Many of you that have taken the time to get to know me on other platforms know that I’m about my paper. But today’s post has very little to do with money. Today I’m talking about the inheritance that you don’t have to talk to the IRS about. The other day I got called “older people” and as much as it stung, it was a call to action and a realization that I am now being looked to for an “inheritance”.
WHAT YOU TALKIN’ ABOUT MAGGIE?
When I was a kid, I studied with my parents. What do I mean? I mean, my father would give me the book/ paperwork for his advancement exam to become an engineer on the fire truck and have me read back his highlighted sections. My mother would do her homework all over the house for getting her Real Estate license and even when she took a few classes towards finishing her BS before she officially “went back to school”. It mattered whether or not the tests were passed. It mattered how high the scores were, yet nobody really checked my report card during high school. Why? Because they were secure in the fact that they had given me my inheritance early in life. I had learned that the difference between me living the life I wanted and failing was as simple as failing to do the un-fun part.
One of the first things that my Grandfather taught me was how to read things for myself. He showed me how the bus system worked, and took me to the library as soon as I was old enough to get a card of my own. Some of his last words to me when I came to visit him the Thanksgiving before he passed was “Not everything is fatal.” This was in response to me feeling an enormous amount of shame after having introduced him to my first husband. He didn’t judge people, and even though by the end of the trip we all knew that I’d made a huge mistake… he wasn’t worried about me because he knew that he had given me my inheritance early in life. I can read anything in English, to comprehension. That came in handy when it was time to complete my divorce without a lawyer as well as finishing my BA in Paralegal Studies once I finally gained my freedom.
My mom’s mom (Granny) was extremely credit conscious. She paid for most things in cash, and anything that she bought with credit she did so with a solid repayment strategy. She taught me how to save my change for big purchases and be patient when filling a want rather than a need. She also taught me how to learn to do things for myself. She could fix a toilet, some broken concrete on the stairs, switch out spark plugs, put a new p-trap on a sink. All of the things that she learned to do herself helped her save money even when she wasn’t able to do them anymore because nobody could pull the “lil lady” routine on her and overcharge. She signed up for all of the warranties, so she never bought the same thing over and over. I did my best to inherit all of these things, but Granny was a different kind of tough, so while there are some things that I need to pay other people to do, I make sure that I learn what the job takes before I make the call.
Now the above are just the good things. There’s some not so great things that I’ve inherited as well. Without naming any specific sources I have a fear of germs and most activities that could be considered “thrill-seeking”. I beat up on myself if I don’t win. I love shiny new things, I have a hard time buying outside of my preferred name brands and I hate inconsequential chit-chat with strangers just to name a few.
THE BIG PICTURE:
Think about the examples that you set in the lives of the young people around you on a regular basis. That’s their inheritance. I have God-kids in which I hope to instill the spirit of entrepreneurship and reading everything, especially before they sign. We go through this life and we do our best to make it to the next level and all the while, the young people are watching. So if we never try to be great, or if we try again after we fail, they inherit the byproducts of our actions.
There’s a unique situation in the Black community when it comes to what we pass down. Not to say that there aren’t many of us that have things in place in an effort to create generational wealth, but we (broad sense of we) tend to ignore the positive impact that good habits and solid strategic planning can have on sustaining anything that we create monetarily. If we are sure to pass down not just cash and words of wisdom, but acts to follow, we can see an increase that can’t be shaken by an “-ism”.
The Grandparents of our parents invested in land and passed down trades. Many of us have decided that the ways of old are no longer sufficient or we got tired of having to continuously rebuild (*cough Roswell, Rosewood, Black Wall Street cough*). But if we just keep in mind that we are going to leave behind something even if we don’t try, we may find ourselves trying to do/be better in the name of the ones that will follow. Because they are totally watching the… “older people”. 🙂
Tell me what you think. Am I way off base with this one? I’d love to hold that discussion in the comment section as usual. Just an interesting aside, I usually try to add some pictures to the posts to keep you engaged, but I Googled “inheritance” and there were no stock pictures of black hands passing anything between one another. Then I modified my search to “black inheritance” and “inheritance black” only to find the logo of a death metal band and this link….
Sooo…. maybe we can talk about that too.