Regina King Sets an Example on How to Make Wise Choices With Our Money

Image: Andre D. Wagner

Regina King is serious about her money. Unlike many entertainers—or for that matter, most folks—the beloved actor, whose latest film The Harder They Fall (which hits Netflix in November), tells EBONY she has never been in credit card debt. That good fortune she credits to her mother. “My mother has always been financially on top of those types of things; she kind of put the fear of debt in us,” King explains while chuckling that her sister Reina might disagree.

“I’m one of those people if I see an example of what not to do, I am good at living vicariously through you and not making that same mistake. So, I’ve been lucky with that. And, I do recognize that it is lucky. And it’s my fear of not wanting to be in debt. I don’t like to owe somebody anything. I’m one of those people who pays my credit card off at the end of every month, even when I really didn’t have any money.”

That’s why her latest partnership with Wells Fargo for their new Active Cash Card is a big deal for the mother of one. “It’s a card that gives customers two percent cash rewards on their purchases,” she raves. “So often with credit cards that give you cashback or cash rewards, they’re usually specific to a thing that you’re spending. Like if you’re buying groceries or airline tickets or gas, you only get that cash reward when you’re purchasing certain items. With this card, it’s all items—anything. Whether it’s an ice cream cone or a pair of Jimmy Choo, you can get a reward.”

Her various commercial spots for Wells Fargo are a bit more personal and lighthearted than many of the characters King plays, and show show how the cash rewards work. In one spot, she is locked out of her house and uses retail therapy to pass the time until her locksmith arrives. In another, she is swiping her Active Cash Card to rectify the damage her puppy caused at a friend’s home.

For King, one of the most important rewards of her partnership with Wells Fargo is the financial institution’s one-million-dollar donation to Kollab, an innovative private-public program from the Los Angeles County Alliance for Boys & Girls Clubs Workforce Development Program—in partnership with ABC7 and LA County Workforce Development, Aging & Community Services—targeting the area’s most vulnerable youth population from ages 14 to 18. The program helps young people create paths of success that can include college as well as trade school education. Participants are exposed to STEAM opportunities as well as given valuable industry insight by top executives and business leaders. Most importantly, Kollab offers personal achievement training that includes mentoring, life coaching, and financial literacy. Since 2019, over 150 youth have participated, with many obtaining internships as well as enrolling in college programs that feed their career interests. The Wells Fargo donation made on King’s behalf will be used to increase Black student enrollment throughout the Greater Los Angeles area.

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For King, it’s a proactive approach to problems that impact many urban communities but touch her even more personally. “I’m born and bred in L.A., and I love my city,” says King. “But one of the things that I feel like we do so often, in just the world, is we look at things from a charity perspective, as opposed to coming into things from the beginning. How do we build financial health? How do we put our young people into spaces where they’re forward-thinking in a way that’s going to expose them to different career opportunities or career opportunities in general? And Kollab is an organization that is doing exactly that. And, as you know, education and opportunity equal success in most cases.”

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