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“Jesus take the wheel! Someone please tell me how, and why, I got myself into this.”

These are the exact words that raced through my mind as I sat in my cost accounting class.

I graduated high school in 2002 with college on my mind, however, I had no idea what I wanted to do. One thing I did know was, after a two-day stint as a cashier at McDonald’s, I had to do something else, as fast food was not for me. (I’m in no way knocking fast food employees.)

I decided I was going to break the cycle, by being the first person in my family to graduate from college. I wanted to make my parents proud. I mean, after all, they’d sacrificed tooth and nail to make a better life for their children.

During the summer of 2002, I got a call from an advisor at the college. “So, what do you like doing? What do you see yourself doing in the future? What was your favorite subject in school?”

I replied, “Well, as a kid, after watching Angela Bassett in ‘How Stella Got Her Groove Back’, I thought about becoming a stock broker. I’ve always had a passion for business, and of course math is my favorite subject.”

So, she suggested I do accounting. To be quite honest, at the time I was 18 years old and had no clue what accounting was. My family never had a need for an accountant, but my response was “let's do it,” as if the advisor was going on this journey with me.

Fast forward to now, 18 years later. It's so clear to me why God steered me in this direction. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a great career in public accounting that spans across any industry that you can think of. I’ve worked with exceptionally high net worth individuals and what has always lingered in my mind is how these people create and build wealth. Like the wealth that Beyoncé sings about. This is something that many of us, coming from less fortunate families, can’t afford to pause long enough to even begin to put into perspective. Sad, but true!

Before we can think about building wealth, we must know the basics: