough, and talented enough to materially impact a societal transformation.
Diversity is a priority in the home offices of most insurers and asset managers. This is a positive development. However, diversity initiatives filter down to the advisor level on only a limited basis. This is why Project 6000 Minutes is important. It is at “street level” where lives will be changed.
One way that lives will change – along with an entire industry – is by developing a pipeline of women of color who seek to make a career in financial advisory or insurance planning. This will be the logical outgrowth of educating large numbers of women. When exposed to financial education, some of those women will wish to enter the financial field. This must be encouraged. To defray her “start up” costs in terms of study materials and exam fees, Project 6000 Minutes will provide a scholarship to any woman of color who seeks a career in insurance planning or financial advisory.
The vast community of financial advisors reaches every corner of the U.S. When advisors deliver financial education in their local communities, they will ignite a positive change that will be make an impact spanning generations. Advisors will be the recipients of positive PR and brand-building in their communities, while developing the next generation of investment and insurance clients.
The key to Project 6000 Minutes will be the financial advisors who makes a commitment to contribute some of their time to educate women of color in those communities. Here is how Project 6000 Minutes got its name. If an advisor donates two hours per week for one year to this cause, that is equal to 6,000 minutes!
How to help? An advisor’s contribution to this initiative should be time, not money. We seek financial support from the corporate sector. My fervent hope is that large companies will view the mission of Project 6000 Minutes as timely and vital. Supporting Project 6000 Minutes provides a path for companies to demonstrate their commitment to building a more equitable society, while demonstrating their support of the individuals who support their enterprises.
Please visit the Project 6000 minutes website at http://www.project6000minutes.org/. If you are interested in supporting the Project, please complete the contact form at the website.
Please consider supporting the mission of Project 6000 Minutes.
Wealth2k® founder David Macchia is an entrepreneur, author, IP inventor and public speaker whose work involves improving the processes used in retirement income planning. David is the developer of the widely used The Income for Life Model®, and the recently introduced Women And Income®. David has authored many articles on the subjects of retirement income planning and financial communications. He is the author of two books, Constrained Investor®, and Lucky Retiree: How to Create and Keep Your Retirement Income with The Income for Life Model®.