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Babies with money: A lesson from Aunt Pauline

November 8, 2013

Do you have any idea what would happen if you gave power, freedom and resources to someone who isn’t ready for it? This reminds me of my 12th birthday. On that November 16th my aunt Pauline was visiting my family from away. She had no idea it was my birthday so when she found out she impromptu gave me cash. What was more intriguing about her not knowing it was my birthday, was her not knowing that I never in the history of my life, up until that point, was given $20 all at once. But she did! That was the moment I learned what the feeling of light-headed and faint felt like. But being the O’G I was, I kept a poker face like that money was nothing so she would have no idea I hit the jackpot and take it back. As soon as I got into my room, I shut the door and did my variation of the lotto-dance!

The thing is up until then my parents only gave me $10 allowances, spending money or gifts. So I didn’t know what it felt like to have more than $10 at any given time. Another twist to the story was my parents had no clue she gave it to me. She just did it not thinking it was a big deal. Mannn, to me, it was! It sure felt like winning the lotto. But as I reflect on that day over 2 decades ago, I have no clue, absolutely no clue, what I did with that money. My best guess is I bought candy, toys and McDonald’s; nothing that significantly contributed to my life. I spent many more years after that exhibiting the same behavior; candy, toys and McDonald’s – spending habits that only scratched an itch and only gave me instant gratification.

When I sit back and look at my fellow community, I get the same message. We continue to enjoy candy, toys and McDonald’s. I watch as small business grow out of other minority groups to become strong businesses with a national presence. Since their populations are less than ours, we can’t say it’s due to the numbers. Actually, we sit at the bottom of all economic indicators. So what really is it? It has little to do with how much we make, it has to do with where we spend it. This is the crown jewel of other groups but we have yet to comprehend this.

As long as we remain divided, we remain impoverish. As long as our best talents go to work for the “established” companies, we miss opportunities to grow our own. We are not demonstrating that we are worthy of managing money. It isn’t hard for us to elevate our situation. We can get there if we realized that the most important thing in our community is us.

My simple rule is put the same fear on yourself if you don’t live economically stable, the similar way pastors put the fear of God on you if you don’t tithe.

So, what happened to my Aunt Pauline? Well, she remains to be the greatest in my eyes and this cat’s probably now out of the bag. (I promised to take this secret to my grave.) She went on to be successful in the finance industry. I am sure she got there by understanding that smart investments are not only made in instruments, they are also made in people.

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 11, 2013 11:25 pm

    Professor Robinson, this article is so true. This is the part that caught my attention; we can get there if we realized that the most important thing in our community is us. Think about this, who run this world? Not just a few, all of us. You may be DOWN, GET BACK UP…

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