Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry
Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary
Doctor of Ministry DMin
Norman K. Miles
Financial illiteracy afflicts many African-American and Black immigrant communities. The realities of residing in urban locales have contributed to the illiteracy and many times have led to a negative legacy of financial stewardship in these same communities. There are external challenges as well as internal challenges that have stifled African-American financial literacy. Not only is a negative corporate legacy of financial stewardship a result, but poverty, higher vulnerability towards financial bullying (housing discrimination, payday loan shops, etc.) among other challenges are directly correlated to the problem. Although poverty is an effect of lower levels of financial literacy in these communities, poverty is also part of the problem. There is a seemingly endless and vicious cycle where poverty limits the social circles. It is through social circles (family, school, church, civic organizations, etc.) that financial literacy, amongst other life skills, is taught and caught. Nonetheless, this study is not about poverty in African-American and Black immigrant communities per se. It is about these communities' knowledge about all things financial. It is less concerned with people’s income, although income is a factor in the equation. This study is about what people do with what they make.
A four-module financial literacy seminar was designed and delivered at the Beth-El Seventh-day Adventist Church in the summer/fall of 2018. More than fifty people participated in this intervention. Throughout these four weeks, I delivered lectures and participants engaged in worksheets, group discussions, and homework. A pre- and post-survey was administered to gauge growth within the four-week period. This intervention was designed to emulate the constructing of a house, in that a foundation was laid, walls were put up, a floor and ceiling were constructed, and a roof put on, all corresponding to timeless financial principles.
At the end of the intervention, all participants indicated that they had now been better educated to make financial decisions. More than half indicated they had saved money with the average participant saving almost $1,000 during the duration of the intervention, while almost half indicated they had paid off at least one debt during the same span of time.
My conclusion is that a faith-based financial literacy curriculum has been overwhelmingly effective at helping the subject population make better financial decisions and ushering in a culture of communication about the issue. Surely this intervention is a genesis of creating a positive legacy of financial literacy in African-American and Black immigrant communities. Based on the feedback from participants, the biblical basis for this intervention helped to link what may otherwise seem to be exclusive realities: faith and finances.
Finance, Personal--New Jersey; African Americans--New Jersey; Financial literacy; Immigrants
Levy, Troy S., "A Strategy for Increasing the Levels of Financial Literacy Among African-Americans in the Greenville Neighborhood of Jersey City, NJ" (2020). Professional Dissertations DMin. 718.
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