Inequity and Financial Independence

Inequity and Financial IndependenceNormally, I try to avoid political and polarizing subjects like racism. This is a personal finance blog and those things are way off-topic. However, it has been a very difficult week in the U.S. Across the country, thousands of people are protesting against inequity and police brutality. I’m not out marching, so the least I can do is learn more about the issue and support the movement online. That’s why I want to talk about inequity and figure out what a regular person can do to help.

*I’m closing the comment on this post. Sorry!


35 years ago, my parents immigrated to the US from Thailand with two suitcases and $500. In one generation, I moved up from working minimum wage jobs to a financially independent millionaire. It’s the American dream. This is why I believe anyone can achieve financial independence and retire early. If I can do it, anyone can. However, this narrative is not the whole story. Black and brown Americans can become financially independent, too, but their journey will be a lot more difficult. The system is set up to work against them.

I didn’t realize the playing field isn’t level until now. I’m not a racist so I didn’t want to talk about it, but now I understand that is not enough. Staying silent only feeds the inequity. That’s why I support the black lives matter movement and I’ll be publicly anti-racist from now on.

Financial independence is easier

For me, financial independence was not that hard. Actually, it was pretty simple. I went to college and graduated with an engineering degree. After that, I worked hard to get raises and promotions. Then, I live a moderate lifestyle and invested a large portion of my income. Mrs. RB40 and I work together as a team to build our wealth every month. FIRE was only a matter of time once we got the system rolling. Anyone can do this. But is this really true?

A black man will have a lot harder time with this journey than I did. It’s harder for him to get into a good university. I had support from my family and graduated with no debt. Many black men don’t have that kind of support. It’s harder for him to find a good job and get promoted. Also, black people are paid less today. Then, there are very few mentors and role models that look like them in corporate America. Lastly, black men have to fear for their lives every time they interact with law enforcement. The journey is more difficult and less pleasant for many minorities.

I didn’t know about this kind of structural inequity until recently. Here is a short piece from NPR that helped me understand – Racism and Economics. Even the unemployment benefit was set up to exclude black workers when it first started.

Damn, am I one of those privileged people? As an Asian American guy, I never considered myself privileged. Over the years, I endured casual racist comments/taunts and annoying questions. However, that’s nothing compared to what POC have to deal with. I like the police because I don’t have to be afraid to get shot when I talk to them.

What can a regular guy do?

Inequity is a big problem in the US. What can one person do? I’m trying to learn more about the problem and figure out what I can do to help. That’s the first step anyone can take. There are writers and speakers who know a lot more about the issue I do. I’ll link to them below and help amplify their voices on social media. Let me know if you see anything relevant and I’ll add them here.

Support POC businesses and businesses that are trying to fight inequity

  • Zoe Amira created a YouTube video and will donate all revenue to BLM.

Don’t stay silent when you see injustice

Okay, that’s all I got for today. I’m keeping it short so you can read/listen to the media above. Will you help fight inequity or do you think it’s not a problem?

*I’m closing the comment on this post. Sorry! I’m completely worn out from everything and I need a breather. 

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. He spent 16 years working in computer design and enjoyed the technical work immensely. However, the job became too stressful and Joe retired from his engineering career to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. Today, he blogs about financial independence, early retirement, investing, and living a frugal lifestyle.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is increasing his investment in real estate with CrowdStreet. He can invest in projects across the U.S. and diversify his real estate portfolio. There are many interesting projects available so sign up and check them out.

Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help DIY investors analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.

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