The Most Important Lessons That I’ve Learned About Money in the Last 20 Years

My friends say that their parents didn’t talk about money when they were growing up. That’s funny. I don’t know if my parents knew how not to. It may be a Jamaican thing. I don’t know.

Hi there, simple and reasonable childish request!
Care to meet, ridiculous adult, money-related rebuttal?

Enter scene

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Can you come up to my school and (fill in school mandated request here)?
Mi look like mi have money fi pay bus fare?

Can I buy a(fill in childish gift request here)?
Yuh have money?

Can (fill in childhood friend’s name) do (insert childish game that happens inside the house) with me?
Him a pay rent ova yah?

Exit scene

If there was an award for the “parents most likely to make everything about money,” my parents’ faces would be plastered all over it.

And there would be a tiny picture of me in the background looking at them as if they were crazy. (Tiny because no child of my parents has ever been dumb enough to intentionally elicit my parents’ wrath — and even then I refused to be the first!)

Nonetheless, after an amazing childhood of even more ridiculous money rebuttals, I would finally leave my parents’ roost. And my adult brain would tune into the money game.

But it would tune in to a different frequency. It would sway to a slightly different sound.

This sound would move me for decades. Vibrating through my ears, always echoing through my tears. It would never leave; through the easy lessons and the exquisitely excruciating ones.

I would hear the loud music of the most important messages and feel the soothing melody of my most miserable mistakes.

And by rocking to the rhythm, I would inch closer and closer towards financial freedom; scared, a little scarred but a lot satisfied. And financially free by age 40.

Those scars became my teachers. They taught me several money lessons. I paid attention. And the very best of those lessons seem deserving enough of your time, to pass along to you.

Can We Have a Real Talk About Money Please?

Money was never taboo growing up in our house. No hushed discussions behind closed doors to “protect the kids.”

But then the teenage years happened.

I was “lucky” enough to get a scholarship to boarding school after being in the USA for less than a year. I was poor. Everyone around me was rich. I was spending my life around 15-year-olds writing checks for sweaters that cost more than our rent. Who wore shoes worth more than my dad’s car.

Wealth was abundant. Conversations about how to build wealth — scarce.

My 15-year-old brain is overwhelmed and under-educated. How can my money game ever take off if my training is under-valued, under-rated, and under siege?

It’s all good. I will surely get it all once I get to college, I think. That’s where I’ll finally get to learn and talk about the lessons that I will need to up my money game.

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