Around this time every year, many people have money on their minds. With another April 15th nipping at their heels, those people who owe taxes are dreading the inevitable day of reckoning with Uncle Sam. And I would venture to guess that those citizens getting refunds have eagerly filed their taxes already and long ago spent their windfalls.
I know I have.
We spend so much of our lives focused on money—working for it, spending it, stressing over it, fighting about it … and wishing we had more of it.
It is that human desire to want more money without working too hard for it that has been a great boon to the Indian gaming industry, and one from which many Natives are benefitting, including me.
Gambling is big business because it promises an easy way to get rich quick. The first time I ever played blackjack, I won $120—snap!—just like that. To a 21-year-old college student, that was a fortune, and it planted the tiniest seed in my subconscious that gambling could be the answer to my cash-flow problems down the road.
Trust me, I considered that profession a few times when I was down on my luck after falling victim to the Great Recession of 2008. Instead, I took a gamble of another kind and started my own brick-and-mortar business, a gourmet cupcake shop. It was, by far, the hardest work I have ever done in my life.
While the profits didn’t roll in as I had envisioned, and I eventually had to close the business, I am proud to say that at least I was able to employ nine people during a time when jobs were hard to come by—and I landed Nordstrom as a client!
The greatest reward from this entrepreneurial venture, however, has yet to see its payday: the work ethic that I modeled for my daughters. They saw, firsthand, how hard their mother toiled to bring her dream to life, and I can only hope that my tenacity had a lasting impression on them.
In case they missed that lesson, we continue to talk about life goals and how important it is to work hard, even when you feel beaten down. I have taught them that the quickest way to success is to go to college, study madly, get a job, develop their talents and believe that they are capable of achieving anything they put their minds—and a little elbow grease—to.
This mom-knows-best-approach to parenting seems to be working. My oldest daughter is hell-bent on getting into nursing school by June. And my youngest daughter is already an award-winning video editor who has invited me to walk with her down the Red Carpet someday.
Above all else, I have counseled my daughters that they MUST save 10 percent of everything they make—something this single mom wishes she had done a lot more of.
Because making a husband your retirement plan is a risky investment. Choose, instead, to bank on yourself and your own potential, and your wildest dreams will likely come true.
Lynn Armitage is a contributing writer and enrolled member of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, who still holds out hope of winning the Lottery someday.