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Going Beyond Net Worth: How Corporate Wellness Programs Can Help Bridge the Racial Wealth Gap

BrightPlan Team

When we think about our employees, it's more than just recognizing their job titles; it's about understanding the diverse tapestry of their identities. Heritage and Identity recognition months are one way for companies to highlight their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). But the real challenge lies in going beyond token gestures and making a continuous effort to understand the unique challenges employees face in all aspects of their lives.

One often overlooked aspect is the relationship between employees and money. Money impacts almost every facet of our lives, shaping our choices and influencing our well-being. Achieving financial wellness is a complex journey, especially for many Black Americans, who face the hurdles of the racial wealth gap.

The term "racial wealth gap" underscores the disparities in net wealth between Black and White households, rooted in deep-seated historical injustices. Despite ongoing efforts, this wealth gap persists, and is made even worse by barriers to education, job opportunities, upward mobility, homeownership, and more. In a report published by Prosperity Now, there is concern that median Black wealth might plummet to zero by 2053 if the issue isn't addressed.1


Wealth and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Understanding the true value of wealth requires looking beyond its monetary aspects. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs illustrates how wealth influences our pursuit of physiological and psychological needs, ultimately impacting our overall well-being. True wealth comes from experiences like a safe home, access to healthy food, adequate healthcare, and fulfilling relationships – all of which require financial resources.

Comparatively, the framework for financial well-being, as described by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, emphasizes the ability to meet current financial obligations, feel secure about the future, and make choices that enhance life. However, the racial wealth gap poses a significant roadblock to achieving this seamless integration of financial wellness and well-being.


Corporate Wellness Programs Can Contribute to Closing the Wealth Gap

To address this challenge, it's essential to take a holistic approach, and corporate wellness programs can play a pivotal role. While many companies offer financial wellness solutions like 401(K)s, a broader perspective is needed to address the evolving financial needs of employees. 

Companies have a unique opportunity to do their part in closing the wealth gap by deploying initiatives to improve employees' financial well-being at all career levels. To address the various barriers employees face when it comes to building wealth, organizations can provide comprehensive offerings that include access to financial tools, resources, programs, and advisors who understand their unique needs and meet employees where they are in their financial journey. 

Integrating these solutions with other DEI efforts in the workplace will help counteract the impact of wealth inequality, allowing employees to thrive and achieve financial success. This prioritization of an employee's financial well-being results in better morale, improved health and productivity, increased retention rates, less absenteeism, motivation to seek career advancement, and improved company culture.2

Although the focus here is on the impact of the racial wealth gap on Black Americans, it's crucial to recognize that wealth inequality isn't confined to specific groups. Customized financial wellness tools like BrightPlan are necessary to address the diverse financial needs of your workforce rather than prescribing a one-size-fits-all solution. Resources that help empower employees and reduce financial stressors allow them to do more than meet their basic needs. It will enable them to experience the wealth of life, show up as their whole selves, and embrace the uniqueness of thought and creativity that gives birth to new ideas and technologies. It also creates a trickle-down effect, inspiring others to do the same and creating a positive, bright spark throughout the workplace. 

Connect with one of our Financial Wellness Experts if you’d like to learn more about how BrightPlan is helping our customers level the playing field for all employees. 


1. Road to Zero Wealth. https://prosperitynow.org/files/PDFs/road_to_zero_wealth.pdf
2. PwC's 2023 Employee Financial Wellness Survey. https://www.pwc.com/us/en/services/consulting/business-transformation/library/employee-financial-wellness-survey.html