If you’re not wealthy by now, you won’t be.
I’m not being hateful or pessimistic, it’s just something that won’t happen to you in this lifetime. By construct, wealth is something that you’re either born from or married into. Sure you may have financial stability or financial freedom… perhaps even be something we call rich. But that’s not what I’m talking about.
Wealth is a different kind of comfort. It’s an old kind of comfort that comes with years, decades, and generations of money. It’s the accumulation of investments and savings.
And with wealth comes something even more precious than money…. time.
Time is on Your Side
When you’re not fixated on resources (both the allocation and maintenance of) you all of sudden have a lot of time to dedicate to so many other things. Things like figuring out who you truly are and determining your purpose in life.
Or how you can best serve your community and give back to those who have been less fortunate in life than you.
You might even come to understand how to create a healthy and loving family unit and go about actually doing it (if that’s your jam).
wealth = freedom and security.
The freedom to do the things that truly matter to you and the security in knowing that your financial situation (and lifestyle) won’t change drastically if it’s not being closely monitored.
In the African American community there are very few instances of financial wealth.
But, what we do have is a wealth of knowledge, boatloads of charisma, and unwavering passion. We are a community of people whose culture has almost infinite value. What we lack in monetary funding we make up [overwhelmingly] in other areas of life. So, the battle we ultimately have is learning how to turn these intangible resources and riches into money AND maintaining it.
Now I’ll be the first to say that money is sure as hell not everything. In fact, there are many cases where financial freedom did not equal mental or spiritual freedom. However, one could successfully argue that while “mo money, mo problems” may be true, a lot of lives could benefit and improve significantly if they had better access to more paper and coins.
Who lives, who dies, who tells your story
I am currently obsessed with Hamilton (the Broadway play now on Disney+ streaming).
The play is revolutionary in itself, but I became immediately interested in the underlining story. Hamilton was a man who “came from nothing and became something”.
It’s your classic rags to riches story. But one of the prevailing themes in the play is how badly Hamilton wanted to leave a legacy. How he wanted to make his mark in this world and be remembered for years to come. It was one of the reasons he made bold decisions and took many risks.
These days I can relate to this idea and the want for leaving a legacy. As a woman who has chosen to not have children (at least at this point in my life), I’ve realized that I have to be creative in two ways… 1) how I help create generational wealth for Black people and 2) how I create a personal legacy that lives on after I’m gone.
It becomes hard to do this when you do not have direct descendants. Not impossible, but very difficult.
The wealth I hope to help create will be planted in the community rather than through bloodlines, which actually fits quite well with me since I love giving back to my community in general. I am a product of organizations like youth groups, the YMCA, community centers, etc. All of these places helped shape the person that I am today. So if I can sow resources into them and other children are able to benefit and prosper, I feel like my work is being done.
I also like to give both time and money to Black colleges and Universities. I graduated from two HBCUs and know first hand that the experiences you have and the relationships you form while attending these institutions are priceless. I want to make sure that they are always a viable option for Black youth.
Making Plans, Taking Action
I’ve been making five year plans since I was in high school.
I suppose that’s the only way my hippie, free-living, *𝒑𝒆𝒂𝒄𝒆 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒍𝒐𝒗𝒆 𝒂𝒍𝒘𝒂𝒚𝒔* self stays focused and able to be successful at something besides fleeting and frolicking aimlessly through the world… But I digress.
Every few years I set aside time to purposely evaluate my life. I take inventory of my accomplishments, acknowledge challenges, and create new goals. It’s really just my way of having order in my otherwise unrestricted, free flowin’ life.
When I look back on previous plans I remember goals such as “move out of my hometown” and “graduate from college”. A little later in life, my focus moved on to things like “establish a good credit score” and “maintain healthy eating habits”. But most recently it has been along the lines of “find purpose in the work that I do” and “maintain a lifestyle that supports intentional self-care”.
What has never been on there (like EVER) was to “have a happy marriage” and “have children”. Here I am in my thirties, finally being able to say that out loud and be ok with that.
I am thankful of the path I’ve taken thus far and eager to coninue on in my journey. However, my personal legacy is one that I’m still carving out. A lot of friends and associates that I know live a life of kids, marriage, or both. In fact I only know a handful of my immediate peers who are both single and childless like myself. It’s therefore hard to have this conversation about legacy and generational wealth since we are playing out these goals in very different ways.
Legacy is not leaving something for people. It’s leaving something in people.
If you’re like me and live this life without immediate family know that you are not alone. We’re out here! I promise. Be proud of where you’re at in life and open to the blessings that are yet to come. And whether you decide to create a nuclear family in the future (which is always a very real possibility) I hope you’re mindful of the legacy you want to leave them and to the world.
And for those who live as a nuclear family and have single, childless friends. Be kind. Be understanding. And I hope you learned a little something in reading this.