OPINION: What I Wish My Younger Self Knew About Money That No One Told Me

by Tonita Webb

If you asked me when I was a little girl if I would become a CEO, I would have probably said no. But I knew I was going to achieve something great. It was a belief instilled in me by my grandfather. Today, however, I wish we’d had follow-on conversations about how achieving something great would also mean making money — and how important it was that I knew what to do with that money. Especially since making money would result in having a different relationship with money than I was used to seeing in my family and community. If we were to have had those conversations, I think my grandfather would have started by saying, “If your goal is to have money, it’s never going to be enough money.” And: “You’ll be able to earn more money, but you need to also earn more wisdom around money and find a purpose for that money.”

This is where the four main things I wish I would have known come into play:

  1. Understanding Tax Consequences of earning more money and owning property. No one ever told me that the more money you make, the more tax you pay. It seems obvious now, but without knowing, it was quite a shock to experience a tax refund that turned out to be a request for tax payment.

    You need to know about tax brackets and how to plan for it. You need to understand what happens when your kids can no longer be claimed. Own a vacation property? That has an impact, too.

  1. I also wish I would have learned How to Talk to My Kids About Money. A common phrase I grew up with is “You don’t owe anyone,” meaning don’t take on any debt. But the truth is, establishing credit or “owing someone” is a significant step toward being able to buy a home and establishing generational wealth. My own grandfather, a small-business owner for decades, only dealt in cash due to a lack of…

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