Here's to mothers everywhere
Allworth Co-CEO Scott Hanson shares a special message for moms ahead of Mother's Day.
“Motherhood is the biggest gamble in the world. It is the glorious life force. It’s huge and scary – it’s an act of infinite optimism.” - Gilda Radner
Describing a mother’s role almost always elicits an emotional response.
Moms, most of us agree, deserve the best.
I know of hyper-articulate people who will only stretch those proud vocabularies when the opportunity presents itself for them to praise their mothers.
Now, to be sure, I understand that not everyone reading this has, or even ever once had, a perfect, or even a reliable, mom.
Not all people are fortunate in that way.
But be that as it may, to celebrate this Mother’s Day (and to celebrate you, if you are a mom), after navigating a full year of quarantine, a year when visiting our families wasn’t always possible, I’d like to depart from my usual article to take a moment to celebrate mothers ahead of next week’s big day.
With that in mind, out of the hundreds of millions of bread-winning, psyche-healing, Band-Aid applying and supportive moms who’ve walked the earth, here is a brief account of three who made history.
Abigail Adams 1744-1818
Abigail Adams was not only a wife, a confidante, and a trusted political advisor and social conscience to the second President of the United States, John Adams, she was also mother to the sixth President of the United States, John Quincy Adams.
Over the last two decades, Abigail Adams’ reputation has grown due to the publication of additional historical records – along with a 2008 docuseries produced by Tom Hanks – and so she has rightfully become recognized by millions as a person who was far ahead of her time.
Abigail Adams was not only a tough negotiator and political strategist, the mother of six kept her family together throughout the endless uncertainty and danger of the Revolutionary War. Abigail’s investment, business, and financial acumen saved the Adams family from ruin on more than one occasion. Case in point, one of her most shrewd, and dangerous, investments was to unilaterally place nearly all the family assets in war bonds in support of the Continental Army. Had the Continental Army lost the war for independence, which, for much of that time seemed a forgone conclusion, the Adams would not only have lost all their wealth, they may well have been hanged as traitors to the throne.
Instead, that bold bond investment in the concept of America quadrupled the family’s money.
Even back in the 1700s, Adams, in an era when women were not only prohibited from owning property, but were not allowed to vote, refused to refer to herself as anything less than the owner of the family farm. And that farm was no plantation. Of the first 12 presidents of the United States, her husband, John, and their son, John Quincy, were the only two who never owned slaves.
Hetty Green 1834-1916
Named by the Guinness Book of World Records as the “greatest miser” of the Gilded Age, Hetty Green, the mother of three children, and the richest woman of her era, died in 1916 with a net worth of well over $100 million in cash (that’s $2.4 billion in today’s dollars).
At the mere age of six, Green became fascinated with the financial newspapers of the day, and, as a precursor to what she would eventually become, by the tender age of 10 she’d already begun keeping complicated ledgers for the businesses of family and friends.
Green’s first big financial success occurred when, as a teenager, she sold her entire modest wardrobe (purchased by her parents to help her find a husband) to buy bonds, which she then rolled over into real estate investments. Later, she became famous in the New York tabloids for her penny pinching ways. Long after she became undeniably wealthy, she still typically refused to own more than a single dress, and even famously refused to allow “costly” hot water to be pumped into her apartment, even during the winter.
Hetty Green was known to exhaustively study every possible aspect of each investment. She is still known today as one of the very first financial experts to exclusively adhere to a “buy low, sell high” strategy, wherein she focused her attention entirely on speculative investments that few others would dare touch.
Maggie Lena Walker 1864-1934
120 years ago, mother of three, Maggie Lena Walker, a businesswoman and teacher, became the first black woman in the history of the United States to found and own a bank (the Penny Savings Bank in Richmond, Virginia). As founder and president of this first-of-its-kind enterprise, she eventually rose to manage the lifesavings of some 50,000 people.
Born to slaves in Richmond, Virginia, at the end of the Civil War, even before she got into banking, as the owner of, first, a brick factory, and later, an insurance company, Walker was known for her kindness, her tireless work ethic, and her penchant for volunteerism.
Today, Maggie Lena Walker is credited with helping thousands of Virginians make pioneering economic progress, while also opening the doors for thousands of women to enter the male-dominated fields of banking and finance.
Mother’s Day 2021
“A mother’s hug lasts long after she lets go.” - Unknown
Due to COVID, Mother’s Day 2021 is eerily similar and yet also unlike Mother’s Day 2020.
Obviously, throughout the last year, the pandemic kept most of us distant from our older loved ones. But now, depending on where you live, with vaccination rates reaching critical mass, millions of people have either recently seen (or will soon see) their mothers for the first time in a while.
Looking back, whether your mom scraped together the money to buy you a prom dress, a baseball mitt, an electric guitar, a bicycle, a winter coat, or even a car. Whether she always answered your call on the first ring, packed your lunch every day, or attended each possible game, meet, event, or concert you played. Whether she went toe-to-toe against the neighborhood bully, or the school gossip. Whether she was the confessor who absolved you of misstep, or the velvet hammer of discipline. Whatever role she undertook, for many people, so much of the good that came both during and after childhood, was only possible because she had been there.
So, with that in mind, to all moms, be they here in flesh, or here in spirit, from everyone here at Allworth, I want to wish you an early Happy Mother’s Day.