How to take control of your financial future

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JPMorgan Chase pledged a $125 million five-year commitment in investing in fintech solutions and financial coaching to help underserved communities increase savings, build credit and achieve their financial goals. (Photo: iStockphoto / NNPA)

There are significant racial disparities in the financial health of Black and Latinx households, which serve as a barrier to achieve financial stability, meet their long-term financial goals and build wealth. According to the JPMorgan Chase Institute, Black and Latinx families have 32 and 47 cents in liquid assets for every $1 held by White families.

This is why JPMorgan Chase pledged a $125 million five-year commitment in investing in fintech solutions and financial coaching to help underserved communities increase savings, build credit and achieve their financial goals.  A strong foundation of financial wealth is important to establish strong households, build our community, and the economy.  Surveys show that 16 percent of adults can’t pay their bills on time every month and 25 percent miss out on their medical care to buy food.  In addition, 50 percent of small business owners have a number of difficulties, leading to shutting down within the first five years.  With these numbers in mind, it is clear to infer that people within these circumstances have to constantly choose between their needs of survival. 

“When I think of financial health, I think about what Gandhi said in regard to “each one teaching one” and we’ve got to do a better job at that,” said Stephanie Jones, a Chase Executive Director who manages the execution of financial literacy programs in underserved communities.

The goal of Jones’ team is to assemble more members of the community to become “financially fit” and educate them on the advantages of having a bank account. However, Jones’ team doesn’t work alone, the firm also partners with local community organizations, such as CASH Campaign of Maryland and the Financial Empowerment Center at Prince George’s Community College to help as many neighbors as possible reach their  long-term financial aspirations. 

“No matter where you are financially, budgeting and saving are two key habits that can help all of us bounce back from life’s unexpected moments,” said Lawrence Bailey, head of financial health and community development for Chase. “Another important habit is understanding how credit works and what goes into a score.”

“We do a lot of listening.  We know we don’t have all the answers.  And we will actually listen. We’ll do roundtables and listen to the community. It’s important for them to tell us : how can we help? Where do they want us to focus our efforts?” She said. 

Out of one of these listening sessions came Chase Secure Banking. Secure Banking is a safe and affordable checking account that expands access to traditional banking to more consumers, even if they’ve had trouble getting or keeping a checking account in the past., The account has many benefits, one being the disallowance of overdrafts. Jones expressed the company’s excitement in committing in helping one million people open low-cost checking and savings accounts

Without opening up a history book, most are aware of the major contributions that African Americans have had in the advancement of the American economy since the forming of this country.  However, Black people have consistently received the short end of the stick economically leaving the community at cyclical disadvantage. According to Money Talk with Tiff’s financial wellness survey of both African Americans and white Americans, 38% of answers about financial literacy were correct by African Americans.  This is comparable to their white counterparts with 55 percent.  With this information taken into account, JPMorgan is focused on ceasing the repetition of history economically for the Black community and beyond.

Here are a few tips to staying financially healthy:

  • Build a budget to meet your needs. Three in four people have concerns about creating a budget that’s flexible and realistic for how they live. It’s a good practice to update your budget frequently to gain a clear understanding of where and how you can give and take. There are digital tools that can help keep an eye on your expenses and income, and allow you to find gaps or ways to save.
  • Use technology to help keep you on track. Over a third of your credit score is based on on-time payments. Financial technology can help you with managing your bills and how you get paid. Automate all you can, and set up transaction alerts for deposits and withdrawals. If you use the Chase Mobile app, we have videos that can help you set these up.
  • Monitor and protect your credit. Nearly 75% of Americans are concerned about improving their credit score. Some actions can impact your credit more than others, and having a clear picture of your credit score is critical. Sign up to Credit Journey for free. This is important if you are considering applying for a loan or a credit card, or refinancing debt or your home loan.
  • Set aside savings, when possible. Eighty-nine percent of Americans have concerns about preparing for unexpected expenses. Having money set aside in an emergency fund can help you find peace of mind. Also, by saving regularly, you’ll have the financial flexibility to help take on your goals in 2021 and beyond. Use an online calculator to see how your savings are tracking. Even setting aside a few dollars a week can help you prepare for the unexpected, and save for short- and long-term plans.
  • Stay alert to scams. Scams continue to remain prevalent. To stay up to date, see the Federal Trade Commission’s advice. It is smart to triple-check any social message, email, or solicitation you get. Know that Chase won’t ask for confidential information—such as your name, password, PIN, or other account information—if we reach out to you.
  • Look into payment programs if you need help. If you are worried about making payments, contact your home loan, car, or credit card company and ask if they have any payment relief programs.  For example, Chase customers can find support at COVID-19 including options to defer payments or get relief on their credit card, or car or home loans.

“I’m really excited to work for a company like JPMorgan Chase that really has the commitment, not only to provide financial literacy and education, but also think about the right tools and products and services to help as many people as possible become banked. We want to see everyone banked.” said Jones

For more tips on how to get financially fit, visit: www.chase.com/personal/financial-goals.

_____________________sponsored by JP Morgan Chase & Co__________________