Young Black Americans Wary of the Stock Market Are Turning to Crypto

By Kelsey Butler

Young Black Americans are embracing cryptocurrency to counter a distrust in stock markets and financial institutions.

About 38% of Black investors under 40 years old own digital tokens, compared with 29% for their White counterparts, according to a survey by Ariel Investments and Charles Schwab Corp. issued Tuesday. Overall, twice as many Black respondents than those who are White ranked crypto as the best investment choice overall.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko:

The embrace of crypto shows the growing influence of social media and the popularity of risky investments among Black investors — and a need for more financial education, the companies said. It also reflects a finding in the survey that Black Americans are more likely to see the stock market as riskier and less than fair than White investors.

“It’s just very worrisome,” said John Rogers, founder and co-chief executive officer of Ariel Investments. “People are just interested in getting rich quickly through this hot, exciting, dynamic new area.”

The risk is that Black investors sacrifice their financial goals, he said. “The worst thing is if you get started and your first investment doesn’t work out well, it’ll take a long time to get comfortable in the markets again,” Rogers said.

Crypto is so popular among Black investors that 23% of those surveyed cited excitement for the asset class as the reason they started investing, Ariel and Schwab said. 

Among the other findings:

  • ESG investing is more attractive to Black investors than White. Forty-four percent of Black respondents said it was “very important” to align their investments with their personal beliefs versus 29% of White respondents
  • Black investors are more than twice as likely to expect annual returns of more than 20% as White investors
  • Black Americans are investing and saving significantly more than they did in 2020 — about $650 per month. That figure was almost $400 in 2020. White investors are now saving about $850 a month

Ariel and Schwab surveyed about 2,000 people age 18 and older, half of whom identified as Black. The average household income of Black and White participants was $99,000 and $106,000, respectively. The survey was conducted from Jan. 4-13 and had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

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