Building Generational Wealth
Last updated May 15, 2023
As a first-generation college student, you may feel the weight of the challenges you face when it comes navigating higher education for the first time. In addition, the historical inequities in access to education, employment opportunities, and financial resources for Black and Brown communities make it challenging to find success in college, accumulate wealth, and pass that wealth down to future generations. While these inequities exist, it’s essential to acknowledge that building generational wealth is possible.
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What is Generational Wealth?
Generational wealth is the financial legacy that you can pass down to future generations. This can include both money or assets - like bank accounts, investments, earnings from a business, and more. Inheriting generational wealth can provide a path towards financial stability and access to resources or support systems that can empower someone to achieve their goals and aspirations, without having money as their #1 concern.
Building generational wealth is particularly important for communities who have historically faced systemic barriers to wealth accumulation, like Black Americans and first-generation college students. Without the benefit of generational wealth, first-generation college students may have to rely heavily on scholarships, loans, and part-time jobs to finance their education. This added financial pressure can make balancing academic and financial responsibilities even more challenging.
It’s understandable to feel overwhelmed with the responsibility of both succeeding in school and providing for your family and future, however, you’re not alone in this journey. Here are some strategies that can help you build generational wealth as a first-generation college student, while also managing the pressures and challenges that you may face:
Build a strong network
Networking is an important part of building generational wealth, and it can be especially valuable for first-generation college students. This is often called “social capital”. These are the relationships that you invest in early and can pay off big! By building a strong network of mentors, advisors, and peers, you can gain access to opportunities and resources that can help you succeed. Your network can help you meet new people, make professional connections, and maybe even land a job or internship. So often in our world, opportunities are all about “who you know!” and by building a network you can tap into those opportunities and even repay them down the road!
Be proactive about your career goals
As a first-generation college student, you may feel pressure to secure a high-paying job or career path that can provide financial stability for your family. While it's important to be mindful of your financial goals, it's also important to pursue a career that you're passionate about and that aligns with your skills and interests. Take advantage of career services offered by your college or university, and seek out internships or job shadowing opportunities that can help you explore different career paths. You can also conduct informational interviews with professionals in your desired field to learn more about the job market and what skills and experiences are required to succeed.
Managing your money wisely is an important tool in building wealth. This can include budgeting and saving money, as well as managing student loan debt and maintaining a great credit score. Be sure to seek out resources like our free money management tools!
Stay focused on your goals
You may face challenges and setbacks on your path to building generational wealth. But by staying focused on your goals and persevering through difficult times, you can achieve success and create a lasting legacy for your family. Remember why you started your college journey, and stay motivated by your vision for your future. Seek out positive role models and mentors who can inspire and guide you, and stay committed to your personal and financial goals.
Start saving early
Saving money is one of the key components of building generational wealth. The earlier you start saving, the more time your money has to grow. Even if you're only able to save a small amount each month, it can add up over time. Consider opening a savings account specifically for building generational wealth. You can set up automatic transfers from your checking account each month to make saving even easier. As your savings grow, you can start looking for investment opportunities that can help your money grow even faster.
Learn and start investing
Investing is another important component of building generational wealth. By investing in stocks, real estate, or other assets, you can grow your money much faster than you would by simply saving it in a bank account. Of course, investing comes with risks, so it's important to educate yourself about the different investment options and their risks and rewards.
Think like an entrepreneur
Starting a business can be a great way to build generational wealth. By starting a successful business, you can generate income that can be passed down to future generations. You can learn and train yourself on key entrepreneurial skills right now!
Seek out support and resources
It's important to seek out support and resources to help you succeed. This can include academic support services like tutoring and study groups, as well as financial aid and scholarship programs that can help you pay for college. You can also look for mentorship programs or affinity groups that connect you with other first-generation college students who can offer guidance and support. Don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it, and to take advantage of the resources that are available to you.
Building generational wealth is a long-term process that requires patience, dedication, and hard work. But by taking the right steps now, you can set yourself and your family up for financial success for years to come. Be sure to follow Get Schooled for more resources and text us to get in touch with one of our trained advisors and continue your learning with all of our free Money Management resources.