Despite the financial services industry’s ongoing efforts at improving racial diversity, only 3.5% of CFP professionals are black or Latino… a revealing statistics for not only the underrepresentation of people of color in the industry but that simply trying to expand awareness of financial planning and invite more diversity into the industry is not enough to move the needle.
In this guest post, Eugenié George, a prospective new financial advisor studying for her CFP certification to enter the industry, shares her own perspective on the real-world challenges in entering financial planning as a person of color. Starting with the understanding that, due to a history of financially-related racial discrimination in the US over the past 200 years, many communities of color do not have the same accumulated wealth and positive connection to the financial services industry in the first place. And it’s hard to enter financial planning – and have support from family, friends, and your community to enter financial planning – when the community’s history with the financial services industry is so negative in the first place.
In addition, Eugenié shares her own path and journey into the financial services industry, how she has built a “network map” of people to reach out to and connect with to mentor and find opportunities, how to identify your own “superpower” skills that will help you get your foot in the door for a job opportunity, how to navigate the financial challenges of taking one step back to take two steps forward into the industry, and how to manage the fact that, as a person of color, you will inevitably “stand out” in an industry that is still more-than-90% white.
Fortunately, though, a growing understanding of the historical context and challenges of communities of color with the financial services industry provides a foundation for today’s existing advisors to become “allies” and help to build more effective pathways and support for people of color to become CFP professionals of color in the future.