When it comes to economics, while I already knew it to be true, my time in Branch Banking solidified that the laws of wealth creation and poverty are non-respecter of person issues. I’d like to share three quick stories which highlight that thought process.
In the course of running five different branches, in vastly different demographic areas, I got to know a wide range of folks in the Washington, DC market. One of the branches was part of the bank’s “Hispanic Banking Initiative,” due to the large population of Spanish speaking folks living in that region. As a Branch Manager, I enjoyed getting to know many of these families. Families, because the Latino culture has extended families tending to do almost everything together, including their banking! Many would enter the bank as an entire family, including kids and grandparents. I found many in this community are working together to achieve financial goals to benefit the entire inter-generational family; the working generation, the elder generation, with the goal of passing on what this family was working so hard to achieve to the next generation. While many were weekly sending money back to their home countries, the family had a long range plan to make the lives of the next generation here, better. Many of these families lived together, with multiple generations in the same home.
Another branch was located in Springfield, Virginia, which has a significant Asian population. I could recount stories from these client’s cultures as well, where they demonstrated the same traits as my Latino friends. Many of these families, both in the Hispanic and the Asian communities demonstrated an inter-generational dependency which is no longer as prevalent in our American culture. Most of these families, had blue collar, middle class jobs. They spent below their incomes, were serious about saving, and routinely sent money back to their home country.
My final branch was in Spotsylvania County, the outskirts of the DC Market. I remember our branch serving a client with an income in excess of a quarter of a million per year. His home had over 35 percent equity; however, due to his two new cars, a new boat and significant consumer debt, he was unable to refinance and capitalize on lower mortgage interest rates, due to his debt to income ratio. Despite his phenomenal income, he was an example of most American’s, indeed our government – living beyond our means. When this client lost his job in the great recession, his only option was bankruptcy.
In banking, I witnessed people move up and down the economic ladder all the time. It is a fluid ladder. New millionaires are created every year and new people go bankrupt every year. When we listen to many of today’s leaders, we aren’t led to believe that. We are led to believe people are stuck. That simply isn’t true.
The laws of wealth creation and poverty are non-respecter of person issues.
I hope you have a blessed week!