Financial Literacy Month kicked off on April 1 and is a good reminder to take a look at and start planning your financial future. One vital step to better understanding your finances, according to Golden Globe-nominated actor Anthony Anderson, is to enlist the help of a financial advisor.
Teaming up with Northwestern Mutual, Anderson says that taking the time to talk to a financial planner is a necessary first step in building your future with your current income. According to studies from Northwestern Mutual, despite the rise of Black business ownership, 1/3 of Black Americans haven’t considered working with a financial advisor.
"It's not about expanding your lifestyle but maintaining it. The thing about having a financial planner is that they can tailor a plan for you and your lifestyle," Anderson said.
Anderson sat down with BET to discuss why financial planning is essential for building Black-wealth for generations to come and when he realized that he needed to take his financial future seriously.
BET.com: Why is financial planning essential to building wealth?
Anthony Anderson: If we don't have a plan, where are we? What do we have? Unexpected things happen in all of our lives. And if we don't plan for those things, then we're caught out there. Having a financial planner having a financial plan is essential for those things that sometimes pop up in life.
Case in point COVID-19, it was the perfect imperfect storm. But for those who have had a plan in place, they were doing okay. You always hear, 'plan for a rainy day.' Well, it rained for 365 days straight, and it's still raining.
BET.com: At what point in your financial journey did you want to take it more seriously?
AA: It started clicking for me once I realized that the days aren't always going to be sunny. I'm on top, and I believe this gravy train is gonna keep going. But what happens if it stops? What happens if it's stalled? I have to be ready for the future, for those days when the phone doesn't ring. And I may not get the job that I would typically get. And that's when I decided to set up shop for, if and when that time does happen because I'm also responsible for a wife, two children, and some family members.
BET.com: How did you get your mother, Doris Hancock, involved in the financial planning process?
AA: My mother is not unlike many other mothers out there. She was like, 'you told me you always have a plan for the future, but I'm 60+, it's my future now, I want to spend it now.'
But if you spend it all now, today, what happens tomorrow? Let's spend some of it today. Let's put some away for tomorrow. It's not just about now. It's about the future.
I remember when I was a kid, and we didn't have much. But my parents always made sure we had something on birthdays and Christmas. There was a plan for that. This is the same, except we are planning for multiple birthdays and multiple Christmases in the future. That's when it clicked for her. That's what a great financial advisor will do; he will be able to speak to you in a language that you understand. Your financial plan will be different from your friends; it's going to be different from mine; it's going to be different from anybody else's. It will be tailored to you and your lifestyle.
BET.com: What are the top three key questions that we should ask a financial advisor?
AA: What does it mean when you say planned for my future? How do I plan for my future? And can I afford this?
You will be surprised at the answers you will get and all the things you never thought about. A financial advisor will be able to lay it out in front of you and tell you the benefits. Every person has an income that fits their lifestyle. So that answers the question, can I afford this? Yes, you can. Are you affording to live the way that you are right now? Yes, I am. Well, then you can afford to plan for your future.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
(Photo courtesy of Anthony Anderson)