Black father and grandfather posing for cell phone selfie with baby boy

Source: Ariel Skelley / Getty

It’s awkward. Asking your parents whether they’re leaving you any money when they die may feel self-serving, entitled or even down right embarrassed. But there are some realities that are even more harsh. They will pass on. And unless your familial unit works on generational financial stability, you will likely struggle as much as your folks, or more.

Studies reveal that even savvy financial moves such as pursuing higher education, obtaining good-paying jobs and saving aggressively are still not enough to close the wealth gap between Latinos/African-Americans and whites. Systemic racism, from redlining to limited access capital, has created a financial divide in excess of 10x over. That means, even if you do everything right, you, your children and your grandchildren will be at a loss—hustling to pay for a college, killing themselves to start a business, and drowning in house debt—unless folks shift gears. Instead of pushing through using the same methods, or giving up, experts suggest people of color consider all of the tools whites have used historically to establish intergenerational financial stability. The biggest? An inheritance.

Don’t think millions of dollars. While big money pots are great, even $10,000-$50,000 can dramatically change your life because, if used correctly (e.g. wipe out student loans, down payment of a house or to secure a business loan), it will minimize your overall debt load and interest payments, freeing up cash to…build assets for yourself and future generations. So, talking to your parents, and other elders, isn’t just about you; it’s about pushing forward as a community.

There is another glaring issue: many parents are living paycheck to paycheck themselves (no inheritance to help boost them) and it’s hard for them to get out of survival mode and carve out money for the future. Here’s how you can help them be great. Ready to talk to your elders about changing the course of your family forever? CASSIUS offers five investments that will help your parents (aunts, uncles, etc…) ensure that generations to come have increased financial stability.

Remix Those Benefits Packages

Ask your elders to sit with their human resources specialist and review the allotments they’ve made for their retirement and death. Have they utilized employee matched funds? Have they taken advantage of additional insurance options? Have they made sure to designate all of their funds to loved ones? Have they talked through all considerations for passing along benefits? Schedule a meeting now.

Life Insurance

Many people have too little life insurance. How many times have you heard elders talk about spending money for decades on policies that barely cover funeral costs? It’s time to take the taboo away for money and death and think beyond the burial. Ask your elders what kinds of things they’d want to do for their loved ones, maybe help pay for a niece to attend college or a grandson fund his video game company, and let them know life insurance is a tool to help accomplish these goals. At minimum, folks should have a policy that is valued for at least 7-10x their annual income—you can also have more than one policy. Encourage your family members to think as life insurance as the ultimate gift to your family—it’s more important that toys during Christmas or fancy name brand locations—because it changes the course of lives. And everyone—blue or white collar—has access to it.

Heirlooms

Don’t sleep on the old junk lying around grandpa’s house. If there is anything that has an even remotely interesting story get it appraised, insured and have the person include it in his or her will. If your family doesn’t have anything of value, think “yet.” What are some savvy purchases that can increase in value if passed down? Think artwork, antiques and high-quality jewelry.

Property

There’s a lot of focus on gentrification in big cities, but there is a huge world beyond New York, San Francisco, Washington, DC and other booming cities. Purchasing an investment property in a smaller real estate market can create a cash flow and allow your elders have something to pass along to others.

Business

African-Americans are among the leading group of new business owners but ensuring that the wealth is passed along requires some forethought. Speak to a financial planner about the necessary insurances that will protect the company. Additionally, discuss the investments that can be made to increase the value of the company (e.g. should you purchase or lease equipment, facility, etc…) to guarantee that the business value isn’t solely labor based.

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