Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Not too long ago, US Presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney, said in an interview that the uninsured should use the Emergency Rooms for their care. It was, I think, his "Let them eat cake" moment. As I thought about it, I wondered if my suggestions about making property income-generating, renting space in your or your parents' homes was my own "Let them eat cake"?

About eighteen months ago, I had the opportunity to make a presentation to a committee of the Board of one of the larger credit unions in Trinidad & Tobago. The pitch I was making, was to share some of my insights gained in this crucible that is caregiving and financial management, with credit union members. During the course of that presentation, I was asked what I would suggest for people who were not already home owners. The premise of my recommendations at the time being: leverage the home you have to create a stream of income.

To be completely truthful, it was not a question I had even considered. My insights were/are drawn from my experience. My mother is a homeowner. She owns something that she can turn to a profit no matter how small, but I had not really considered what suggestions I might make to someone who had no property that they could leverage in this way. Perhaps like so many political candidates, I was speaking to others with similar experience and had not seriously considered other situations or perspectives. I now think my response was on the low end of "Let them eat cake". I didn't say, "Well, I can't help them" but I did suddenly find myself in the awkward position of being a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming truck. I came up with something, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't well-articulated or well-considered because, it obviously wasn't.

There has to be something though, there has to be a response that makes sense and I think I now have it: you have to generate resources from skills or abilities if you don't have assets to do it for you. It's really pretty simple. You either have money at work for you (assets) or you're at work for you. There are no other options. As someone who doesn't own a home of her own, this is where I find myself. I must put my shoulder to the wheel, even as I do the other things - management of resources and care - for my mother. Not only must my shoulder be pressed hard against the wheel, it cannot be at a j-o-b. Jobs don't pay enough to get you where you need to go quite frankly. If someone wants to pay me goo-gobs of money to do my thing, that's great, but given what I know about how care costs can explode, goo-gobs of salary, do not trump goo-gobs generated by a business of my own.

Suggesting entrepreneurship may be yet another "Let them eat cake" moment. Let's face it, not everyone wants to be self-employed. I don't particularly love the idea myself, but I do recognize that this is where I must go if the future is to be brighter still than the present. So I apologize to anyone I've 'caked' by talking repeatedly about turning property into profit and I offer this instead. Try your hand at entrepreneurship. I'm about to. Stand by.

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