A CHANCE MEETING WITH A STRANGER CAN SOMETIMES PUT THINGS INTO PERSPECTIVE FOR YOU
Breaking the poverty chain seems like an easy thing to do especially if you’ve lived a life where money hasn’t been a stressful event for your family. You also don’t have to live in the hood to be part of the poverty chain even though there is a stigma attached to such neighbourhoods.
It’s not just moms and dads collecting money from the government but also for those people who can’t seem to get ahead no matter what they do. Are they doing something wrong? Possibly, yes.
There are plenty of families who have a dual-income that simply can’t manage their money which leave them struggling month after month. There is a face for poverty and then there is a hidden face for poverty that can weigh heavily on the shoulders of every family member, especially the kids.
While I was making a tea at work there was a guy I had never seen before at the lunch table reading the Toronto Star and having a bite to eat. Out of the blue he says, “I don’t understand why people complain about price increases” to which I replied, “Are you talking to me?”
Turns out he was talking to me or anyone who was in the room that would listen. I finished steeping my tea bag and added a splash of milk before I took a seat across from this guy. I’m guessing he had his finances in order as he was a bit vocal about his views on people who can’t make ends meet. I was only speculating based on what he had said in hopes that someone would hear him so he could validate his reasoning. In other words, he wanted someone to talk to.
Luckily I wasn’t due back at work for an hour because this guy would not stop talking which was unusual as I’m always that guy. I learned a few things from him especially about coming from a low-income family and how he was able to break the poverty chain.
When I asked him what he was going on about and he said that he was tired of reading about price increases and listening to people complain about paying the bills without doing anything about it. Spend less, work more or find new ways to make extra money he mumbled under his breathe. He went on to say that he’s lived the life of poverty and decided that it wasn’t for him.
The face of poverty
Growing up Stanley (name has been changed) lived in a run-down apartment with his mom and dad although he said his dad was hardly there as his parents had a rocky relationship. His father did not work because he was too busy looking for money to buy the next pack of smokes or case of beer. There were hardly any smiles coming from his dad nor did he want to hang out with Stanley much.
Stanley’s mother was a stay at home mom who collected welfare so they rented a small apartment with hardly any furniture. Over the years they managed to buy bits here and there and were given stuff for free. His mother was frugal and loved numbers but only because she had no choice (or so it seemed).
There were hardly any trips to the dentist because they couldn’t afford it and buying anything new was out of the question. Weekly trips on the bus to the food bank meant that there was no going to the grocery store. This was not unusual for his mother as she grew up the in poverty as well.
Almost all of her friends were other mothers who were on welfare and stay at home to watch the kids and lived in the same housing complex. She had no one to guide her financially and frankly being poor can really wear someone down like he could see in his mother’s eyes.
I could almost feel the painful energy coming from him across the table as he was reliving his past. There was too much thinking about what she could have been instead of finding a way to make it happen, he said with his eyes looking out the window.
If you asked her anything about savings she would tell you she had none but that it was important to save. To Stanley she didn’t seem the best with the money she had and frankly he didn’t want to learn finance from her.
Some of Stanley’s friends lived in modern homes and when he went to visit them after school he felt like he was in a different world. This was a world he wanted and dreamed of. His father was a lost cause and he knew there was NO way that he wanted to grow up in the same financially stricken environment nor bring a family up in one.
The poverty chain was starting to break…
He left home to go to University to which he funded that with scholarships and working as much as he could in between school and during the summer. Stanley saved his money and only bought what he needed to get by. This seems a common scenario among many students who can’t get funding or just don’t care for any debt after graduation.
Stanley studied finance and started working for a firm after graduation where he earned a generous income. He was able to live a lifestyle he had never lived before just like some of his friends did growing up. Buying the cars, nice house and going on trips were on the table waiting for him but he declined. This was a guy who grew up wearing the same clothes for a couple of days, slim pickings in the kitchen and parents who weren’t interested in going to work.
Over the years Stanley bought a mid-sized house which he still lives in today with his wife and young daughter. They are debt free including the mortgage and save their money aggressively by living a frugal lifestyle. Recently they followed Scott McGillivary from HGTV, a well-known young Canadian real estate investor whose net worth toppled 4 million dollars in 2012.
They were hoping to rent out the basement as an apartment and to see if the rental game was in his blood. Stanley knows what financial direction he wants to take and says he’s able to retire early but chooses not to since he’s only in his 40’s. His wife is still working full-time as a nurse and his daughter goes to school.
Related: How to retire early
I didn’t dig too deep into his situation (you know me, all ears) but what he said to me about his financial success was intriguing. He told me that had he listened or followed his parents that he may not have broken the poverty chain. In a way I’m sure most kids don’t want to follow in those footsteps but forced to due to circumstances. The good thing is that things chance and things can get better if you want them to.
Stanley didn’t want to worry about money and he wanted an education so he had skills to start a career. He did all that and more. These days he says he adds a bit of finance into the conversations with his daughter so she learns slowly about money. He also continues to budget and when his mom comes to visit her eyes light up when he looks at her and he knows she is very proud of him.
Many people believe it’s the parents job to teach their children about finance however if your parents can’t even get their own money under control how will they teach you? That makes sense to me although everything is situation based and Stanley felt the same way.
This is another reason so many people are fighting to get the education system to include finance as a course for the next generations of children. If we can make sure that they understand the basics of finances before leaving school we may have a better chance of breaking the poverty chain for many people. These kids are the faces of the future.
This may mean fewer people relying on government funds and more people staying away from bankruptcy and struggling from day-to-day for money. Education can mean so much especially to a child who wants to learn like Stanley wanted to. The earlier a child starts saving money the harder that money will work for them.
Hiding behind the face of poverty
The poverty chain doesn’t just strike people who live in low-income housing on welfare or other government assistance. I’m talking about all parents even those who hide behind the face of poverty. These are people who seem well-off but behind those smiles is the hidden face of poverty. Financial worry comes over them just as much as the next person but they hide it well.
If you want the best for your child and you know deep down that you can’t manage money please don’t try and teach them until you understand how to. This might mean that you attend a financial training course, talk to a bank or read as much as you can online about money management. Just because you know what to do doesn’t mean you can do it. Challenge yourself, create a budget, set goals and find your way before you try to help light the way of others who look up to you for guidance.
I asked Stanley what the most important parts of his financial journey has been so far and he said;
- Believe in yourself
- Never give up trying
- Love yourself
Mrs. CBB caught up with a friend of hers who works for the federal government and her husband works full-time in a processing plant. They appear well-off through the eyes of social media, but that’s far from the truth. They live with their in-laws because they can’t afford to purchase a house as they approach their mid 40’s and have plenty of debt.
Without the in-laws they would struggle to find a place to live and pay off their debt which is why they continue to stay. Moving is not an option as her husband wants to be near the family. Wait a minute? Debt…where did that come from? Bad financial decisions and job loss put them into debt and they’ve been there for years trying to catch up with their masks on. Their financial future seems tied to the in-laws house unless they can pay off their debt and venture out on their own.
Believe in yourself
Before Stanley left the lunch room I stopped him to ask one more question. “So, what ever happened to your mom?” to which he replied, “She’s a retired bank manager”. His mother returned to school because Stanley believed in her and knew she could do it.
She took the leap because someone was there to motivate her which is why it’s important for me to share my knowledge of personal finance with all of you. She later found a job in a bank where she was promoted to bank manager and eventually retired two years ago.
As for his father, I don’t know where he ended up.
What a lovely ending to a story from a guy that just wanted someone to talk to about increasing prices yet ended up sharing his success story about breaking the poverty chain. There is hope for everyone, never give up.
Did you take financial advice from your parents and should you have?
My week in review
I had a relatively quiet week with the family after the holidays which was nice. We didn’t go away for Christmas as long as normally do and this year we went just after Boxing Day to celebrate. The great thing about this idea was that we got to celebrate Christmas as a family in our own home first.
We’ve decided that we might do this every year as gifts are much cheaper to buy and it’s less stress on everyone. We had a great time and our son finally figured out what presents were. Almost all of his gifts came from the Good Will, Value Village or the Dollar Store and he loved them all.
We’ve been purging the house the last few days and I finally managed to get our sons bed set up and the crib taken down. Mrs. CBB has given away lots of items for free to her mommy friends and I know that we have much more to get rid of. It has been a nice feeling stripping the house of “stuff” considering when we moved in all we had were our clothes and very few items.
This year on the blog our main focus will be saving money, retirement savings and minimizing the stuff in our house and our lifestyle. More on these topics on upcoming posts. If you’ve adopted a minimalist lifestyle and want to share your story with me please message me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
That’s all for this week friends,
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Making a difference (MAD) 2017
Welcome to the 2017 Making A Difference series! Join the networking movement of Personal Finance Bloggers around the world. If you are a personal finance blogger and would like your blog to be featured simply drop me an email.
I’m currently booking for January/February 2017.
Today lets welcome Kyle from the personal finance blog, Dollar Diligence.
Hello CBB fans and readers! I’m Kyle, a personal finance blogger focused on being intentional with your money! I recently started my blog dollardiligence.com in order to share my experience with others in hopes of motivating them and myself to be purposeful with their dollars and their lives.
I’m a full-time high school teacher and coach. After doing the normal things throughout my teens and 20s, I found myself with over $30,000 in student loan debt nearing the age of 30. I looked up and thought to myself, “I’m nearly 30 years old, this isn’t how it’s supposed to be, why am I not getting ahead?” The answer was simple: I was not being intentional with my money.
Diligence is defined as: careful and persistent work or effort. Financial freedom does not just happen. You don’t magically wake up one day with a college degree, good job, and no debt. You have to have a plan. You must be diligent with your dollars.
My goal on the blog is to share how I finally had my epiphany moment, and use my far too normal experiences to motivate others that they too can do the same. I pulled up my bootstraps and got on a financial plan that has changed my life. Within 18 months I paid of my debt, and now I’m on my way to planning my financial future. This future includes an upcoming wedding, home purchase, and far too normal life changes that also can cause havoc on your finances if you are not diligent.
It’s an honor to be on CBB and I invite you to stop by my blog and share your experiences with student loans, side hustles, and being intentional with your money! Thank you!
Weekly fan bag brag
If your story gets featured you get two ballots in the yearly draw for a PC Financial Gift Card and at least one ballot for emailing me your entry. Either way, you get a ballot in the draw.
I always like to hear about the after Christmas sales that you all find and Jen sent me one that I thought topped the list. Just have a look at what she picked up for under $20. Awesome score Jen.
Here are some clearance deals I picked up today at RCSS:
Each product reduced to $2.44.
- 6 electric toothbrushes
- 3 regular toothbrushes
- 10 tubes of toothpaste
I managed to scoop all of this up for only $19.30 including tax!! (Expiry dates are 2018 and 2019).
These gift packs retailed for over $10 each because Christmas.
CBB Finance Tip
Top finance post
I read lots of finance posts from all over the world every week and I learn something new from each one of them. This week I stopped by the personal finance blog, Frugal Fringe written by A. Noonan Moose where he talks about how we are pushers of frugality. I thought it was interesting how he shares his utility usage and how they managed to lower their bills.
We did some things similar although we have the geezer freezer to get rid of still. I’ll likely get it hauled out for free to so we can buy something a bit more efficient. I already know it’s draining lots of electricity every month since taking a reading years ago.
Top frugal recipe
Food is a big part of any budget and a struggle for so many people which is why I’ve created frugal recipes for my family and yours for many years.
I have a second Facebook page called The Free Recipe Depot where I exclusively share recipes from Food Bloggers around the world. Check out the Free Recipe Index on CBB compiled of frugal recipes that are 100% tested and accepted by family and friends!
This week I stopped by the Cooktoria Blog run by Tania to check out her Vegetarian Mushroom Meatballs. With prices on the rise more people are turning to vegetarian meals and this looks delicious. I can’t wait to try it since Mrs. CBB and I both love mushrooms and don’t mind meatless meals a few times each week.
Top money-saving DIY
Women are going mad for the choker trend but it can get a bit costly depending on the types of choker you’re looking for. I found this wonderful post at Women Triangle with 14 DIY Choker Necklace tutorials for Mrs. CBB to make her own for a fraction of the price of what you would pay for them at a jeweler or mall shop.
Search term giggles
Always begin and end your day with a SMILE!- Mr.CBB
Every week I get thousands of people visit Canadian Budget Binder because they did a search online and found my blog.
Most times funny, Sometimes serious.
- Cost of a home pregnancy test– Less than the cost of having a child and more than the cost of a condom. If you’re frugal like we are go to the Dollar Plus Store and pick one up for $1.25. Yes Dollar Store pregnancy tests work!
- How does my mom know all of my bank transactions– She has magical powers like every other mom. Possibly she might have access to your bank account and can monitor your expenses. Talk to your bank if you are of age and would like that removed.
- How to get the best deal from Rogers Wireless– Tell the agent you’ll bake him/her a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies. Asking sounds like a good start. There is no magical way to talk to someone when getting a deal apart from being polite and honest about what you want.
- The Weekend die for you– No, No don’t die all I want is to go out for dinner and drinks. OH… perhaps you were looking for The Weeknd Die For You song. Ah… in that case great choice.
- EDIBLE free budget binder– Hey, if you want to eat your budget feel free but if you’re looking for a budget you can EDIT than I have a budget for you on CBB that you can download for FREE. No eating required. How’s that for a deal?
That’s all the fun for this week, thanks for dropping by and we’ll see ya all again next Saturday!
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