A $100 Bill Just In Case

Whenever I’ve made a big move in my life, Moms has always had my back. More specifically, she had my back with a $100 bill.

Whether it was that time I packed up and studied abroad in Spain; that time I moved to Miami; that other time I moved to New York City; of course, that one time I went to work in Stockholm; or those couple of I’ve times I’ve driven across the country…more times than not, my mother has always given me a me a $100 bill “just in case.”

Those $100 bills have come in handy more than once.

I well remember during my first stint in Los Angeles in 2005 when my bank account receipt read $13.11 (I looked at it twice attempting to convince it to be $130.11 to no avail). Or that time in Portugal when my credit card was declined at the bus station and I had to find my way back to Spain. And, I’ll never forget that first year in NYC when I got stuck with a $165 restaurant tab and had to handover my $100 bill (I negotiated the other $65. Long story for another post).

What’s interesting, is that over the years, I’ve tended to forget that the $100 was folded in my wallet. But, because it was there, subconsciously, I walked with a confidence knowing that “just in case” I needed support, I was good to go.

For me, the $100 bill was about more than money. It was a metaphor for being prepared.

Your $100 bill could be the education you received. Or, it could be the informational interviews that you’ve conducted to learn more about others and their experience. For some, their $100 bill could be the people they spend time with who encourage them and make them better. Or, your $100 bill could be the passion project you work on until the wee hours of the morning after a long day at the office.

A few years ago when I made the move from New York City to Los Angeles (for a second time), my mother gave me another $100. I smiled and told her that I didn’t need it. Her son was doing just fine. But she insisted and I accepted it.

I forgot about that $100 bill until recently. I was removing some receipts from my wallet and it fell out. I had to smile because it felt great not to need it. It felt even better to have it (Thanks Mom).

What is your $100 bill?

(Note: Where I’m from, $100 is a big deal as it should be. I will never take that for granted. I’m the loving byproduct of reduced lunch, subsidized housing and the love of an incredible mother.)

Antonio Neves is a nationally recognized college leadership speaker, millennial workplace expert and award-winning journalist. He’s the author of 50 Things Every College Student Should Know. @TheAntonioNeves