I Know What Money Is, My Financial Education, Part 2 by Kyle Phoenix

The most money I've ever made in a week was about $26,000.  Previous to that it had been about $12,000 in 4 hours.  Before I was 21 the best I'd done was about $1,000 in a week.  These three examples come from three different systems, two of them choices and one a non-choice.

The first, the $26K was from entrepreneurial effort and opening a bookstore online.  I'd been muddling over what to do to not only earn more money but to do something else besides just working at a job and I circled back around to the thousands of books surrounding me in my living room.  In the fall I'd been to a Rich Dad, Robert Kiyosaki workshop, gotten inspired and hunkered down to try out my newest entrepreneurial venture.  Eight months later $26, 000 was in my bank account and another $14,000 rolled in in the following weeks.

The second, $12,000 came from following Kiyosaki's advice and taking control of my taxes.  I took the H&R Block Tax class, to understand my taxes in 1998.  I focused diligently in class,only missing two I think---but I was there like a fire cracker for the entrepreneurial section.  I passed the class with the knowledge and never became a tax preparer because honestly I figured out whatever their payment structure was, I could make more focusing elsewhere.  About 3 years later with diligent care and attention to my expenditures and budget, slowly maturing a small business and keeping impeccable records I sat down at H&R Block and mapped out my taxes like a boss and impressed the hell out of my former teachers....and got back $12,000 that year.  Technically, I guess I was right, I'd used the class to make more than possible sitting their doing people's taxes and the subsequent years have been equally well managed.

The $1,000 comes from a job I had as a sales associate at A&S Department store in Manhattan, NY.  We were on commission plus $7 an hour, 8% of every sale I believe.  I was hired in August and by December was rocking a great check from selling literally any and everything in that store.

My personal financial education has been choppy because as much as I understand money and finance and investments and have been schooled (tax prep, financial planning, MBA, and years working as a financial analyst and securities paralegal) my relationship to money took time.  We're still negotiating our relationship, truth be told.  The reason for our discord is because I had to learn so much of this on my own even though my mother had some of the same skills and large chunks of money.  Since I was a child I remember one of her side hustles was doing taxes and then she started several small businesses, including a modeling agency.  Eventually she was depositing checks for $600,000 and I had the honor of actually being with her in a car dealership when she reached into her bra and whipped out a roll of cash to buy a car straight off of the dealership floor.  At 21, I bowed my head, groaning inwardly.

However, now, looking at my cousins, I see that she and my father(s) provided a level of advanced education within my family that has allowed me to do the above three financial leaps.  While sitting in that dealership, my mother and I also owned the co-op that we'd lived in---the reason why I didn't get to college until that $600k check was deposited was that my mother was laid off by AT&T after 17 years; she took the lump sum payout, budgeted tightly and informed me that if I left for college at 18, we'd lose the co-op.  But if I worked full time, contributed to the mortgage and household bills, it would give her time to build up her business and then I'd be able to go.  Pretty much that's how it worked out within about 18 months.  I had faith in my mother's business acumen because she'd been always doing stuff on the side---selling leather skirts and jackets at AT&T, as side hustle; starting a catering business (once even paying me to cook for 75 people she'd been commissioned by---yeah, I have cooking skills like that); being a tax preparer; joining a multi-level marketing company, Undercover wear, selling women's lingerie then broadening that to her own line and a modeling agency.  At 14, for my birthday, my mother gave me a tax ID number for my small nation publishing business.  Entrepreneurship is just a fact of life within us, I suppose.

But my mother, now on her third owned house, having rented others out, has owned property and started a business, only my uncle and a one cousin, so far having owned a singular house each.  No one but myself in my family of say 100 people has started a micro-sustainable business except for her and I.  I say micro-sustainable because the true test of a business is being able to go away for a year and it continues along fine or does better---I'm not quite there yet....but I'm closing in on it.  Therefore owning property has become an important thread in my life for me and in my mother's egging of me. She often throws up her hands in confused exasperation as I focus time and money at education, going to school, instead of buying a house---somewhere, anywhere----but it will come in due time.  The fact that a house is not an asset but a liability, because it's the bank's asset and your financial liability, another Kiyosaki lesson, is mainly my reticence...though I believe in and am working on renting out properties that one owns.

However as an advancement to her point of ownership, I've expanded my financial education by a factor of 3 to her own and have been able to do things on a worldwide scale that she hasn't.  She respects outcomes, especially to money, so she likes what I'm doing in multimedia and publishing so far, seeing the long range outcomes and potentiality.

My mother's financial industriousness inspired me to learn about money, even though I don't exactly have a deep emotional connection to it---I often think when I've been in relationships or looking for someone, that level of monetary acquisition acumen is something I find attractive.  I know what to do with money, but I don't care about it, I need someone who cares.  One of the things I honestly measure a man or a woman by for friendship or more, is their financial acumen and entrepreneurial skills/ability.  I have found being with people who identify themselves as employees isn't for me.

I'm starting to close in though, this being my second or third entrepreneurial effort and foray into publishing, depending on how I calculate time and projects.  The internet having been a huge boon as it suits my technical skills.  I have found though that the more I learn, the more I experiment with, the more mini-successes I have, honestly the more money I make---the faster my circle of compatriots changes.  Don't get me wrong, I know lots of people of color scrambling and desirous of money but I know only a few with some technical skills, willingness to talk about it, willingness to teach me a thing or two.  Sadly, I know more White people who fall into these categories, mainly because historically White people have more experience with money and ownership, 14 generations since they arrived here, to people of color's 3-4 generations, since we've been legally allowed to own property and business interests.  And if you follow my family's mathematical breakdown, there are about 5 people for every 100 in every Black/Latino family with middle class and higher financial education.  So that works out roughly to about 5 million of us---spread amongst about 400 million people in the total population in the Western hemisphere.

My children will have the equivalent of an MBA by the time they're 18.  Teaching them about money, the currency humans must use in whatever form and how to not just work for it but create it strikes me as the only sensible thing to do as a parent.  It doesn't escape me that I've earned from a business 26x more in a week than I ever have as someone's employee.  The problem in the gap between being an employee and an owner is time and discomfort.  You must be willing to be poor, voluntarily for awhile, in order to rocket ahead of others eventually.  That's the hard part, especially when you like learning like I do, so have plenty of skills.  But I have always maintained, since 14, I suppose, that I am Kyle, Inc. in partnership with Manpower, Citigroup, Metlife, CB Richard Ellis, Columbia University, etc..  It's never been a subservient relationship and while I don't think that makes me a better long term employee, I'm generally a better worker because we have a work ethic and code here at Kyle, Inc..

Money, therefore to me, is ownership of self, control and a level of fun and creativity.  I was raised on a differing diet of money so it's hard for me to be deeply concerned about the financial aspect of say, the minimum wage though I'm deeply concerned about the social and racial implications of it.  I see money differently, when you create it, not just work for it, you tend to.

Just recently I was browsing around Netflix and watched a documentary about Wal-Mart and it's influence on the small towns that it goes into.  I've read the biography of Sam Walton, the founder and lots of business analyses of it, so I have a deeper understanding of why Wal-Mart is so successful.  I mentioned to my father about watching this movie, he's a big customer of Wal-Mart---our biggest disagreement being my pointing out that driving to Wal-Mart to get cheaper prices, when one can walk up the block to the supermarket, means that ultimately, totaling in gas, you're spending more for Wal-Mart....but I digress.  I explained the premise of the film to him and how I was concerned that the small businesses being put out of business and Wal-Mart's business practices were at loggerheads but no one was turning that powerful judgment and microscope to the real culprit: the customers.

If Wal-Mart comes to your town, and say you've owned a business for a couple of generations and when they get there it tanks your business---it's not Wal-Mart's fault.  It's your neighbors, people like my father, who go out of their way to go there because, and he does this too, they can never just buy one item there---it becomes an adventure in consumerism.

One of the first business lessons, having moved away from...illegal pharmaceutical businesses before I was a teenager that my parents taught me, was that the money for a drug dealer isn't in the product, it's in the comeback.  That if the customer keeps returning, that's how you make real money.  Being the controller of the source and putting as few payees between you and the customer.  Most people don't realize that's why they're paid so little, why things are so expensive, why they're not getting ahead in a job---there's a lot of hands involved before your paycheck.  They also taught me to not do drugs for this reason....and then they added oh, yeah and umm....don't sell them either.  (Actually funny side note, that's one of the reasons why in spite of financial issues my mother was committed that I go to college---she knew that my entrepreneurial interests and acumen, left to the streets would amount to something else.  She said that if she ever got a call from the police, her first question would be what was the charge.  That I had the capability to be the controller of a distribution network, not a stick up man.)

My baby multimedia empire is spreading nicely, I keep adding pieces to it, improving aspects, following other companies---much larger one's models---learning how to construct businesses that suit my identity, my ideology, my desires, my feelings for what money is and isn't.  I've still got some time and next phases in projects before I'm "happy" with my accomplishments.  I used to direct and produce small films and one long form one in high school/college---I have long range plans to do some audio/music work, radio work, audiobooks, online classrooms, scripted TV work and movie work off of some scripts and stuff....and stuff...and more stuff.


My financial education is always around ownership and partnership, never employment because I know what money is.

Thank you for reading and if you liked this check out the other blogs or one my books on Amazon.com
Kyle Phoenix
Email: kylephoenixshow@gmail.com
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