Opinion: Shedding Light on Life in Financial Deserts

Clayola Brown is president of the A. Philip Randolph Institute and a member of the Master Your Card African American Advisory Board.

“I don’t plan. I just hope.” These six words describe the challenges facing individuals and families who live in financial deserts across our country. Unfortunately, in these communities, families find themselves unable to plan for their financial futures, trapped in a cycle of living paycheck to paycheck, and one emergency away from being unable to meet their most basic financial needs.

This is one of the reasons why the Morgan State University School of Community Health and Policy (MSU SCHP), in partnership with the A. Philip Randolph Institute and with support from the community empowerment program Master Your Card, recently conducted a study that sought to gain an understanding of financial deserts and the experiences of those who live within them. This striking admission – “I don’t plan. I just hope” – is how one study participant described their financial health.

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