According to a 2015 report from PwC, millennials lack the financial education that they need to thrive in today’s world. The report found that over 40 percent of millennials relied heavily on costly payday loans and rent-to-own financing alternatives, and more than 20 percent made withdrawals from their retirement accounts. While parents may shake their heads at these figures, Kevon L. Chisolm, Esq. is one parent who believes the solution is simple — start early.

Chisolm, who is president of Umoja Investments, LLC, began teaching his 11-year-old son, Kamari Chisolm, about finances at an early age. The need to share this knowledge with other young people led the father-and-son duo to establish Black Wallstreeter Consultation Services in 2019. The company works with schools to increase youth knowledge of building and retaining wealth through investments and other means.

“It is important for youth to learn about how to build financial wealth and investing, because the sooner financial concepts are learned, the sooner they can be applied,” Chisolm said.

By accepting students 12 years and older, an early start can not only help young people but reach those in troubled areas as well. Research shows that financial literacy is especially important in low-income areas, in which minority populations often reside. In these areas, there is a high correlation between lack of financial literacy and increased debt.

Chisolm believes that financial education — particularly stock market investments — can go a long way in closing crucial racial wealth gaps, remarking that 90 percent of the wealthiest people in America earned their wealth through their involvement in the stock market.

Chisolm has encountered a few roadblocks among customers. Some fear they do not have enough to invest, and others have a basic distrust of the stock market. Chisolm is well aware that many parents pass these apprehensions on to their children, but he does not want fear to prevent anyone from taking that critical leap.

“Many adults are hesitant because of lack of financial knowledge. Most youth, however, have not been tainted and are major consumers of products, including Nike, Timberland, and McDonald’s. So, our approach is to teach youth to invest in products that they commonly use, which, in turn, will motivate parents to participate and learn about investing,” he said.

Chisolm’s win-win approach has inspired trust and brought more business, encouraging him and Kamari to produce more tools to support their growing audience. Chisolm’s lessons remind all students that it is never too late — or too early — to learn.