Rashad Bilal and Troy Millings, founders of Earn Your Leisure, arranged a unique financial event called InvestFest at the Georgia World Conference Center on August 25–27. This event has served a bridge connecting the finance world with the influential hip-hop community, placing a strong emphasis on improving financial literacy within the Black community.
InvestFest stands out as an innovative blend of financial education, entrepreneurship, pop culture, and entertainment, all brought together in an energetic festival atmosphere, according to Rashad Bilal as reported by Yahoo Finance.
“InvestFest is a unique experience to be educated, informed, and a premier space for entrepreneurs,” Bilal said.
This one-of-a-kind event transcends traditional financial conventions and brings together over 20,000 attendees, creating an electrifying atmosphere for networking and learning. It’s worth noting that corporate giants such as Fidelity Investments, AT&T, and BTST Services have joined hands to support this groundbreaking initiative.
InvestFest’s significance extends far beyond the confines of racial identity. With prominent figures like Robert F. Smith, Sean “Diddy” Combs, and Cathie Wood gracing the event, it’s undeniably “more than a Black story.” Combs, in particular, presented Bilal and Millings with a monumental $1 million check, signaling a seismic shift in generational wealth.
One of the most pressing issues addressed at InvestFest is the wealth gap within the Black community, especially concerning equity investments. As highlighted by the National Bureau of Economic Research, nearly two-thirds of Black wealth resides in housing, while white households predominantly invest in equities, contributing to the widening wealth gap over the past few decades. This gap cannot be bridged without a significant shift towards investing in stocks and bonds.
Mistrust in financial institutions and the stock market remains a significant barrier for Black Americans, with a 2022 Ariel-Schwab study revealing higher levels of skepticism compared to their white counterparts. These hesitations must be overcome for meaningful progress.
InvestFest has endeavored to the right direction in order to impart essential lessons in capitalism, equity, and leverage, highlighting the potential for wealth creation. Having served as a crucial platform where Black billionaires and entrepreneurs share their invaluable insights, the event has offered hope and guidance to those aspiring to become first-generation wealth creators of color.
Robert F. Smith illustrates this with the example of home equity. If one purchases a $100,000 house with a $40,000 down payment and its value appreciates to $400,000 in four years, they can potentially unlock $340,000 in equity once the mortgage is settled.