2019 Grand Prize Winner

2019 Essay Contest – Grand Prize Winning Essay

The following essay was submitted by Andrew Masucci of Mississauga, ON

Listen to Your Gut

   People would describe me as a pretty easy going guy. Some might say that I am unlike
other kids my age in that I really don’t need $500 running shoes, brand name clothes or
expensive gaming systems. Believe it or not, I don’t even have a social media account. My
recipe for happiness is a fresh book and solitude.

   I pride myself on my financial acumen. I have read some of Warren Buffet’s books on
investing. Buffet said, “Why not invest your assets in the companies you really like?”
Following this advice, I bought some shares in book and publishing companies. So far, I have
seen some pretty impressive return on my investments. To add to my financial responsibility, I
don’t spend my money on things that I don’t need and I wait until things go on sale before I buy
something. No dumb money story to share…yet.

   Enter Rachel. Rachel is my older sister. She is quite the opposite of me. She likes
material things, pardon me, lots of expensive material things. This explains why she is always
looking for ways to make extra money. We do however have one thing in common; we both
have an entrepreneurial spirit. I think it’s in our blood.

   Little did I know that when Rachel entered my room two years ago that my perfect
financial record would fall victim to one of her get rich quick ideas. As soon as she walked into
my room, she got straight to business. She asked me if I wanted to make some quick money
without having to lift a finger. If my gut could talk, it would have said, “Andrew, don’t even
think about it! Also, you forgot to take your probiotics today.” Lesson number one: ‘Listen to
your gut’. I put the book up higher around my face and mumbled. “No thanks.” Rachel was
persistent and said that all I had to do was give her some money as an investment and she would
handle the rest. She pushed my book down and looked me straight into my eyes and begged me
to trust her. Now, I love my sister, but over the years she has had some pretty crazy money
making schemes, most of which have ended with a great story to tell and zero profits. So, when
she came to me that day, I knew enough to not even entertain her proposition. Rachel, ever the
businesswoman, would not take no for an answer and promised me that if I invested $300, it
would be doubled by the end of the summer. Fortunately for Rachel, I was three pages away
from finishing Charles Dickens’ classic novel, David Copperfield. She caught me at my most
vulnerable state. It should be illegal for people to interrupt someone while they are indulging in
the last few pages of a book. I was faced with a major dilemma; put the masterpiece down and
explain rationally to Rachel why I wouldn’t invest my hard-earned cash on Rachel’s hair-brained
money making scheme, or just fork over the $300, having faith that our shared DNA would
prevail and by some miracle provide a return on investment.

   Turns out I like reading a lot more than I like my money because as you can probably
surmise, I caved. Lesson number two, ‘Never make financial decisions unless you are
completely focused.’

   I reluctantly went into my Maple Leafs Zamboni piggy bank and forked over enough
crumpled twenties and fifties to make her go away. I didn’t count it twice, so really it could have
been more than $300, but I just wanted her to go away and I wanted to finish those last few
pages. Lesson number three: ‘Count your money twice.’

   After I finished the book, the reality set in that I went against Buffet’s advice. Not only
did I not invest in something I like, I did not even know what I invested in. Unenthusiastically, I
went into Rachel’s bedroom to find out how we were going to become ‘rich’ over the summer.
Turns out, I was a silent partner in Rachel’s new bath bomb business, ‘Cherry Bomb’. I
immediately felt my heart sink. I realized at that moment that I had made a huge mistake. How
did she expect to compete with companies that have already cornered the market? Apparently,
she had not thought that through.

   It was too late. Rachel had already placed her online order for the ingredients to make
her first batch of bath bombs; $65.00 worth of citric acid, $45.00 worth of essential oils, $15.00
worth of sparkles, $10.00 worth of baking soda, $60.00 worth of Epsom salt, and $30.00 worth
of special moulds. I became physically ill when I realized how many books I could have bought
with that money. Just wait, it gets better. I learned that she had enrolled herself in a bath bomb
making course that cost $88.00. Regrettably, Rachel did not realize that she had to attend an art
exhibition on the day that the course was scheduled and could not attend. As luck would have it,
the course was non-refundable, but it was transferable. Guess who is now an expert on making
bath bombs? You guessed it, me! Before I knew it, I was sitting in a room of twenty teenaged
girls with their moms learning how to make bath bombs. Lesson number four; ‘Adding
buttermilk to bath bombs makes your skin super smooth.’

   The rest of the summer flew by. As a person of determination, I made 189 bath bombs
for Rachel to sell and used up all of the ingredients that my seed money had bought. Long story
short, Rachel didn’t make the effort to sell the bath bombs. But on the bright side, my closet
smells like unicorns and rainbows and my skin is softer than a baby’s butt.

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