One day, a self-taught investor and business owner, Dan Evans came across a group of African American motorcycle enthusiasts, dressed head to toe in Harley Davidson gear. The couple strutted into a store proudly in their gear as their bikes sat parked. As Evan glanced outside at the two Harley Davidson bikes and back at the couple standing in their branded gear, he thought to himself, why don’t more African Americans own stocks in the companies whose products they use and wear proudly? “The stock is nothing but $45, that’s less than the outfit,” said Evan as we sat in a Starbucks discussing how he began investing in stocks.
According to the Neilsen report “Black Dollar Matter: The Sales Impact of Dollar Consumers,” African Americans are responsible for roughly $1.2 trillion in purchases annually in spite of being only 14 percent of the population. However, although on the rise, African American participation in the stock market continues to be low and is believed to be contributing to the widening wealth gap.
Evan believes that many African Americans can begin affecting change from investing in brands if they adjusted their purchase habits from the purchase of their favorite brands’ products to the purchase of their favorite brands’ stocks.
While most American households regardless of race believe that it is difficult to find discretionary income for vacations and other luxuries, let alone investing, Evan insists that Americans and their families can begin investing by making small spending adjustments that will go a long way. “A teacher taught me to never spend my change and I never spend change,” says Evans. After learning the concept, Evans began purchasing 5-gallon water jugs and filling them with the loose change that he made from purchases. After filling just one jug, he discovered that he had over $3,500 in loose change, which he then after careful research put into the stock market.
In addition to never spending change, Evans also suggests investing in stocks that you plan to stay in long term. While many people are scared away by the ups and downs of the market, Evans suggests selecting a stable company and being patient. “do not liquidate it. I’ll never sell it. I plan on passing it to my son” says Evans.
In addition to investing in stocks using the saved-up spare change, Evans suggests starting an investment club with your close friends who have similar goals. “I used to be a part of an investment club. We would pool our money on a monthly basis and invest in stocks.” Evan started the group with an even amount of investors and each investor would contribute $100, monthly. “It worked well. It was an even amount and no one could ever buy more equity in the group so that it was fair.” Although the group ended up breaking up, Evans says that it’s a great way for beginner investors to buy their way into bigger deals, that they may not have the capital for by themselves.