TIAA’s Thasunda Brown Duckett Talks Racial Wealth Equity


The pervasive racial wealth gap has been the focus of many conversations over the years — and for good reason.

The Brookings Institution reports that a black home is worth about $17,150, compared to $171,000 for a typical white home. That’s almost ten times as much. This is shocking but not new information for Thasunda Brown Duckett, president and CEO of TIAA, a Fortune 100 provider to millions of people in higher education, healthcare and other mission-driven A safe retirement and results-focused investment solutions organization.

Duckett came to TIAA after serving as CEO of Chase Consumer Banking and other financial institutions and serving on the boards of NIKE, Inc., Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and the Economic Club of New York.

On April 11, she sat down with John C. Williams, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and President of the Economic Club of New York, to discuss the state of racial equality and what she is doing to crack down on BIPOC financial institutions Work. gap. Here are some of the key insights she provided during the conversation.

On the importance of developing the next generation of investors.

Millennials and Gen Z are a growing force in the investment market, and Brown Duckett says it’s imperative to help guide them along the way.

“Our future is our youth,” she shared. “I do think our young people are very curious about the market. Right now they’re talking about everything. I think our job is to not fire if they’re not interested, but to find a way to connect. That’s the challenge today because we Do know the power of compound interest. We do know that 40% of Americans are going to run out of money. We do know that more needs to be done later in your career. So I see it as an opportunity for our young Translate it in a way that is understandable. A dollar today is worth more than a dollar tomorrow. Setting aside a dollar today for retirement and a dollar today for saving and investing is definitely for all the hopes and dreams you want to achieve and all Be prepared for passionate projects about how you want to impact the world. By making decisions early and getting the most out of their 401k, you’ll have a better chance of doing it.”

About the future of work.

Employers have recently pushed workers back to the office after much of the labor market has been working virtually for the past two years, and Brownduckett talks about what that means for the workplace culture of the future.

“It’s not back to normal,” she said. “I also don’t want to be completely back to normal. It’s something we all know, and I think we’ve all been through some of these key facts: We have technology, and during a pandemic, we’ve been able to use it in ways we never thought possible. We know we’ve all dispelled myths, and we’ve realized that all of our employees, I think from everyone I’ve spoken to, employees have proven that they can be productive in remote work. My take on the future of work is We just inherited more of the script from the script. I think we know more about our employees than ever before. The reality is, after a while, we get tired of dressing up for work. And I think we all like, well, I Here, put the important things first, work. So is the future of work. Back to, What is the future of your culture? The future of work is not about who does it for five, three, or two days. I guess it’s about saying, let’s see who we are. Let’s take a look at these new plays we have. How do these new plays inform and function in our culture? Because ultimately, no matter how they develop in the future, jobs must still meet the needs of our stakeholders and the needs of our employees. ”

Talking about the transformation of financial services

It turns out that the racial wealth gap delays the likelihood of retirement in black communities, largely because of pay inequality and a lack of financial education during prime jobs. Among current retirees, the median 2019 retirement income was $23,292 for whites, $16,863 for blacks and $13,560 for Latinos.

Brown Duckett said being open to diverse portfolio options (within the confines of individual lifestyles) may be the key to creating a more linear path to wealth creation in the BIPOC community. When asked if cryptocurrencies should be considered an integral part of a retirement portfolio, she said other challenges must be overcome first.

“I lead a retirement company, and it’s all about making sure we have a high level of confidence that when people are ready to retire, they have the best chance of retiring with dignity,” she shared. So I think encryption is out of our discussion right now, but you always stay curious, you have to understand it. I think it’s a lot of volatility, there’s a lot of uncertainty, that’s not our focus as a retirement company. ”

She shared that acknowledging and addressing racial inequality is always at the forefront when advising the larger financial conversation.

“What keeps me awake at night is when I think about how my professional North Star addresses economic inequality,” she said. “If we all count all our public commitments, if we all count all the things we’ve done over the years, how are we doing as a collective? When we look at our transcripts, do we see an economic divide? Shrinking? Are we seeing more people of color on the path to wealth creation, or are we going in the wrong direction, recognizing that women make $0.82 in dollars and retire with 30% less? We must eliminate inequality , period. So this is keeping me awake at night. I hope it keeps us all awake at night because ultimately, if we can shut down the economic side, we will unlock a huge future GDP for our country. We will unlock a huge opportunity , because people no longer carry the burden of not being able to meet their basic needs, not being able to meet their basic needs. I would also say lead a company that is over 100 years old, stay focused, competition is everywhere, acknowledge your past success, our balance sheet The strength of our company, our mission, all of which makes our great company impossible to be the only thing you’re betting on making your company impactful in the future.”

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