Courtesy of EBONY.com
Like many families across America, the Youngs had holiday traditions. On Christmas Eve, they ate gumbo at Grandmaâ€™s house. On Christmas Day, they opened gifts near the tree. And on the morning after Christmas, they relaxed. That is, until 2001, when Jason Young, then a college sophomore, learned that he had just spent his last holiday in his familyâ€™s Inglewood, Calif., home.
On that Dec. 26, the Youngsâ€™ house, already in foreclosure, was taken from them for good. â€œItâ€™s a surreal experience to have someone knock on your door and ask you to leave immediately,â€ he says. â€œWeâ€™d always struggled with money, but I had no idea we were going to be evicted.â€ The eviction may have ruined a favorite holiday for Young, but it taught him an important lesson about fiscal responsibilityâ€”one that has informed his career since.
After his family lost their home, Young learned that his single mother had accumulated tens of thousands of dollars in credit-card debt in an attempt to save her home; she eventually filed for bankruptcy. â€œIt became clear to me that the math didnâ€™t add up,â€ he says. â€œIâ€™d always been conscientious of money, but the experience made me want to make even better financial decisions. I never wanted to be in that situation again.â€