Posted on September 12, 2019
When Damien Peters found out he was going to be a father, he began planning to take time off from his job as a product manager at Facebook. He planned to take a year off, leaving many of his colleagues in disbelief because he could afford to not work for that long.
Through conversations with friends and colleagues, Peters realized that many people—particularly young Black professionals—weren’t putting their income to work and weren’t focused on building wealth.
“We’re getting educated, we’re gainfully employed, but we aren’t focused on increasing our net worth and assets,” Peters said.
This inspired him to launch Wealth Noir, a digital media platform aimed at helping Black millennials build generational wealth and reach financial freedom.
“We want to see more Black millionaires,” Peter said. “I want to see us in the community do better. I want to see wealthy Black millennials.”
The site is content driven with interviews and written pieces speaking on the importance of financial literacy with the mission of closing the wealth gap. It covers a range of topics designed to appeal to Black professionals including tips on how to maximize employee benefits and how to start trading stocks.
“The goal of Wealth Noir has been to start with education, build understanding building wealth, investments, hedge funds, and then launch our financial services,” said Peters who founded the platform in 2017. “We can change what wealth looks like.”
A study done by the Pew Research Center showed the lower-income White household had a net worth of $22,900 compared to $5,000 for Black households in 2016. The study also found only 31 percent of lower-income Black families are homeowners compared to 49 percent of low-income White families.
“A lot of us didn’t grow up around people who are doing complex investments,” said Peters. “Even though we have money, just being a lawyer, doctor, or in business earning income, you still need to think about what you’re doing down the line.”
Peters graduated from the University of Maryland-College Park with a computer science degree and later went on to receive his MBA from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. However, the Facebook alum is no stranger to building online platforms. In addition to extensive experience as a product manager, he launched a dating and relationship blog in 2007 and leveraged that experience to build Wealth Noir.
“Media made sense because I knew we could learn from our audience and build a product that we knew they wanted instead of guessing what they want,” said Peters.
Peters—who is based in Valencia, Spain—and his team, (who is 100 percent remote) focus on building content that resonates with their audience and provides information not readily available or targeted at young Black people. The team has also released financial literacy products with plans to roll out more services dedicated to helping people gain a better understanding of money.
While Peters recognizes he could be making more money working in tech, as a founder he has the flexibility to build Wealth Noir and spend time with his family. He also notes being financially fit means he has more freedom to donate time to educate the next generation of technologists. Prior to launching his startup, Peters worked with /dev/color, an organization with the goal of turning Black software engineers into industry leaders.
“The more of us that can amass and breakthrough, the larger our say and influence,” Peters said. “You’ll see the wealth being dispersed in the community.”