Portfolios and People

Posted: November 18, 2015 in Uncategorized

Tyrek Vice (Photo taken by Kelli Wright/TU Student)

Pulling down his black baseball cap emblazoned with the Porsche crest, Tyrek Vice, a Towson University Senior, chows down on a bag of chips as he speed walks down the hall. He means business. Every Tuesday, at 5pm, Vice is here.

Red and White numbers flash quickly across the black screens all over the room. The T. Rowe Price Financial Lab in Towson University’s Stephen Hall is Vice’s own little NASDAQ.

“We grew up learning  about everything besides financial literacy,” Vice says as he takes his seat in the back of the room. “My mother has her masters degree. My father wasn’t around. I would like to give the knowledge of finances to my little cousins back in New Jersey. My future children.”

When asked his personal opinion on the diversity of the Towson University Investment Group (TUIG), Vice hesitates.

“I’ll only mention it’s not as diverse as I’d like.”

African Americans are 35 percent less likely than their White counterparts of comparable income to invest in the stock market. This inhibits their ability to accumulate wealth, a study released by Charles Schwab and Ariel Mutual Funds reported in a survey conducted by Neuwirth Research. They surveyed 500 African Americans and 500 Caucasians. Each member of the group was required to earn over $50,000.

Women (though representing almost half of the job market) seem equally unsure about investing.

Research shows that women are taught less financial literacy. Traditionally, women are taught that men should run the finances. Though celebrities like Suze Orman have attempted to directly tackle female financial literacy, it is still a subject of contention.

TIG, the student run investment group at Towson reflects these statistics.

Of the 17 students in attendance, 13 were white males. There was only one white woman and three black males in attendance.

Jake Fenlason, a 21-year-old senior and president of TIG is aware of the disparity.

“I know traditionally, stock market trading is considered a White, male-dominated field,” Fenlason says, “In the last year, we have focused on building diversity in the group and letting everyone know they are welcome.”

African-Americans are more conservative when it comes to playing the stock market. They accumulate wealth at slower rates.

Women share this trait.

Courtney Taylor, a Towson University junior, is the lone female at the Investment club.

“This is my first time here. I came to get credit for a class.,” Taylor says, “Investing is boring.”

Investing is  dangerous.

It’s a high risk activity. Many people may feel afraid of losing money because it’s so hard to earn. The NASDAQ room, with its millions of flashing lights seems a game only played by the reckless.

Catherine Avery Investment Management Group released some interesting statistics regarding women and investing.

“Women in lower-income households were motivated by the “basics” for their families including adequate insurance coverage and preparation for life changes, whereas high-income women were focused on saving for retirement and understanding or enjoying high returns from financial investment” (according to Catherine Avery Investment Management Group)

“Household income proved to be a strong indicator of a womans investment savvy. Not only did those with incomes greater than $50,000 value diversification more than their less wealthy counterparts, but they were also significantly more inclined to be aware and knowledgeable of various types of investment opportunities.” (according to Catherine Avery Investment Management Group)

It seems class, race and gender discrimination all have roles to play when it comes to the lack of diversity found among those who invest in the stock market.

The Washington Post reported that, “black women are the fastest growing segment of the women owned business market, yet, female black-owned firms trailed all other races of women when it comes to revenue generation. Black women receive only six percent of the revenue generated by all women-owned businesses. That compares to the 29 percent received by white women.”

For women of color, increased participation within women’s associations, collectives and trade groups can greatly increase cross-cultural social capital and relationships suggests Forbes magazine.

As Vice packs up at the end of the meeting he laments, “I would love to see more people of color here. It seems we’re always behind when it comes to wealth accumulation. Will we catch up?”

Fenlason, adjourning the meeting, asks the members of TUIG whether there are any other issues they want to discuss.

Vice shakes his head. Placing his earphones inside each ear, he exits the room.









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