Growing up in a low-income household can steal your money mindset so much that when you earn a good salary you struggle to put your guard down.
I feel this pain at times.
According to Stats Canada, a low-income household after 1992 with 2 people living in a community with a population of 30,000 to 99,999 is $26,577 after-tax dollars.
Other low-income cut-offs for 2 persons based on the community size and family size of 2;
- Rural Areas $16,718
- Under 30,000 population $19,133
- Population 100,000 to 499,999 $21,612
- Over 500,000 Population $25,555
Low-Income Household Saving
Canadians as a whole have to do better when it comes to creating less debt and saving money for the things we need.
As our son walked home from school we realized that his boots had a crack at the bottom and his socks were getting wet.
He was walking on his tip-toes and wasn’t telling us why until we asked him and he replied, “the boots are broken”.
It was then I had flashbacks of my parents buying me shoes from the second-hand shop that were not fit for my feet.
My parents lived off one-income and often times took being cheap to the next level, especially with my shoes.
I remember how awkward it was that my shoes were either a bit too loose, tight or didn’t last long at all.
My feet paid the price for these small savings and now I use orthotics to fix my problem.
It was then I turned to Mrs. CBB and said, I don’t want our son to go through what I did as it negatively affected me.
It’s hard to sometimes come to terms with things that have scared you from childhood but ultimately we have choices.
Being Frugal vs Being Cheap
As frugal parents, we have purchased used shoes and boots for our son but only brand-name high quality made and they had to be in excellent condition.
When our son started junior kindergarten we bought him a new pair of Bogs for winter that cost us $135 and only lasted one season.
We were adamant that we would not spend that much money again on a pair of winter boots, until last week.
The look in our son’s eyes when he told us that he always had wet socks broke my heart.
It wasn’t that the boots he was wearing were second-hand either but they were a low-quality Bog-like winter boot.
We tried to save some money but ultimately paid the price in quality, his sadness and having to buy him another pair.
Finding More Ways To Save To Get What You Need
I looked online to see if I could find a used pair for him that were hardly worn but to no avail.
So, this time around I did some online shopping and found him a brand new pair of Bogs for $65 and he loves them.
His new Bogs were about $30 more than what we paid for the other knock-off pair but will keep his feet warm.
Selling Bogs footwear second-hand will be fairly easy especially if they are in excellent used condition.
Sometimes the lessons we learn in life come with a price so things like this get added to our projected expenses.
Growing Up In A Low-Income Household Through A Multi-Millionaires Eyes
We only get a bleep into his low-income household growing up but Justin Bieber shares what seems to be a special place in his heart.
As Justin Bieber begins his Seasons documentary – Leaving the Spotlight visiting his hometown of Stratford, Ontario with his new wife Hailey he brings us to his old apartment building where he lived with his mother Pattie Mallette for 10 years.
Upon entering the apartment building after being buzzed in by a resident he starts giving the audience short flashbacks of the building he called home.
What hit me the hardest was how his low-income household accommodation affected him as a child and perhaps how it inspired him to be who he is today.
“I used to tell my friends because I was ashamed that I lived in such low property standards. I used to tell them, ya there’s a bowling alley downstairs and stuff. It’s booked up right now (laughing), but.” Justin Bieber (skip to 4:51 in the video)
Although Justin was chuckling when he spoke about the bowling alley this must have affected him enough to bring it up.
Both Mrs. CBB and I grew up in a low-income household and in some ways can relate to what Justin said.
It’s not easy as a child not being able to have parents who can’t afford to buy you even second-hand clothes.
The Power Of Money
Justin’s mother gave birth just before the age of 19 after a life of what seemed like very dark times.
She left home when she was 16, supporting herself through petty theft and drug dealing. During this time, she experienced loneliness, depression, and suicidal ideation.
At 17 she attempted suicide by throwing herself in front of a truck, which led to a stint in a mental ward. While there, she became a Christian. Mallette raised Justin with the help of her parents- Wikipedia
Kids don’t really understand the power of money until they see what the world has to offer and what it offers everyone else.
Hailey who comes from a wealthy acting family learns about Justin’s life through the window of a stranger’s apartment as he shows her just how small the accommodation was and still are.
Having the opportunity to see both sides of life Justin reflects on what growing up poor was like and how fame and fortune tore him down.
All he wanted was to go back to being a normal person to help him find himself.
Find Your Happiness
There has to be an in-between sense of fulfillment for some people in order for life to soothe their core.
I believe I can relate to this since I try to never give up on what I start especially if I feel in my heart that it has potential.
For example, when I moved to Canada instead of just getting a job, I went back to school. I didn’t have to but I knew that I wanted more so I pushed myself even if that meant we had to live on a tight budget.
Plus, shortly after getting married things started going downhill with my wife’s health.
We had a small corner in our room that housed many cans of tuna, beans, oatmeal and other inexpensive kitchen staples that we would eat to save money.
Creating Debt To Feel Happy
Some people spend money and create debt to fulfill their dreams but find stress once the bills come due.
Embrace Your Low-Income Household
Others are happy living a minimalist life and accept what they earn and how they get on each day.
I know many low-income families who have children who play outside every day or find ways to make every day count.
There are no video game systems, tablets, smartphones or walk-in closets, just love for humanity without added expenses.
I always like to reflect on how the meaning of what we have is someone else’s rich.
For example, having a roof over your head may be a rich that a homeless person only dreams of.
Following Your Dreams
Was Justin motivated to sit on those steps and sing his little heart out for fortune?
I don’t believe he had any intentions other than he loved to play instruments and sing.
I whole-heartedly believe that humans live through music and it’s a way to express what we can’t say or want to say.
That’s why we have favourite artists or particular songs that we can relate to.
I can’t tell you what he was feeling but what I do know is that he had something special and wanted the world to know about it.
It’s not uncommon for him today to donate money to strangers on the streets or other artists he sees doing what he did.
Low-Income Household Effects On Children
Right off the start, we all know that this is a personal experience and not something that I or anyone else can say will or will not happen.
Generally speaking, physiatrists and doctors have an idea from dealing with people from all walks of life who know the effects of how low-income households, moderate-income households and even rich households on children.
Each brings there own set of ups and downs for children however I wanted to focus on what I know best, low-income household living.
From the age of 5 until 12 I really didn’t know the difference between a low-income household and the rich kids.
It wasn’t until I turned 13 where I’d had my paper route and then started working scrubbing dishes that money started to make sense to me.
I noticed some of my friends weren’t living in the same type of home as I did which was very small.
Although I had friends who lived on the same street as we did I rarely ever brought friends home.
In a way, yes I was embarrassed because we didn’t have anything fancy that I could show my friends.
Kids like to do that, hey look at this how cool it is. Nah, I didn’t have that but I did have a savings account.
We also moved often because my parents would buy and sell in hopes of making money.
It was part of their financial game which served them well I suppose but that’s all they really have for their retirement years.
I can 110% assure you that having grown up in a low-income household has motivated me to save money.
Not only have I become a saver but I realized how important my education was to successfully fulfill my career dreams.
I may have travelled half-way across the world to accomplish them but I would never have met my wife had I not.
I truly believe life has a destiny for everyone and although it may not always be what we want it to be, it’s something.
Can we change it? Sure, why not. If you want more, go get it.
Grow Up Faster and Responsibility
As I’ve mentioned quite a few times on the blog I started working early with a paper route.
My parents couldn’t get me to spend any of my earnings if they tried because I was tight with my cash.
I truly believed that if I kept saving money in the bank that one day I could have everything my rich friends had.
Rich to me back then was having a big house or bigger house than we had, nice car, parents with stable jobs and money to do and buy things without waiting.
Instead of travelling I spent my time working at my parents’ shop or at various jobs.
By the time I would get home I’d be too tired to hang out with friends which angered me because they didn’t have to work.
There was a bit of jealousy in me which I don’t think is a bad thing because it fuelled my desire to get where I am today.
If someone told me that they have never been jealous about something related to money in their entire lives I’d say they were trying to pull the wool over my eyes.
Two things can happen with jealousy;
- It improves you in a healthy way
- You dwell on it which can cause health problems
Depression and Hardship
Like Justin, kids may start to tell white lies about where they live just to make their friends think they are cool or richer than they think.
Unfortunately growing up in a low-income household can cause depression for children who don’t understand finance.
I know kids who don’t see their parents together for long periods as they work opposite shifts or even more than one job.
Not all kids are lucky to have parents who work 9-5, come home have family dinner and then play board games until it’s time for bath and bedtime.
That’s just a traditional family although we know this has changed on many levels with work from home parents to parents who travel extensively.
Children may understand money more than you realize and are unhappy that their parents are going through hardship.
However, your child may also feel left out compared to their more affluent friends.
Money Talks Are Important Parenting Steps
I think this is where parents really need to discuss finance with their children from a young age.
When kids understand where the money comes from then perhaps it will help them gain perspective on their family life.
Parents may go through a period where their kids think they are a failure for not having a better job or that they aren’t trying hard enough.
Perhaps you are a parent who has a disability with no other means to earn money apart from government assistance.
This too can weigh heavily on your child unless you talk to him or her about the situation once you feel they are ready.
Even then, talking might not be enough.
It’s never easy being a parent and helping your child to understand why things are the way they are.
All we can do is encourage them to be the best they can and strive to meet the goals they set forth in their lives.
Have you ever told yourself, “I’m never going to be like my parent’s?”.
You’re not alone.
Related: Are You Embarrassed By Your Job?
Change The Way We Think About Money
We as a society put too much emphasis on ‘stuff’ that it becomes a want for our children rather than a need.
Commercials and marketing ploys are a big nuisance because they thrive on little minds that can carry into adulthood.
I want this, I want that and not responding well to the word no has turned generations into entitled adults.
Entitlement is a messy word and one I don’t encourage anyone to get involved with on an intimate financial level.
Although I went through many financial hardships in my life and wish my parents did things differently I can only create my path.
I wish it was easy to say that I won’t be scared by the things I had to live through just so my parents could pay the bills but that isn’t the case.
How I handle my emotions with my past has made a world of difference so if you feel your children are suffering don’t be afraid to find them, someone, to talk to.
Discussion: Did you grow up in a low-income household? If yes, what effect did it have on you then and now? Leave me your comments below and I’ll be sure to respond.
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