Juneteenth is a time to look back and celebrate the end of slavery in America. But this year in particular, it’s a time to look forward, too, given the long-overdue reckoning that’s been taking place over the past month. Finance app Goalsetter is encouraging Black children and their families to look far, far into the future with hope.
The company has launched a campaign and social media initiative called #SavingOurSelves with the mission of getting 1 million Black young people to sign up for savings accounts with the Goalsetter app. And in case you were cynically wondering, this certainly isn’t a gimmick piggybacking on the current moment.
“As a company led by an African American woman, our mission has always been to do exactly what we’re doing for this Juneteenth,” founder and CEO Tanya Van Court told SheKnows. “Our mission has always been to close the wealth gap. Our mission has always been to ensure that Black kids and Black families have access to savings tools that work for every family, if they are if they are wealthy or wealth seeking — because we certainly have all kinds of people in our community — but also have access to financial literacy content that is culturally relevant.”
Goalsetter allows caregivers to help their children connect their bank accounts to the app and set up different ways for their kids to save, as well as for other family members to contribute to their account. What sets it apart from other savings apps is that culturally relevant content geared toward young Black kids (which also means all kids, for that matter).
“There are actually Black faces and memes and gifs … so these kids are learning from the same people that that they see on Snapchat and on Instagram,” Van Court says of the financial literacy lessons and quizzes featured on the app (which you can preview here). The mother of three also has made sure to consult real kids when creating content.
That’s why Goalsetter is turning to social media to spread the word about #SavingOurSelves now. With the help of influencers like TikTok star Skai Beauty, they want to encourage young people and their parents to open savings accounts, no matter how small their balance might be. That very act might be the key to a successful future.
“Washington University did a study that showed that kids with savings accounts in their name, no matter how much is in those accounts, are six times more likely to go to college and four times more likely to own stocks by the time they’re young adults,” Van Court explained.
The reason may be that savings accounts offer early training in delayed gratification. Even if children are just saving for a toy, they’re learning that they need to forego short-term treats in order to reach their bigger goal. But she also knows that children who are taught more about saving and investing keep those lessons with them for a lifetime, so she’s counting on that content to give them an extra boost.
There are so many other obstacles — from underfunded schools to discriminatory practices by banks and hiring managers — that need to change before Black Americans can have an even financial playing field. But Van Court hopes that she can help with this one proven step. And while she knows some families have a hard time thinking about savings when they’re struggling to put food on the table, she encourages them to open accounts for their children anyway.
“Every kid has a birthday,” she said, explaining that the app makes it easy for grandparents, aunts, and uncles to give “goal cards” contributing to their accounts.
And, by the way, those of us who are not Black can do our part to further this goal, too. For one thing, everyone can use Goalsetter, and by doing so, you’re supporting a Black-run business. If you want to do more, consider contributing to this GoFundMe Goalsetter has set up, in partnership with Eagle Academy, Fund 2 Foundation, NAF.org, Kenan Charitable Trust and other nonprofits, to set up accounts for kids in underserved communities.
When you’re done talking money, take a break and read these beautiful children’s books by Black authors.