Mompreneurs host Nancy Redd welcomes Keshia Knight Pulliam. Many know Pulliam from her years on The Cosby Show as Rudy Huxtable, but that would only be the very beginning of a vibrant and dynamic career for this mompreneur. On this episode, Redd and Pulliam talk about investing, breaking generational habits, putting family first and so much more.
Pulliam might have found stardom young, but she did not come from a Hollywood family or a family of means. She and Redd joke about remembering that their grandparents still used outhouses in Virginia (where the two women grew up).
A job in entertainment was not what Pulliam’s family envisioned for her – not one bit. They wanted their children to have traditional jobs, like being a lawyer or doctor. They were big proponents of government jobs. That’s why Pulliam and Redd call themselves “entertainment immigrants” – they’re first-generation entertainers. They were the first ones who didn’t play it safe.
Pulliam recognizes that she’s had to do a lot of work over the years to deprogram some of the fear-based and lack-based mentality she saw in her parents and grandparents. She had to learn to not be afraid to talk about money, to know that money didn’t have to be linked to miserable work, and to come from a space of abundance.
Lessons For The Next Generation
Being an entrepreneur, for Pulliam, is about something bigger than herself. She wants her daughter to see that there are limitless paths and possibilities for a woman, and that she does not need to choose between being a mother or an entrepreneur.
Pulliam does emphasize that she doesn’t want her daughter to focus on the money aspect, though. She wants her daughter to choose a path based on excitement and passion – not the fear of being broke. And she wants to teach her that being kind and being herself should always come first. Do that and the money will come, says Pulliam. That’s how she personally lives, saying, “Everything I do comes from a space of being divinely inspired to do something that I’m excited about and that I love.”
Reframing how one sees mistakes is also important to Pulliam. She doesn’t want her daughter to be afraid of mistakes, but rather to see them as a chance to learn, grow and be even more prepared for the next opportunity.
Financial Fast Facts
While money is not at the forefront of Pulliam’s motivations, she’s certainly passionate about changing the conversation around it. There are several lessons she wants to pass on to the next generation about money. Keshia Knight Pulliam is clearly a bottomless well of knowledge on this, but here are a few gems she shared with Redd:
- Diversify. By that, she means diversifying investments and income streams.
- Buy life insurance. Pulliam cannot stress enough how valuable buying a life insurance policy – and buying one young – is in building a financial legacy. There is not only the practical (and slightly dreary) element of cashing out that policy in the event of a death. But Pulliam teaches us that some types of life insurance policies can actually be borrowed against, much like a mortgage. So these can even be useful financial assets, even when the policyholder is still alive.
- Commercial real estate is never a bad idea. Pulliam purchased a commercial space thinking she’d use it for her own projects. Then when pregnancy caused a pivot, she leased the space out, so it’s been lucrative – just not in the way originally planned.
- Buy buildings, not bags. When it comes to women spending their money on Birkin bags, Pulliam cannot advise that. She wants to teach women that they are worth more than a bag, and that they should be investing that purse money in something that will appreciate (like commercial real estate).
The Rent We Pay To Live On Earth
One project about which Pulliam is most passionate is her Kamp Kizzy in Atlanta. Pulliam has been running this non-profit camp for over a decade, where she inspires and instructs the next generation of go-getters. Many of her past camp attendees have gone to Fortune 500 companies.
In addition to providing education, the camp will also start providing startup funds for campers. Pulliam says the camp is initiating a scholarship fund through which campers will be rewarded real money based on their performance and camp attendance.
This camp is so important to Pulliam. To explain her dedication to it, she quotes Muhammad Ali: “Giving back is the rent we pay for living here on earth.” And we see Keshia Knight Pulliam paying those rent checks in everything she does.
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