We live in a world where knowledge is power. The truth, however, is the power of applied knowledge.
This series is one of the missions of Sunshine Smith-Williams, an entrepreneur, philanthropist and community activist. As a financial educator, the epidemic has postponed the implementation of the NC School District’s wealth education curriculum. Attempts to continue with zoom sessions failed due to a series of communication problems. Students are given the opportunity to learn at their own pace and receive a certificate upon completion of the course. We recently met with Sunshine to discuss financial literature, advocacy and how to equip our communities for wealth.
Tell us about your newly launched youth academy?
Yes, we started on August 1, 2021. I could not believe that more than 1,500 people were registered. I didn’t want the academy to offer courses only for young people, so we expanded the courses to anyone who wanted to study finance.
We have courses such as cryptocurrency, commodity and transaction understanding. I created that course because I made millions of real estate before the fall of 2008 and I didn’t think investing in bitcoin would be very profitable. From digital investments, my wallet is worth more than $ 4 million. How do I store this life-changing information? I grew up in strong projects, and although my physical body was there, my mind longed for more. Therefore, I refuse to retain any information that may change a person’s income or outcome. According to statistics, the more resources there are, the less crime there is.
In addition, in some cases, as I said, there is a lack of capital and business owners struggle in their first year. Prior to SBA loans, my finance company provided services on how to set up a business loan. It is now an independent course through my online academy. Other courses include learning how to protect your personal information from the dark web, and from websites that share your information. At the height of identity theft, I felt that the right thing to do was right. For many who are looking for more skills, we have added how to start your own credit repair business.
In our younger generation, they spend a lot of time, energy, and resources. Can you share more because it drives this interest?
I often tell people, “Be the person you want to be when you are young.” The person I wanted as a teenager was a money teacher, who taught me how to make money, how to invest, manage, and save. How to use credit and how to balance checkbooks. I always wanted to, but if I didn’t know how to manage it or invest in it, I would ask myself what the benefits are in terms of wasting money. My desire is always my goal. My drive is for others to feel financially secure, to feel free to take responsibility for their own lives, and to have the opportunity to improve, grow and become more capable.
As a successful boss, you inspire people of all ages, especially our young girls – in what ways do you use your influence to send positive messages?
I tell them a lot (and women in general), I don’t understand so you don’t need them. My life went from bush to fortune but in the process I endured a lot of pain. I even lost my freedom. Untreated pain turns into trauma but becomes healing. Don’t let your past tell you. Establish a set of values. Be humble. Read. Think before you act. What you do not respect, what you do not deserve, and ultimately, your dreams and goals are connected to your purpose and your desires are related to what pleases you.
You also work hard to bring our culture to financial knowledge, understanding, education – what are you and your spouse’s philosophy and strategy on wealth building?
Our philosophy and strategy in resource building is to invest, manage, borrow and protect. But in South Jamaica, Queens, New York, my strategy is a different approach. The key in our communities is to hire children from the community if you are not a black-owned business. I have often seen that other races do not hire children from the community. Not on my watch! If they do not hire a child from the community, their business will fail because no one will support them. They are hiring the young man from a neighbor and giving him back. Business owners are responsible. Leaving our community without returning is unfair and unbearable for community leaders like me.
You are buying land for your child – that is amazing. Talk about training our children now so that they have the right mindset and experience to accept the legacy of management and administration.
Yes! Buy land, they are not working harder. Trust bought land for my son. It is important that you make these decisions as you multiply your children’s portfolio and keep all assets under trust.
By learning about financial risks, children are better able to avoid future debt and losses. They may be more inclined to plan for future events, such as saving for rainy days, investing in home ownership, land or pension.
How can others help some to join your advocacy initiative?
For homeless shelters, visit www.slrllc.org
For a young advocate, visit www.sunshinesmithwilliams.com
Follow Instagram pages for information on community advocacy @investing_in_us @sunnymoneyqueens