Close the Racial Wealth Gap

Nov 20, 2020

As part of our Economic Empowerment and Racial Equity Initiative, the American Council of Life Insurers is acting on a plan to achieve greater economic empowerment in financially underserved communities and bridge racial and socioeconomic divides across the country.

In particular, we want to ensure that all Americans – no matter who they are or where they live – can experience the powerful economic empowerment that comes from financial education.

Financial education can open doors and close the racial wealth gap.

Indeed, researchers at the Wharton School found that more than one-third of financial inequality in the United States could be accounted for by the differences in financial literacy.

For too long, our schools have not emphasized financial literacy. But according to the Council for Economic Education (CEE), more high schools across America are requiring economics and personal finance classes to graduate. 

CEE says that in states without course requirements, there is a 15-point gap in access to financial education between kids from lower-income versus wealthier families.

So what is the best way to educate students about financial matters? The question is particularly well-timed as this is American Education Week, which celebrates the public education system.

During a webinar on financial education presented by EVERFI and hosted by ACLI this week, Iowa Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen said: “The future of financial education begins with business engagement with our education system.”

We couldn’t agree more. Life insurers are committed to supporting financial education throughout America. Notable initiatives by our industry include:

The life insurance industry is determined to advance initiatives like these from coast-to-coast. We know that improved financial literacy can make a measurable difference in the lives of millions of Americans. 

Susan K. Neely

Susan K. Neely is the President and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), the nation’s leading trade association determined to help families live better lives by achieving financial security and certainty. As president and CEO, Neely drives public policy and advocacy on behalf of ACLI’s member companies that represent 93 percent of industry assets and serve 90 million families.