2 money questions people of color shouldn’t be afraid to ask their white friends, according to a 27-year-old Asian American millionaire

Financial literacy coach Vivian Tu believes that transparency is the key to closing the racial wealth gap.

Financial literacy coach Vivian Tu says one of the ways white allies can help close the racial wealth gap is to be completely transparent about their money.
Tu says people of color shouldn’t be afraid to ask their white friends about their salary and mortgage rates.
“If they’re really your friend, they’d openly share this information — and more,” Tu says.
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“I would like to think, in 2022, that we’ve evolved past biases against people of color, LGBTQ people, but we haven’t,” says Vivian Tu, a 27-year-old millionaire and ex-Wall Streeter. 

During her time working as a trader on Wall Street, Tu was one of the only women of color on her team, and she got an inside look on the common traps and barriers that keep people of color from building wealth.

On her TikTok, she recently educated her 1 million followers on how racism affected a Black couple’s home appraisal, a process where a professional gives a homeowner an estimate of how much their home is worth before putting it on the market.

During their first appraisal, Paul Austin and Tenisha Tate-Austin were told that their home was worth $989,000 — much lower than other homes in their neighborhood in Marin City. Once approved for a second appraisal, the Austins took down personal photos of their family, replaced them with photos of a white family, and asked a white friend to pose as the homeowner. The first appraisal with the Tates’ family photos was appraised $455,000 less than the second appraisal with white family photos.

Tu encouraged her white viewers, “Talk to your friends of color about financial topics such as mortgage rates, salaries, and home prices so that they know what they should be asking for.” She also tells Insider, “If you are in a position of privilege, you can be a great ally to your friends of color by being transparent about money.”

Talking about money openly is already awkward enough, and it can be even more challenging to factor race into the conversation as well. If you feel uncomfortable asking someone face-to-face, try prefacing the conversation with a text or email, or scheduling a Zoom call to talk about finances.

Here are two simple questions that people of color shouldn’t be afraid to ask their white friends.

1. What’s your mortgage rate?

One of the easiest ways white people can show allyship for people of color is to be completely transparent about each step of the mortgage process. “A lot of Black couples, a lot of interracial couples, a lot of LGBTQ+ couples are not getting a fair shake at the bank,” explains Tu.

Here are some additional questions people of color can ask about the mortgage process, according to Tu:

Do you have a mortgage lender you’ve had a good experience with? If so, would you mind introducing me?What strategies did you use to get the best terms on your mortgage?What type of mortgage (fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, etc.) and mortgage rate did you end up getting?

2. How much money do you make?

Tu says that people of color aren’t getting “a fair shake in the office, either.” She adds,”If your white friends really are your friends, they will help and share their salary with you.” Tu argues that white people should tell their friends of color exactly how they negotiated their salary and double-check that they’re getting the same benefits package.

Here are some additional questions people of color can ask their friends about their salaries:

Did you get a raise this year? How much did they give you?How much was your bonus this year?Can you give me tips on negotiating a higher salary, commission, hourly rate, or bonus?(If you’re relocating to a new city) Did they offer you a relocation bonus? If so, how much were you offered?

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