Lauryn Williams is a Certified Financial Planner at Worth Winning in Dallas and an advisor to Student Loan Planner, which provides advisory and refinancing services to borrowers. She is a three-time Olympic champion in athletics and two-woman bobsleigh and the first US woman to win a medal in both the Summer and Winter Games.
What made you decide to become a certified financial planner? I did not get the service I wanted from either of the two financial advisors I had during my time as an Olympian. You didn’t help me with my budget. We did not have any discussions about my short or long term goals or savings. I made over $ 200,000 in sponsorship before I was old enough to drink. I knew I needed more information in order to be better equipped to deal with my finances. When I started studying, I thought I could help other people.
What sparked your interest in finance? I’ve always been interested in math and I’ve been very entrepreneurial. And I was always looking for a way to make money. I raked sheets of paper, sold candy in sixth grade, worked the weekends at a catering company when I was 8, and started working at Wendy’s on my 16th birthday. When I got into college and was flipping through my majors, I asked someone about finance. They said it was about math and money and I love both. So from then on it was easy.
African Americans take out student loans at higher interest rates and have higher default rates than their peers. What can be done to fill the wealth gap, not just for borrowers but for African Americans in general? Many African American students are the first in their families to go to college. Your parents may not be aware of all of the ways to finance higher education. Students sign loans on the dashed line because they don’t know the difference between loans, scholarships, and scholarships, but they know that education is important to moving forward in the future. Technical schools that exploit low-income students will be closed and the borrower will remain dry. High school students must discuss the cheapest way to get an education with their parents before deciding on a school. If student loans are part of the decision, they need to discuss how to repay them.
What can the financial industry do to bridge the racial wealth gap? We are at a unique time in history where the discussion of race, racism and the racial wealth gap is taking place on an unprecedented level. And we’ve started having conversations about diversity in the financial industry. The financial planning industry is currently only made up of 3.5% black people, 2.2% of whom are African American. Financial advisors should consider attending various high schools to stimulate student interest in financial planning.
Taking care of people of color in the financial sector is also important. When you are an employer who hires African Americans, you are creating an environment where they can thrive and feel welcome. You can’t just hire a minority planner to tick a diversity box. You need a plan and a strategy to stick with them.