The Eclectic Me

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From Rags to Comfortable

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My Journey to #FinancialLiteracy part one – the first 38 years.

 

I think my life started out ok, father with a good job, stay-at-home mom, this was typical for the day. Then when I was eight my mom and dad divorced – very atypical for the day. And that is when things went downhill.

 

Divorce and No Furniture

Soon after my dad left, so did the furniture, came home from school one day and all we had left was one bed and a stove. The only reason we had one bed is that my youngest brother bit the ankle of the guy who was trying to take his bed so they left it. They did not even leave a fridge, it was fall thank goodness so the milk went in the window sill. There were four children and my mom who was disabled due to childhood polio and no furniture.

 

Living on welfare

So of course my mom went on welfare and we got what was called commodities – powdered eggs and milk, lentils, white flour and other basics I am sure, I don’t remember it all clearly. Never try powdered eggs – yuck! My dad sent us money monthly, but was not much.

 

Moving to the city

After a while we lost our house and the suburban lifestyle became the ‘white trash’ neighbourhood city life. We only had hand-me-down clothes and not always enough to eat. Being a child though, I do remember having fun playing outside, who needed a TV!? Winter was tough though, since we did not have winter coats or boots – good thing most of the time we lived close to schools!

 

My First Job

This hand to mouth existence went on for many years, finally at 16 I got my first job and banked every penny! I was not going to spend anything because I might not have it again. I was able to give my mom money for a down payment to buy a house though. It was while at this first job I met my first husband, got pregnant, left school and moved to Canada.

 

My Family

I then had five children in eight years – who are the joy of my life – with very little income sometimes living on welfare again. This time though no powder eggs although I did buy powdered milk. One of the things my children hated growing up I am sure.

 

Financial Literacy – Not!

There was no such thing. I had no idea how to save money, though I was (and am) very good at being cheap. I did not know what an RRSP was, the stock market was some kind of magical thing rich people made money at. Like I said I was cheap so I could budget worth a hot damn! Even so we were always in debt due to the fact there just was not enough money sometimes for all of our needs.

 

Sad to say I have a great many stories about being poor and broke, all I can say is never again, so read part two to find out how I found #FinancialLiteracy.