Over the past weekend, if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you will know that I have been posting pictures from this weekend’s UNCF Mayor’s Masked Ball. I have to admit, I really did have a great time. But more importantly, I was honored to be my dad’s guest. And yes, these days we may not spend as much time as we should (I know dad, I will do better lol), but the time we do share I really do treasure.
As I reflect on our time together this weekend, there is one thing I will be forever grateful to my dad for. He was my first boss!
Many may know my father, James Roy Washington, Jr. He is a well-known architect and co-owns Hewitt Washington & Associates with Mr. Lonnie Hewitt. His designs gracefully cover the city of New Orleans. And as a teenager, when I decided I too wanted to be an architect, he quickly took me under his wings and employed me at his firm but he had another position in mind.
From architect to accountant
At that time, instead of working as an architect intern, I was given major responsibilities to carry out the accounting duties of the firm. At the age of sixteen, I was meeting with many businessmen and learning about the “ins and outs” of a business. One of my most important encounters was to meet with another CPA, Mr. Michael Bruno, Jr., who later became one of my mentors.
Your kids are watching you
While these little opportunities did not seem much to him or to myself while I was growing up, it plays a big part now for siblings and I. I know that it was my experience as his accountant that helped me to get my finances in order after college and purchase my first home at 23 and learn how to create wealth. Still to this day, my brother and I meet regularly to discuss business just as we did back when we would meet at my dad’s office!
If you have children, nieces and nephews, or a younger generation looking up to you, take time to have the “money talk” with them. Teach them about saving for their future, building wealth, student loan management and tackling day-to-day finances. And while my dad and I never had an official “money talk,” there were some things that I observed unknowingly that has continued to help me today.
Remember: your choice, your future!
Kemberley Washington is a professor at Dillard University and CPA. She is the author of The Ten Commandments to a Financial Healing.