Growing up around Newark, NJ, there wasn’t much talk about wealth in my household. My dad was a teacher, and my mom worked in finance with no college degree, so you could only imagine how much they made together. Before they split, we rented the 1st floor of a multi-family home owned by the people who lived on the 2nd floor. I don’t think I actually lived in a house until I was 16-17. I remember shedding a tear cutting my dad’s grass when I was around 20, because I didn’t have the opportunity to cut the grass growing up.
If you ever been to Newark or any surrounding city, you already know most of the people there have no idea of wealth either. For us you wanted to be rich, and to be rich meant having a nice car. I didn’t say house, because most of the houses in Newark growing up were old, and I mean old; I didn’t experience central air conditioning until I moved to Charlotte back in 2000.
Kids on the corner singing that’s my car
Ha, I remember me and my cousin memorizing the lyrics to “Been Around the World” by Puffy and Mase. Most of the people we knew who had nice cars were drug dealers, which is common across most inner cities and predominately African-American communities in the country. Building wealth and the proper use of credit was not talked about at all. I barely knew anyone besides a couple people in my family who actually owned a home. I remember how amazing it felt to go to my grandmother’s house, my Uncle Malik’s house, and my Aunt Tunie’s House, because honestly they were the only people I knew growing up who actually owned their own home.
They actually had backyards
With all that being said, I never felt poor or felt my parents couldn’t provide me with what I needed. I mean I didn’t make it to Disney World until I was around 23. But hey I went to Boatcraft, Six Flags, and Jersey Beaches every summer. Even after my parents split, I personally never felt the pressure of money being an issue, unless it was about child support. It’s a shame when the only time you hear about money being discussed growing up, is when it’s about Child Support. Oh yeah, then there is credit. Growing up we didn’t talk about the use of credit. But the older you get and the more you are involved in your parents’ affairs, you soon find out they didn’t buy those Six Flags tickets with cash.
Even as I write this post, I never judged my parents, because honestly they didn’t know better. Their parents didn’t talk money to them and their parents’ parents probably didn’t talk money to their children either. I actually remember the first conversation my mother and me had about money and long-term thinking. I was in college and asked her about life insurance. I know you thinking that’s not money, but it is when you think of wealth. I probably need to write a post on that, but for now, that was the first conversation I had with a parent about anything dealing with wealth, budgeting, or managing money. Growing up, I wish I had more conversations like that.
Talking money at Thanksgiving is not the norm
Along with the lack of wealth talk, people I knew barely traveled, except my Uncle who did a stint in the Navy. But besides that only traveling the people I knew did was anywhere they could get to in a car in less than 8 hours. I remember growing up and my cousin saying, “I never want to leave Newark!!!” Now again, if you ever been to Newark, NJ, I already know you thinking, what the heck was he thinking! By then I had already moved to North Carolina, so I was thinking the same exact thing. It’s crazy now seeing him post pictures on Instagram traveling the world.
Brick City has nothing on Jamaica now, huh?
With all that said, both sides of my family did pass down the knowledge of being go-getters, so I’m appreciative of that. If we knew anything about money, we knew you had to go get yours regardless. Being a go-getter is one of the reasons I am writing this post right now. My passion is to educate everyone I come across on the importance of managing your money, building generational wealth, and traveling every inch of this world. I already work a decent paying full time job, but the go-getter in me can’t allow me to just sit back and not leave my mark on this world.
Each one reach one
I want to pass my knowledge and continue to write on the things I learn as I navigate my own path to wealth. I want you to understand my background so you can see that I am like the average low middle class American, and if I can build wealth so can you.
I believe everyone has an ah-ha moment to tap them into their passion. Personally, mine was when I took over power of attorney for my dad. A couple years before taking over power of attorney, I started to notice how bad he was with managing money in general, but I didn’t know it was THAT bad. He had no life insurance policy, no retirement funds, or much in savings. Crazy thing about all of that is most Americans at his age are in the same boat. Sitting back one day, I honestly had that ah-ha moment when I said I can’t continue to just site here and not help others help themselves. It’s time to build general wealth in the African-American household. It’s time to spread our knowledge to our kids, family members, and friends. It's time to change the way we manage our money and I'm putting all my extra energy to ensuring when I leave this Earth we were better off than when I got here.
This blog is my part to bridging that gap. So please subscribe so we can build our legacy together!