Retiring While Black

An older Black man in a gray suit with gray hair and glasses is holding papers. He looks at a folder that is being held by a Black woman in a black suit and white blouse with curly black hair and glasses. There is a window behind them, and they are in a brick building. RODNAE Productions/Pexels

Systemic racial inequalities mean that Black people face greater disparities when it comes to generational wealth, financial growth, home buying, and maxing out retirement accounts. A range of approaches to address this issue are discussed. One intriguing idea is creating “baby bonds,” or small trust accounts set up by the U.S. government that are automatically given to every newborn infant.

“For many Black Americans attempting to balance their day-to-day finances and retirement planning, the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout have been disproportionately bad news. Forty-four percent of Black Americans said either they or a member of their household experienced job or wage loss, according to a 2020 Pew Research Center study.

All of these problems and more—systemic oppression and bias in housing, healthcare access, and educational opportunity, as well as employment and wage inequality—have combined to make retirement insecurity a pressing issue for Blacks, says Shawn D. Rochester, author of The Black Tax: The Cost of Being Black in America. ‘This anti-Black bias manifests itself in the form of discriminatory behavior that results in a quantitative economic cost which has an intergenerational effect on Black Americans at all levels and dramatically increases retirement insecurity,’ he says.”

Note: While this article doesn’t address the issue from a feminist perspective, it has important information for everyone wanting to take steps to shore up their own personal retirement security.