How do we close the wealth gap? Commonwealth, a nonprofit organization focused on financial security and opportunity, announced a partnership with Public.com, the investing app on a mission to make the public markets work for all people. This cross-sector partnership will combine Commonwealth’s deep research and innovation with financially vulnerable people and Public’s innovative approach to investing in a community of 1M+ members. The community is made up of 40 percent women and 45 percent people of color. The pilot will focus on developing product innovations that will empower women of color. This is an underserved segment. It will create a channel for closing the racial and gender wealth gap and making wealth building accessible to all.
Commonwealth and Public will innovate on the investing journey with a pilot group of 300+ women of color for six months. They are primarily new investors who have experienced financial vulnerability but now feel financially secure. The program will provide the investors with $250 to invest in the stock market through Public. It will test the effectiveness of group chats, and compare the benefits and outcomes of participants, with and without mentor guidance. Mentors include Jannese Torres-Rodriguez (Latina Money Expert & Podcast Host of Yo Quiero Dinero), Nadia Vanderhall (Marketing and Money Strategist, Brands + Bands Strategy Group), Kevin Matthews II (founder, Building Bread: Investing Made Simple), and Millana Snow (Founder of Wellness Official).
Pilot participants will also have the opportunity to earn more stock slices based on their actions during the pilot. This motivates them to use chat groups to learn, consistently save via the app, and more. These tests will inform the user experience and lead to effective changes in investing products. These changes will make them more accessible to a group that has faced some of the highest barriers to entry.
Can the stock market help bridge the wealth gap and promote inclusion?
“It is clear that labor income alone will not close the gender and racial wealth gap. It’s essential we unlock many pathways to make wealth-building accessible to all. We are focusing on investing in the stock market through this partnership because of a lack of participation from women of color – and the opportunity to change by innovating fundamentally more inclusive product design, ” said Commonwealth Co-Founder and Executive Director Timothy Flacke. “A cross-sector partnership like this is an exciting opportunity to develop the insights necessary to innovate on current investing products so that they serve a wider population, especially those who are least well-served historically and currently.”
Black, Latinx and female-led households disproportionately experience financial insecurity. This wealth gap is due in large part to longstanding, systemic racism and gender discrimination. Women and single mothers of color with household incomes under $80,000 are a significant untapped market for investing. Traditional investment companies have not well served well this market.
“Making investing and the stock market more inclusive is key to our mission to make the public markets work for all people,” said Public.com VP of Marketing Katie Perry. “Commonwealth’s deep consumer research and experience innovating in the fintech space is a tremendous asset to this project, as we focus on helping more women of color build financial literacy and long-term wealth within Public’s community of investors.”
The gender and racial wealth gap: by the numbers
- The median wealth of white families is 10x that of Black families and 8.2x that of Latinx families (Federal Reserve)
- White men’s median net worth is 100x higher than Black women’s (Federal Reserve)
- Only 26% of women invest in the stock market, and they invest less aggressively than men.
- 65 percent of women who don’t already invest have expressed interest in investing, according to recent Commonwealth research.
Commonwealth is a national nonprofit. It builds financial security and opportunity for financially vulnerable people through innovation and partnerships to change systems. Black, Latinx and female-led households disproportionately experience financial insecurity due in large part to longstanding, systemic racism and gender discrimination. Addressing these issues is critical to Commonwealth’s work of making wealth possible for all. Commonwealth’s collaborations with consumers, the financial services industry, fintechs, employers, policymakers and mission-driven organizations result in solutions grounded in real life and based on a deep understanding of financially vulnerable people. Commonwealth has designed effective innovations, products, and policies helping 1+million people accumulate more than $4 billion in savings. For more information, visit buildcommonwealth.org.
Public.com is an investing social network. Members can own fractional shares of stocks and ETFs, follow popular creators, and share ideas within a community of investors. Public makes the stock market an inclusive and educational place, with social features that make it easy to collaborate as you build your confidence as an investor.
The company is headquartered in New York and has raised $310 million to date from investors including Accel, Greycroft, Lakestar, Will Smith’s Dreamers VC, business professor and entrepreneur Scott Galloway, Tony Hawk, The Chainsmokers’ Mantis VC, GIRLBOSS author Sophia Amoruso, Adobe Chief Product Officer Scott Belsky, business executive Dick Parsons, Advancit Capital, YouTube legend Philip DeFranco, Blavity Inc. CEO and Founder Morgan Debaun, and Worklife VC.
Public is a member of FINRA and SIPC. Visit Public.com to download the free app for iOS or Android.