I never really knew the status of my parents finances. They invested in two houses, but one burned down and they had to rebuild it. They hid all of the tragedies that ever happened to our family from me. But all of this time, I always assumed that the way they taught me to live was just the way you needed to live.
Throughout my childhood I had "hand me downs" and clothes from thrift stores. I saw some family members that would give expensive clothes they had never worn to the Salvation Army, and I could never figure out why. As time went on, I went to an amazing private school and sometimes had friends with a lot of money. Being surrounded with that much spending could have been my undoing, except for one thing: I didn't know what credit cards were and I don't touch what I dont know. I had to get a job (the worst job I've had thus far in life) to finance my spending, and it was exactly that because although my mom had taught me invest in the stock market at a VERY early age, I didnt understand the connection between that and my future ability to not need to work for money. My saving grace was that my money was attached to my paycheck.
In my freshman year of college, I really learned to spend spend spend. I am so glad that happened then, because I didnt have credit cards, and I had a small cushion of money that while I overdrafted maybe 10 times over a 2 year period, the lesson wash (FINALLY) learned, and I learned to keep a decent balance and stop spending.
I basically just got a chance to watch some of my friends financially destroy themselves, and it pushed me back from doing the same. I saw college for what it is, just another purchase, and started to be FRUGAL in choosing my school (because I transfered) and setting up my future for jobs and finances.
Transportation was killing me, so I bought a bike. It saves me the time of working out, and I can actually get to work FASTER than on public rail transportation. My new thing is encouraging and working with students my age for mutual benefit. There is no reason we have to be the least financially knowledgable and least fiscally responsible age that has ever lived. My parents came to this country with very little (my mom is from Guyana, and my dad from the US Virgin Islands) but they have taught me that working hard and being frugal, wins you a sweet life, especially when you do what you enjoy. I hope I can learn more over time and teach the same to my future kids.
Salesman: Well, you’re not the only one. Did you know that millions of Americans live with debt they can not control? That’s why I developed this unique new program for managing your debt. [Holds up book] It’s called, “Don’t Buy Stuff You Cannot Afford”