SEASON 1: EPISODE 15

Jennifer Streaks

A Financial Commentator on Why the Wealth Gap is Widening

We’re in the middle of a pandemic and a recession, and women and people of color may be among the hardest hit. In this episode of Breaking the Bias, Holly Corbett, Director of Content at Consciously Unbiased, speaks to Jennifer Streaks, financial commentator, news personality and personal finance contributor for CNBC.

Jennifer shares candid advice on the money moves we should all be making during this unprecedented time; how the wealth gap is widening even more between whites and people of color; why she thinks reopening businesses right now is a big mistake, and much more. Listen to the full episode here, and read on for some of the key takeaways from Jennifer.


 

LOOK FOR MONEY IN ALL AREAS

“If you’ve been laid off, you should be applying for unemployment. If you’ve been furloughed, you should be calling your creditors to say you may need a few months where your payments are deferred so that you can take care of yourself and see what is happening with your job. Also make sure you ask whether or not that payment deferral will be reported on your credit report in any way, because you don’t want to come out of this with negative dings on your credit report.”

 

CREDIT INEQUALITY WIDENS THE GAP

“Credit inequality is problematic in communities of people of color in that there has been systemic bias in how things are reported to the credit agencies, and how long it stays on the credit report. The fact that we may not have a house or a personal loan to report makes it harder to get high-end credit cards, which further makes your credit report not look as good or as financially rich as whites. So if you need to get a loan from the bank or if you want to buy a home, it’s going to be hard because you don’t have the credit. It’s a vicious cycle.”

 

FRONT-LINE WORKERS ARE MORE LIKELY TO BE PEOPLE OF COLOR

“I don’t think any state should be opening prior to June 15th at the earliest because what you’re doing is putting the cashiers out there, you’re putting the bank clerks out there, you’re putting the people who interact with people every day out there. That disproportionately impacts people of color. When you put people in a position where they have to choose between their life and their income, it’s repugnant. You’re putting someone in a bad position.”

 

FIX THE WAGE GAP

“If the job says it’s $100,000 a year, just pay whoever gets the position $100,000 a year. You don’t get to say, ‘Oh it’s a woman, so we’re going to pay her $80,000,’ or ‘It’s a Black woman, so we’re going to pay her $62,000.’ No, the position is $100,000 for whoever fills it. I mean it’s such common sense.

I don’t understand how we got to this point where it’s okay to pay people based on their gender. I think it hearkens back to antiquated gender roles from the fifties and sixties when [the mentality was] once a woman gets married and gets pregnant, she’s going to leave. It was the notion that a woman doesn’t need a job; a man needs a job because he’s taking care of a family. Today women are more and more the breadwinners, the heads of households, and taking care of everything and everyone. Women–especially Black women–are far outpacing men in terms of their educational status and accomplishments. So when you have a woman in a position, you are typically getting a bigger bang for your buck anyway.”

 

SHOW NOTES:

“Black families have 10 times less wealth than whites and the gap is widening—here’s why,” CNBC

EqualPayToday.org

“This underfunded female demographic is launching the most start-ups in America, far from Silicon Valley,” CNBC

“Covid-19’s Race and Class Warfare,” New York Times