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Getting To The Bag With Wall Street Rapper Ro$$ Mac

Black wealth matters.

Finance

Are you interested in investing your money? Do you want to learn the ins and outs of the stock market? Maconomics star Ro$ Mac is all about his coin and doesn't mind sharing his knowledge either. Not only is he the first Wall Street rapper but his weekly segment on Revolt TV has really set the bar for what it means to pour back into the black community. Mac secures the bag, but also makes sure to pay it forward by spearheading a message of black wealth and providing the keys to the kingdom through financial literacy on social media.

Together, money and knowledge is true power and Mac's platform is proof of that fact. His videos are short, direct, and most importantly informative when it comes to the dos and the don'ts of all things investing. Mac is advocating for breaking generational curses and building generational wealth one post at a time. Recently, xoNecole had the privilege of chopping it up with the financial expert about Maconomics, the stock market, and why black wealth matters.

xoNecole: How did you make the transition from working on Wall Street to becoming a Wall Street Rapper? 

Ro$$ Mac: When it came to making a transition, it wasn't that I had to choose one or the other which I was extremely grateful for. I was able to balance both roles and it was a blessing. I was able to hear myself on the radio on my way to work on Wall Street. To be honest, when I first started working on Wall Street while making music, I was very self-conscious about my co-workers knowing about the other side of me. Being a black person working in corporate America, you are very conscious of how you are perceived. Being a rapper was not how I wanted to be perceived.

What inspired you to become so well-versed with the stock market?

What truly inspired me was when I moved back home to Chicago and I was still working in finance at the time. After reconnecting and interacting with my homies that I grew up with, I realized there was a vast difference where people were in their lives based on exposure. I was considering how I could give back to my community in a dope way while simultaneously still being myself. I created Maconomics to bring Wall Street to the main street. I wanted to drop the same gems that I've been exposed to with the same people that come from where I come from. If someone is my brother, they don't necessarily have to travel the same path that I've traveled to benefit from the knowledge that I have. Life for me is about passing on the knowledge and not being selfish with it.

"I created Maconomics to bring Wall Street to the main street. I wanted to drop the same gems that I've been exposed to with the same people that come from where I come from. If someone is my brother, they don't necessarily have to travel the same path that I've traveled to benefit from the knowledge that I have. Life for me is about passing on the knowledge and not being selfish with it."

At what age did you invest in your first stock? 

I was 18 and in college when I first invested in the stock market. I saw a kid trading stocks in one of my classes. I asked my economics professor what would be a good stock to invest in and she told me that no matter what, people will always need their utilities. I ended up buying G.E. for 7 bucks and it didn't really make me any money but it was a good start.

What can people expect to learn from your show 'Maconomics'? 

People can expect to learn financial literacy for black culture. Maconomics allows people to learn about themselves by me addressing questions that people are too afraid or shy to discuss. Black people don't like discussing finances which are taboo in certain communities. Maconomics is a platform to bring financial literacy with a twist. I'm able to make people laugh while also educating and informing you. I'm able to give you the facts and tell you what other communities are doing and why they are richer. Maconomics is all about financial literacy and bringing it to my audience in both a comedic and entertaining way so that it will stick with you and be easy to digest.

You have started the campaign “Black Wealth Matters”. How has that decision contributed to your life and others? What does black wealth mean to you?

Black wealth is the solution to racial injustices. Living in a capitalist society, those without capital tend not to have any power. The moment that black people have more access to attaining wealth and capital, and better knowledge about getting it and keeping it. I believe from a social justice standpoint we will get a lot further in life by expanding our financial literacy. Black wealth has been kept from us in a very systematic and intentional way. When you look at what happened on Black Wall Street, redlining, and bank loans. Everything that was done in the past was done with great intent. The average black household net worth is less than 10 times of a white family. There are a lot of things that will make it right and black wealth is one of them. Black wealth is the equalizer and will take us a lot further in life.

"Black wealth has been kept from us in a very systematic and intentional way. Everything that was done in the past was done with great intent. The average black household net worth is less than 10 times of a white family. There are a lot of things that will make it right and black wealth is one of them. Black wealth is the equalizer and will take us a lot further in life."

What are some of the biggest mistakes that you have made financially? 

I don't have too many financial mistakes but I have made bad investments. My biggest mistake would be the lost revenue that I missed from not investing in certain stocks.

What is the biggest misconception about investing in stocks and finances overall? 

The biggest misconception is thinking that you need to be rich to start investing. You can literally start investing with $25-$50. The other misconception is that you have to be a rocket scientist to invest and that saving money is enough. All you need to do is buy an index, the S&P 500, or Nasdaq and over the long haul, you can make about 10% annually. People need to understand that saving money is not enough considering the power of inflation. Money is losing its value every year. You need to be investing your money as well.

"You can literally start investing with $25-$50. The other misconception is that you have to be a rocket scientist to invest and that saving money is enough. All you need to do is buy an index, the S&P 500, or Nasdaq and over the long haul, you can make about 10% annually. People need to understand that saving money is not enough considering the power of inflation."

What do you have to say to people of color that have a strong interest in breaking generational curses and building generational wealth? 

Key practices when it comes to building generational wealth is starting now and being unselfish when it comes to thinking about the next generation. It can just be helping your kids not graduate with thousands of dollars in debt. Paying $20 a month for some type of life insurance policy in order to potentially leave your children $500,000-$1 million. Or you can open a 529 plan to invest in the stock market so that you will be investing in the stock market and your money will be growing tax-free. Try owning some type of real estate to pass to the next generation. There are so many ways to build generational wealth, you just have to get started.

It’s a fact that most Americans aren’t saving and live paycheck to paycheck, how do you advise someone who doesn’t prioritize savings to start doing so and build their emergency fund? What’s your golden rule when it comes to emergency funds? 

Everyone should have at least 6 months worth of emergency funds. Start treating savings like it's a bill. Don't just pay your bills without paying yourself first. Automation makes it easier to save. Before you have the opportunity to spend that money, it's already set aside and you're able to invest in your retirement without even thinking.

Let’s say, we want to retire as millionaires, what are some seeds we could be planting now to ensure that we reap the fruits of our labor when we’re ready to retire? 

If you want to retire a millionaire, practice investing every month. Investing $300 every month in an equity portfolio that will get you on average 8-10% which is a million dollars in 30 years. Making investing easy and not hard by automation. Try to invest a few hundred dollars every month. Find power through the power of compounded interest. Interest on interest is equivalent to racks on racks.

"Find power through the power of compounded interest. Interest on interest is equivalent to racks on racks."

With this being a season of unemployment in epic proportions and a recession looming, answer this important question: should you be dating while broke?

Dating while broke is very crucial. I don't think you should do anything beyond your means. Dating while broke is the same as clubbing while broke. Why would you be in the club spending money you don't have? I believe you can date on your way to being financially free but I don't think you need to incur unnecessary debt while dating. Date within your own budget and means. You can date for free. You have to be honest with the person you are dating. Don't lose track of your financial goals because you are trying to impress someone. The issue is when people don't stick to their financial plan. It's all about having a conversation about your dating expectations.

For more of Ross, follow him on Instagram and catch him on Revolt TV's Maconomics.

Featured image courtesy of Ro$$ Mac

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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