Families are forever, like it or not. When it comes to money, families are really forever. Money in families starts at a very early age. Your family either has money or does not have money. It is that simple. Or is it?
As the oldest child of three girls, I learned from a very early age from my mother that we did not have money. We always had food to eat although my mother was not a good cook. That is a fact. Because of that fact, I ate very little and remained underweight until my adulthood when I learned to cook. We rarely ate out unless it was the little Chinese restaurant in Cleveland’s Chinatown. Plenty of food and cheap. I also learned that I had no style because I went to Catholic school for nine years–uniforms. The cheapest way to go! High school I learned to sew to start making my own clothes so that I had my style. This goes on and on. But there was no money until…
After my wedding, which my parents paid only for the actual reception with much begrudging because I chose not to have it in the Amvets Hall, I returned from my honeymoon to find they were renovating the house. But there was no money.
My middle sister got married a year after I did, and I really do not know what her perception at home with money was. She went to school for a year, went to work, and got married. She got divorced a year after I did as well. So we were both single parents…that is its own story!
My youngest sister by 12 years married at 18 and is the only one still married. She is still financially secure because of that as well. She worked all through their marriage and built a career for herself.
We all react differently to the messages our parents send us about money and life. I was the rebellious good girl…did what was right but totally disagreed with the parenting in our household. I married a young man at the time whose parents always took care of him financially. They made sure he was ok but still taught him a work ethic.
What we become as adults with money is a hodge podge which we then have to discern if it is right or wrong for us. And then there are the life situations that come to us: returning to school to achieve our degree, infertility issues, an adoption, health issues with children, a divorce, poverty, job changes, career choices go amuck…and more and more!
Hopefully, I was able to communicate my money values to my children. I am not sure about that! But I do know one thing, no matter how little or much money I have in comparison to my immediate family, I am happy. I am not sure my sisters are. There is an air of desperation with one, and there is an air of “settling” with the second. This is not judgmental; it is my feeling. I am happy. My life is not perfect, but I am happy. I have my own business still growing. I live in the town that I have intentioned to live in for years, I am surrounded by positive energy because I give out positive energy to family, friends, business associates, and perfect strangers. I am relatively healthy because I work at that every day. I am highly spiritually directed, and I am in the process of growing a spiritual practice in my town. I am calm, I am quiet, I not share my total life with my sisters. We are good together socially, but we are not close. You see, we never talked about money in our family, and we still don’t. That is one of many subjects that we did not “need to know.” So we don’t know each other well, and we never will. That is what family can be, and that is what family and money can be. In the words of Simon and Garfunkel…”teach your children well…” Talk about money!