Written by: Yasmine Luhandjula
Being financially independent simply means earning an income that enables you to pay for what you want and need. Historically, black women have been disadvantaged economically. Most black women were expected to put their dreams and ambitions aside and rely on their partners, brothers and fathers to take care of them financially. However, black women now have opportunities to earn an income and take care of themselves. Although these opportunities are arguably limited and slightly unequal, I still think there is a more significant prospect of financial independence now than in previous years. Personally, as a black woman, I believe that financial independence is what got me a seat at the table. With this personal experience and some research I conducted, here is why I think it is so important for black women to be financially independent:
It empowers you to make your own decisions
It is statistically proven that black women who depend on their partners financially don’t have the power or authority to make big decisions in their relationships. It’s easy to find yourself in a situation where your partner dictates and controls the relationship because of your financial status. This makes it difficult for you to express your choices in your relationship.
Many women, particularly black women who experience abuse in their relationships find it even more difficult to leave if they are financially dependent on their partner. Being financially independent means you will be less likely to stay in an abusive situation out of circumstance and financial need.
You become self-reliant
Being financially independent means you can rely on yourself for most things. Having to wait on other people to take care of your needs and wants can get frustrating, and sometimes it can lead to humiliation. Being self-reliant doesn’t mean you never ask for help. It just means that you’re able to meet your immediate needs without having to ask for help.
Breaks generational cycles
Black women have been historically disadvantaged on an economic level. Being the first in your family to be financially independent will break generational cycles of financial lack, and it also means that you contribute towards creating cycles of generational wealth.
Your sense of self-worth increases
Money isn’t everything, but earning and choosing how to spend the money you make contributes to how you feel as a person. In other words, black women who are financially independent tend to be more confident and have a high self-esteem. When you work towards your financial independence, you get to appreciate and value your capabilities and strengths, which makes you feel more confident in who you are, and makes you love and appreciate yourself.