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Committed to narrowing the wealth gap and promoting economic justice

Securian Financial supports visionary nonprofit in removing barriers for Black financial professionals to enter and thrive in the industry.

According to The American College Center for Economic Empowerment and Equality — a visionary nonprofit organization committed to narrowing the wealth gap and promoting economic justice with collective, community-focused lasting solutions — the wealth gap is real and underserved communities have faced institutional barriers to financial security and wealth for decades, leaving a significant gap between those benefiting from the current system and those being left behind.

The wealth gap, in numbers

Black individuals are much less likely to receive any inheritances or gifts. Even when receiving transfers, Black individuals receive smaller amounts, with a much lower probability of substantial transfers.

Comparatively, Black and Hispanic households across all ages receive just 40 and 67 percent of what White households inherit, out of households that received any inheritances in a five-year window. It’s estimated that White households inherit over 5.3 times as much as Black households and 6.4 times as much as Hispanic households.1

The importance of wealth for economic security

Wealth is essential for economic security because it can be used for consumption, which is directly connected to well-being. Wealth is also a resource for households to draw from in times of economic hardship, enabling them to smooth consumption over time despite temporary income loss or instability. Moreover, wealth is necessary for individual economic mobility and growth of the economy as a whole. Wealth gives households the ability to pursue an education, take employment or investment risks, move to new neighborhoods, buy a home, and start a business. The ability to take these risks and be resilient to economic shocks has positive spillovers to the entire economy.3

The gap between White and Black homeownership rates is wider now than in 1960, when housing discrimination was rampant and legal, U.S. Census Bureau data shows. In 2022, 74.6% of White households owned their homes, compared with 45.3% of Black households — a gap of more than 29 points.2

Recent findings and historical data showing a longstanding wealth gap suggest that low wealth can persist among Black families for generations.4 When a significant share of the population is unable to fully participate in the economy, private consumption and investment suffers, stifling GDP growth.5

Doing well by doing good: integrating community needs with business goals

The American College Center for Economic Empowerment and Equality recommends the financial services industry, nonprofit organizations, corporate America, and government agencies look at underserved communities as an investment and focus on “doing well by doing good.” Pursuing this goal is a moral as well as a business imperative — and a significant opportunity — as America readies to become a minority-majority by 2045. At Securian, we cultivate a culture where trust, diversity and inclusion, and giving back to the community are priorities. We are committed to our role as a good corporate citizen.

Collaborating with the American College Center for Economic Empowerment and Equality

Securian Financial is proud to make a financial commitment to the American College Center for Economic Empowerment and Equality's Four Step Forward initiative. Securian Financial’s $3M commitment as a lead funder will help with the expansion of the program. This includes expanding a scholarship program to prepare more Black Americans for careers in financial services and implementing a new approach to study group and mentorship programs to recruit, train, and retain more Black financial professionals.

“We are committed to this organization,” said Nicole Hansen, Executive Director, Securian Financial Foundation and Director, Community Engagement. “We have adopted 50 scholars each year, 50 students from HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities), who will be able to go through programming free of charge every year of our joint work. That potentially impacts 300 African American financial professionals and unlocks the opportunity to attend conferences, network, work with other Black financial professionals, and help build community.”

Annual CAAFP inspires transformation of Black representation in our industry

Securian has been a long-time sponsor of the Conference of African American Financial Professionals (CAAFP), organized by the American College of Financial Services and the largest gathering of its kind. As part of the work with the American College Center for Economic Empowerment, Securian has renewed their sponsorship through 2026 and will support the build out of the CAAFP Community Network.

More than a dozen Securian associates traveled to Washington, D.C. in 2022 to attend CAAFP and returned with new ideas and inspiration. Sessions across the multi-day conference centered on four themes: creating connections, building industry knowledge, engaging intergenerational networks and advancing equity in the financial services industry.

“In our community, we often talk about Black excellence – the conference was such an undeniable embodiment of that term that I almost felt it was an out-of-body experience. Being surrounded by successful entrepreneurs, who have the pulse on what is happening in our nation and our industry and look like me, made this a very meaningful experience, especially because throughout my career I have often been the only African American in the room.

“I am so happy that Securian has opened up the space for us to be who we are and to use our voice. That has not always been my experience in other organizations — but on my team and with my leaders, I feel that the way I see the world, my perspective carries weight,” said Cynthia Billingsley Smart, manager, customer benefit payments.

Securian is excited to be part of the 2023 CAAFP, as well as to continue building its relationship with the American College Center for Economic Empowerment by  supporting its talent development and research programs.

“Working with the college and their Center for Economic Empowerment and Equality is our obligation. Regardless of where we are as a financial services company, it is our obligation to ensure that all people have an opportunity for excellence and success. And because there is a systemic disadvantage to being Black or being a person of color in the United States, a direct correlation to your earning capabilities or your power to make a difference, it’s so stark that it’s on us. We who have an opportunity must deliver. The best thing for us to do is create a wholistic collaboration that will live in perpetuity and help Black Americans achieve financial success at rates they wouldn’t have been able to do had we not made the investments.” Nicole Hansen

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White households on average inherit about five times more than Black families.1

Nicole Hansen, and Cynthia Billingsley Smart are Securian Financial employees and therefore have a financial connection to Securian Financial. Their statements were given freely.

1. Huntley, Jon and Osorio, Victoria. Inheritances by race.” Penn Wharton Budget Model, December 17, 2021.

2. Henderson, Tim. “Black families fall further behind on home ownership.” Stateline, an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts, October 13, 2022.

3. Harris, Benjamin, Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy and Wertz, Sydney Schreiner, Economist. “Racial Differences in Economic Security: The Racial Wealth Gap.” U.S. Department of the Treasury. September 15, 2022.

4. “How Big Is the Inheritance Gap Between Black and White Families?” Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, December 2022.

5. Buckman, Shelby R., Laura Y. Choi, Mary C. Daly, and Lily M. Seitelman. 2021. “The Economic Gains from Equity.” Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Working Paper 2021-11.

6. “Four Steps Forward to Promote Upward Mobility and Wealth Building for Black America.” The American College Center for Economic Empowerment and Equality.

DOFU 2-2023