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    Robert Pinkney '24 featured in the wall street journal for his early investments in the stock market

    January 26, 2024

    Originally published on

    Robert L. Pinkney, 21 years old, learned about finance sitting on the lap of his grandfather, who would read the newspaper’s business section to him each morning beginning at age 7. When his grandfather died in 2017, Pinkney, then 16, opened an online brokerage account with the money he had saved from his allowance and by doing freelance coding work for local churches.

    His grandfather always told him it was his responsibility to provide for his family and leave wealth behind for them after he was gone. Screenshot 2024-01-26 at 10.24.10 AM

    Pinkney put $22,000 into companies such as BlackRock, Berkshire Hathaway, Progressive andJPMorgan Chase, aiming to invest in entities that share global significance. It was a way of continuing to bond with his grandfather, Pinkney said. “I know that it is something he can see, and my decisions make him very proud.”

    Now a senior at Morehouse College, a historically Black institution in Atlanta, Pinkney has continued to invest and now has $75,000. He is graduating debt-free thanks to a full scholarship—and hopes to use some of his gains from his investments to help pay off some of his peers’ student loans, he said.

    Young Black investors today have much more access to financial information than those in prior decades, said Tatjana Meschede, associate director at the Institute for Economic and Racial Equity at Brandeis University.

    While stocks have been a key driver of wealth-building for Americans, Black Americans are still far behind white households in terms of both assets and market participation. The median wealth for the typical white family was $285,000, compared with $44,900 for the typical Black family, according to the Federal Reserve’s 2022 Survey of Consumer Finances.

    Government stimulus including the pause in student-loan payments left young people with slightly more discretionary income to put toward investing, Meschede said.

    Though more young Black investors are putting money in stocks, the amounts are often still small, federal data suggest. Black financial advisers said they have noticed greater interest in stocks among their family and peers since the pandemic.

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    Tag(s): Student Success

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