When I was nine years old, my mom and my dad both got laid off from their jobs. The company my mom worked for, now known as Phillips Magnavox, decided to move all production to Mexico. The company my dad worked for, was loosing money and laying people off.
By the time I was eleven, our trailer had been repossessed, and my parents had filed bankruptcy. We went from a two income household to a zero income household. I didn't understand what was going on, besides the fact that we didn't have any money. Nobody ever tried to explain to me what was going on. Not one person sat me down and tried to explain what it means to be poor, or even the opposite, what it means to create a budget and save money.
Both of my parents searched and searched for jobs, but both of them being in their 50's, could not find anything permanent that made close to the amount of money they were making previously. My mother's previous employer paid for her to attend college, since she didn't have any higher education. She got an associates degree in business. My parents both spent time as substitute teachers.
My dad had jobs off and on. He got a job as a property manager at a storage unit facility. He lost that after 2 or three months.
We moved across town into a low income housing edition. My parents looked for jobs. My dad started working at Carrie Home For Boys on the night shift. After sixth grade, we moved again, into a house that we started renting. We lived all the way through my high school years.
This post is just a short history of being poor. Where am I going with this?
My parents NEVER talked money with me or my siblings. We always found out about things on the downward end. The loan that defaulted on my sister's car that she didn't even know about. The credit card my parents were helping me pay for in college, until one day, they just stopped paying the bill, without telling me. The loan my dad took out on my car without telling me, to fix it's transmission. The endless trips to Walmart, K-Mart, and Meijers that we really didn't have money for, but my parents went anyway.
I'm not trying to rat out my parents, but they didn't teach me anything about money. How to save it. How to spend it. How to not go in debt. I'm not trying to blame them either. I just had to learn for myself how to do these things.
This creates the Cycle of Poverty. My parents never gave me the education I needed to learn about money. Maybe it's the generation they grew up in. They are older, the age of most of my friends grandparents. Did anyone else in my age group grow up with this problem? Or did your parents educate you about the proper ways to earn, save, and spend money?
My sister and I had a talk one day about the ways are parents hid whole money issues from us. The secret loans. The trips to the stores. When they had money, they spent it!
I remember, when my uncle died, he gave my mom a sum of money. They bought a used car, which was needed. Then, they proceeded to drive it across the United States. That trip was to see family, but a lot of money was spent to do it. Maybe the rest of that money is how we were able to afford to move that year.
Now that my parents are older, they don't have the money to live off of. I feel horrible because I can't afford to support them and get them the assistance that's needed for this time in their life.
I had a small trust fund to pay for medicine after my transplant. I was told that to keep my insurance, I had to get rid of it. I bought a used car. This was to be safer driving to and from the hospital, which was a little over an hour drive each way. When it came down to it, my social worker asked where that money was. I explained to her that my parents told me to buy a car with it. She shook her head at me in disapproval. I obeyed what my parents had told me to do.
Now, I'm finally paying off the card I had charged most of my medicine on in college.
The current job I have is actually still paying me and keeping me at poverty level. I keep working at my job, because I enjoy it most of the time, and it provides me with insurance. I stated this before in previous blogs: Because I went to college, I have a lot of debt.
This post isn't to tear down my parents. I apologize if it looks like I'm trying to. I'm just trying to organize the thoughts in my head about my history with money. I want to break away from the poverty cycle that has been created in my family. According to other sources, it can take up to six generations to break that cycle. I don't want to be in that situation. I am only the second generation. I don't want my children to live through some of the experiences I have.
So, I will keep chipping away at my debt. I will get educated about money. I will learn how to teach my children about money.