You Either Rap or Go to the League


Eleanor Roosevelt once said “Life is what you make it. Always has been, always will be.” When I look back on my life and see how far I have come, I can’t help but reflect on what it took to get me here. I started my life in the early 90s living in Harlem with my parents. One was an NYPD officer in our neighborhood, the other an MTA bus driver and pastor.

As a young black man coming from my social economic background and neighborhood, it was said that I would not live to see 25. However, my parents worked diligently to make sure that was not my reality. By the end of the 90s, my parents were able to move us to Mount Vernon to try and provide us with a better life and more opportunities. Mount Vernon at the time was not the best place, but it was better than still living in the Polo Grounds. However, some of the things we were looking to escape such as drugs and gang violence were still prevalent.

As a child, I always hung out with older kids, because I felt they were more my speed. My mom always told me that I had an old soul and had the gift of gab. The thing about being around older kids is that you are exposed to things earlier than you might have been. Looking back at it I was exposed to many things that could get a young man caught up.

The reality is growing up in my neighborhood, many people felt that there was no way out. Cursed to repeat the cycle, and if they could get out, it was by either rapping or going to the league. Even I fell victim to a similar mindset. If you had asked me what I was going to do, I would have told you that I was going to play pro ball, have a hall-of-fame career, then go into business like Magic Johnson. I never even thought of school itself as the way I could make something of myself.

As I got older, I began to look around and see how people were living, never getting ahead and looking at social security as a retirement plan. I just knew that could not be my life, I wanted more out of life. I knew that no one would ever outwork me and if I wanted something, I would have to make it happen for myself.

Now as I write this as the first college graduate in my family, and navigating my career as a financial planner. I believe I can say that I made that I’ve made that little boy proud and I plan to continue to do that. I want kids and young adults to know that there is always an out and if I can do it so can you. Oh, and for the statistic that I would not make it to 25, well jokes on you because I’m still here and thriving! I will never be a statistic.

I hope you take this journey with me as I look to make my mark on the profession.


We would be happy to schedule a time to discuss how we can help you and your family empower the next generation.  Feel free to schedule a 30 Minute Zoom Meeting for us to discuss this.

This article represents the opinion of Mitlin Financial Inc. It should not be construed as providing investment, legal and/or tax advice. Investing involves risk, including possible loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss. To determine what may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor.

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