The 2 Strains on Black Women's Finances

A Washington Post survey suggests that, for some black women, economic woes and a willingness to aid family members put an extra strain on finances.

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Michael S. Williamson/the Washington Post

Written by Ylan Q. Mui and Chris L. Jenkins

The Great Recession carried special pain for black women like Jane Ladson.

She had always been the one her family turned to when they needed help, and she didn't hesitate to give it. She helped pay for weddings and rent. She made room for her nephew when her brother died of AIDS. And even now, in her 50s, she took in a baby that wasn't her own.

But help was easier to give when the economy was booming and Ladson was bringing home $4,000 a month as a mechanic at Amtrak. Even an injury on the job turned into a blessing in disguise when she collected a $700,000 settlement that allowed her to build her dream home in Clinton, Md., and help her longtime partner start her own hair salon.

Then the recession hit, and fate twisted the other way. A slip on the stairs of her home has kept her out of work since the spring. The hair salon struggled to keep customers. Ladson was forced to sell her car and fell behind on her mortgage. Foreclosure notices began replacing dinner invitations.

And yet, like so many other black women, Ladson continues to shoulder the burden of supporting her extended family of siblings, cousins, nephews and grandkids.

Across the country, black women are bearing a heavier responsibility for family and friends than their white counterparts, even as they struggle to emerge from an economic downturn that has hit them harder.

Read the rest of this article at the Washington Post.

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