Making Her Daughter Money Smart

Suleni and Sulma's story of love, learning, and leading by example

(Image: File)

Black Enterprise’s Wealth Principle #7 is “I will ensure that my entire family adheres to sensible money management principles.”

This family’s story is an example we can all learn from.

When entrepreneur, author and mother, Sulma Arzu-Brown and husband Maurice went to the closing of their first home last summer, it was a family affair. They were buying the two-family home from Arzu-Brown’s parents for $315,000.

In addition to the buyers, sellers and broker, someone else was present: The Brown’s 10-year-old daughter, Suleni was there to see the final stages of a financial process she had watched from the start.

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“We were there for about two hours, but she understood that the reason she was there was to give her a preview of what she can accomplish,” says Arzu-Brown.

The Browns also wanted Suleni to experience first-hand their longstanding tradition of passing on generational wealth through real estate.

“We stressed that if she ever wanted our home, she would have to buy it from us. The goal is to position her to do that by her 20s.”

While some parents might shy away from frank financial talk, the Browns believe knowledge is power. “I also want my daughter to learn about managing credit cards and credit scores while she’s young. While in college, I fell victim to that,” says Arzu-Brown. She ran up about $15,000 in debt during college on what she calls “frivolous things” like shopping sprees and social activities.

Arzu-Brown, who makes the bulk of her income as director of events for the New York City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, is author of the children’s book Bad Hair Does Not Exist.

Suleni convinced her mom to make her a business partner. She’s a spokesperson and saleswoman for the book, earning $4 for every book she sells. She’s made a total of $80. When she reaches $200, she will invest $150 in the stock market—choosing companies whose products she uses—and she will use the other $50 to buy more books.

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