College: California State University Northridge
I’m an author, business owner, professional investor & wealth coach. I wasn’t always all of these things though. As a matter of fact for as long as I remember, the only thing I always have been out of those things was an entrepreneur. And while that in itself should be viewed as its own positive accomplishment, the truth is that that in itself nearly killed me.
This is because even though being an entrepreneur allows you to make ridiculous amounts of money – more money than most people around you in employed positions at least – I still had never been taught what exactly to do with that money after I had worked so hard to make it.
My parents both worked, had side businesses, were involved heavily in the community and for the most part were always busy doing something. But they also had and needed to raise 5 kids. And while raising these 5 kids they would do so by utilizing financial habits not created from some financial guru in their lives who had all the answers but from a long standing practice handed down generation to generation within the black community. They would indeed go on to raise us using the only method they knew - by living one check at a time.
Ahh so if this is simply “how it is” in the black community, then we should have been fine right? I mean if everyone around you is broke then there’s no one to be jealous of?
Not in L.A. my friend.
And this was the mentality I kept going all the way until college – where I would kick the so-called ballin into even higher gear. I had started DJ’ing and getting into the club scene while going to class in the day. As my popularity and could only see myself driving true luxury- brand new luxury- and a convertible at that. Only problem is with all the money I was making from DJ’ing I couldn’t afford all of the stuff I was trying to do – pay rent, buy expensive furniture, pay for school expenses and have this car. So I decided to get close to a $600 car note – and at the same time put the down payment on one of my credit cards I had just received.
Needless to say around 2003 I had realized I was in way over my head and the whole house of cards was falling down. No not on my dj career, not on my ability to pull chicks – but on what was going on behind the scenes. I was flat broke and now dealing with collection accounts. But I had that ill convertible though.
A few car upgrades later and a move back to my parents apartment – I was now car rich and living in a bunk bed. I did get a pretty good job based around what I majored in at school (advertising) though I was getting a lot of flack from the girls I would date because I lived at my parents’ house. Only thing to do next was put myself into position where I could buy a house.
After I purchased the 3bedroom 3 bathroom condo with 4 years worth of saving and slaving, it only took a few months (till august actually) to have some cold water splashed on my face. There was something called a housing bubble about to burst and sub prime borrowers were supposed to have been the cause. I was livid. But not as livid as I was about to be.
And then came 2008.
Since the market crashed, all of my money was tied up in stocks that were now 70% lower than the last point I had bought them. The only thing that saved me was my $10k emergency fund I didn’t want to access unless I had to repair or do something to the house. One of the dumbest and smartest moves I made was in taking that money and buying a bunch of solar energy stocks near the time the market had bottomed. But as the market started to rebound, I was now looking at investments that not only returned to where I had purchased them but far beyond that as my solar energy holdings had exploded up ten-fold. I now had more in investments than I had put into and lost with the down payment on the the condo. I then used some of it to pay those cards completely off.
I started to blog about my new mentality on Facebook through a series of notes called “War on Credit”. We would also talk about loving who you are and eating healthy as well since I was starting to see a lot of the same ignorance to bettering ourselves in other aspects of our community. Especially since it all tied into building wealth at the end of the day anyways.
I left that condo with an iPad, an iPhone, a few items of clothing and an $8,000, 2007 Nissan Sentra. The plan would be to use the $3,300 I was now saving from not paying housing expenses to continue to invest. By doing so at the right I had been doing for the past few years, by the time I would have been done paying three times for my mortgage over 30 years, I would instead have close to $8 million in the bank.
I would also travel and continue to work with minorities from all over and help them end the cycle of poverty within our communities. The only thing that mattered now was the mission.
This time its war.
What is your life's mission?
I believe part of the reason I've been put here is to organize a revolution. That revolution's ultimate goal will be to eliminate the cycle of poverty within minority communities all over.
What does being a black man mean to you?
That I have a whole lotta work to do.
"I believe part of the reason I've been put here is to organize a revolution. That revolution's ultimate goal will be to eliminate the cycle of poverty within minority communities all over."