Celebrating Black History Month: Highlighting Michelle Singletary, Columnist for the Washington Post

Feb 26, 2021
Activities, Retirement

Twice weekly, NGPF is celebrating Black History Month by highlighting Black financial leaders and educators via dedicated posts and student activities on the NGPF blog. 


With this final post of the month, we are highlighting the work of Michelle Singletary, who writes “The Color of Money,” a twice-weekly column in the Washington Post and published in dozens of other papers nationwide. She’s also the author of 3 personal finance books and appears regularly on TV and radio. More about Michelle Singletary here.

Featured Resource and Activity Idea: Retirement ‘baby bonds’ could help close the racial wealth gap

We’ve picked this particular article because it ties into our post last week about the racial wealth gap and, let’s be honest, it’s atypical to find a current event about savings bonds that doesn’t put a teenage reader instantly to sleep. But this particular baby bond idea’s got some interesting bits to it! The article is here on The Washington Post, but we realize the paywall might be difficult for students, so here’s a PDF as well. 


Now, it’s still an article about bonds, which can be tricky to understand, so we’ve gone the route of creating some comprehension questions to accompany the article. Note that students need to read the entire article before answering the questions -- they are written to draw out important details, not to provide sequential checkpoints for understanding.


  1. In Sam Edelman’s Retirement Income Security for Everyone (RISE) plan, who is BUYING the baby bonds? 
    1. The babies themselves
    2. The babies’ parents
    3. Regular investors, unrelated to the babies
    4. The federal government
  2. According to Edelman, much would the RISE program cost taxpayers? 
  3. If a baby named Michelle is born in 2021…
    1. What year could the bondholder redeem the bond? 
    2. What year would Michelle begin to receive payments? 
    3. When would Michelle STOP receiving payments? 
  4. According to this article, at age 70, people who had been born into low-income households as babies would receive $35,000 a year, while people who had been born into the wealthiest families would receive $1000 a year. Does this system seem fair to you? Why or why not? 
  5. If a bond is sold for each baby, and each of those bonds is sold for $5,884, how is it possible that the program would eventually provide payouts of up to $35,000 per person a year? 
  6. What are some PROS and CONS of waiting until the “babies” turn 70 to distribute their money? 
  7. Singletary reminds us, regarding the racial wealth gap, that “White families have 10 times as much wealth as African American families and eight times the wealth of Latino families.” Do you think the RISE plan is a possible solution to that problem? Why or why not? 


You can view the answers to these questions here.

Though Black History Month is almost over,  we encourage you to check out our collection of blog posts and Questions of the Day here and continue to use them throughout the year.

About the Authors

Jessica Endlich

When I started working at Next Gen Personal Finance, it's as though my undergraduate degree in finance, followed by ten years as an educator in an NYC public high school, suddenly all made sense.

Sonia Dalal

Sonia has always been passionate about instruction and improving students' learning experiences. She's come a long way since her days as a first grader, when she would "teach" music and read to her very attentive stuffed animals after school. Since then, she has taught students as a K-12 tutor, worked in several EdTech startups in the Bay Area, and completed her Ed.M in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is passionate about bringing the high quality personal finance content and instruction she wished she'd received in school to the next generation of students and educators. When she isn't crafting lesson guides or working with teachers, Sonia loves to spend her time singing, being outdoors, and adventuring with family and friends!