The Best Thing I Read Last Week

READING IS A GREAT AND LIFE TRANSFORMING HABITThe best thing I read last week came from NBA mega superstar Kevin Durant’s mom, Wanda. She was famously tagged by Kevin as the “The Real MVP.” Earlier this year she spoke in the Big Apple at the news agency Thomson Reuters Corporation on her financial challenges as a single parent mom. CNBC’s ‘Make It’ reported on the talk. Here are two things The Real MVP shared that made an enormous impression on me:
  • She advised Kevin upon entering the National Basketball Association (NBA) that it was “imperative” he prepare financially for the future
  • She indicated, that although she was on a super tight budget raising three children, she could have saved a little for the future.
  • Related: Kids, Money and Growing Up with a Super Bowl Father ARE YOU THINKING WHAT I AM THINKINGI found Wanda’s statements insightful, inspiring, and on target. They stirred up my thought process, which means I began to read, reflect, question, compare, contrast and write things down. That is what thinking is, right? Those also are requisites for being financially literate.I was immediately reminded of the Henry Ford quote, “Whether you think you can, or you can’t – you’re right.”I thought about the column I recently wrote and conversation I had with former sports agent Dennis Gilbert about retired Major League Baseball (MLB) Bobby Bonilla’sfrequently chronicled contract that will pay him more than one million dollars annually through 2035. Gilbert revealed that it was Bonilla’s desire to plan and prepare for the future that made the deal possible.Additional reflection brought back a fond high school baseball memory. I was on deck next to a teammate who followed me in the order. After the current batsman cracked a single, my teammate next to me said with a confident grin, “If John can get a hit, I can too, and so can you.” It is a moment that has stuck in my head for more than 40 years. It was our first hit of the day. In a poetic way, it was akin to breaking the four-minute mile. Once achieved, it bred confidence others could do it too. Once the spell had been broken, our task was easier. Although, Wanda may not have saved, just knowing she thinks it is possible provides hope that it can be done for all who struggle with the challenge.Sadly, it also brought-to-mind something I have heard repeatedly from some, but not all, educators, when I’ve read our Sammy Rabbitstorybooks on forming good money habits to young children who live in extraordinarily low-income areas: “These kids cannot save.” Or, “these kids do not have money to save.” In my opinion, whether these assumptions are accurate or not, is irrelevant. It is “stinking thinking” as the late Zig Ziglar once said. This thinking is a destructive seed to plant in the heads and hearts of children. It debilitates desire and when channeled properly, desire has miraculous properties, much the same as compound interest, and that can drive change and conquer seemingly insurmountable challenges.Ms. Durant’s wisdom also had me contemplating the core and congruent mottos of the Girl and Boy Scouts – be prepared. It probably is not an accident that the Scout organizations are in agreement on the “be prepared” philosophy. The readiness prescription is timeless and has universal applicability. THIS IS THE THINGThere are several reasons why saving money is important, even if it is a penny a day. For example, one can learn to delay gratification, be disciplined, set goals, value a dollar, and prioritize spending to name a few. But in addition to those benefits, there is this, self-esteem. One of the most important messages saving money says to a child is that they have a future, a future worth investing in, sacrificing for, and protecting.Related: How to Map Your Kids Money Mindset