Robert and his friend Mike attended the same school as rich kids even though they were poor. They faced segregation because of their state when Jimmy, whose parents seemed to be doing well, did not invite them to the beach house. This prompted them to begin their first business, money laundering, in an attempt to be rich. When his dad, a school teacher, caught them in the act of smoldering toothpaste tubes that were made of lead to produce nickels, he laughed so hard and mentioned Mike’s dad as someone who could teach them how to make money. This surprised Mike, since he did not see his dad as rich, true to Robert’s dad’s sentiments, the banker whom he shared with Mike’s dad had nothing but praises for his financial literacy despite not being as formally educated as the school teacher.
Working for money
After consultation with Mike’s dad who owned a warehouse, both boys were given jobs at a rate of 10 cents per hour. After three weeks of working for low pay, with no lectures on how to actually make money, Robert decided to quit. Following his father (the school teacher)’s advice, he demanded for a pay raise or he would quit. At that point, Mike’s dad who had predicted this scenario told him he was now ready. In Robert’s mind, he was supposed to learn how to make money through lectures and sit –ins but Mike’s dad chose to teach him, at the age of 9, a practical life lesson. Feeling exploited and deprived of a good salary like most employees do, he blamed his boss, Mike’s dad, for his low pay and inability to purchase the good things a decent salary would have given him.
The missing piece of the puzzle
According to Mike’s dad, a job is a short term solution to a long-term problem, money. School is a great place to learn how to work for money so most people get stuck in the rat race so they can pay bills and teach their children the same. Fear and greed drives most people. The fear of unpaid bills, being fired, the fear of starting over. This prompts them to work their entire lives. Greed comes from the temporary satisfaction that money brings. The freedom that people gain from having numbers in their bank accounts leads them to not think long term until they run out of money again. That is why some rich people are just highly paid slaves. They need to keep working to sustain what they have even though they have more than the poor. Think of a job as a donkey pulling a cart, with a carrot being dangled in front of the cart by the donkey’s owner. The owner knows what he is doing and the donkey is chasing the ‘illusion’ in the form of a carrot.
The ‘I’m not interested in money’ syndrome
This is the poor and middle class’ guide to belittling those who make their money work for them, even though they themselves are working eight hours to get the same money. So they teach their kids to not be ‘obsessed’ with money even though that is what they are working for themselves. Talk about double standards.
At the end of the discussion, Robert understood the essence of financial literacy. Mike’s dad said that he however will keep working but with no pay!
A comic book business later…
Out of frustration from not having any pay, Robert and mike acquired comic books and created a library where they would charge neighborhood kids 10 cents for reading. They made 9.50 dollars every week and paid Mike’s sister, a reader, one dollar every week to run the library. That way, they made money even when they were not around. The business shut down but they had learned to make money work for them.
Before I started my blog, I got a couple of offers to write for different sites. Some of these offers were so promising but I understood they would only solve my money problems in the short term. Instead, I chose the uncertainty of running my own blog, churning six articles every week even though I knew it would not generate any income for the first few months. It would be easier to write articles and get paid but like Steve Jobs said; being a pirate is more interesting than being in the navy. Some people like to be content; some are driven by the uncertainty. I fall under the latter but I know that I picked a path that takes care of me for the long haul. Like I put it before, if I were in science, I would have my own laboratory, if I were a lawyer; I would have my own firm. Some are driven by fear; others face it like it’s just a passing wind.