I don’t have a relationship with money. Even when I have plenty to pay all my bills, save some, and do fun stuff, it never really feels like enough. I read a book once that said that you have stress about things that were surrounded by stress in your formative years.
I knew that I always had food, a warm bed, clothes, and my own bed every single night. I was able to do a lot of things that children around me couldn’t. Being hyperaware, though, has always been a curse as well as a blessing. My parents never talked about money with me. Never told me if they were struggling – on the contrary, my dad always said “you can always make more money” or “we will make it work”. That being said, I don’t come from a long line of royalty or business moguls either. I don’t have a trust fund & the value of a dollar became very apparent very early on.
My parents worked their asses off to get where they are. Like many in their generation, they don’t have these Masters degrees in their field, but were able work their way up. I spent my childhood watching my parents move up into jobs that valued you them more, paid them better, and that they loved doing. At 14, I wanted to be able to *kind of* provide for myself. I got a job in childcare at our church. My first paycheck I became obsessed with the idea of saving, not having enough, and having more.
Some of my friends never had to, and still don’t really have to, worry about a job. They have a credit card linked to their dad’s personal checking account for when times get too tough… and if that’s you, God bless you, dude. Good for your parents. Good for whoever made the fortune for the family – you and I just live very different lives.
At 14, I started to get worried about saving for college. 14 years old. I mean, I had to go to school and I could only work X amount of hours in a week. The thought of my parents paying my way made me sick to my stomach. Again, if your parents had that ability or that was your family’s plan, more fucking power to you. It just makes me REALLY uncomfortable. In my head, my parents are supposed to make sure I have food, shelter, and love. Even that, is more than some people have. I didn’t want or need them to pay for school… I could do that myself.
Let’s not get it twisted; my parents did put their credit on the line to co-sign on a lot of bullshit for me. Especially these student loans, so again, couldn’t have done it without them. After 4.5 years, I was happy to receive my diploma on my own merit, payments that I had made, and debt I had taken on myself.
My parent’s graduation gift to me was paying off a couple private loans. That gift cuts one of my monthly payments in half and takes care of thousands of dollars of school debt. I didn’t feel like I could accept it, even if it was a gift. It was their money – money that they could use to take trips, buy something lavish, or just save.
As I’m writing this, I’m thinking about rent, utilities, my car payment, loans, credit card, and just the price of being alive. There are huge steps I need to take in learning better ways to save money. I need to take better advantage of my monthly budget. God knows, I need to cool it on eating out so much. BUT, the first step of making money and having a good relationship with it has been instilled in me since I was a kid – work your ass off.
Spending someone else’s money is fun and exciting, but earning your own and supporting yourself is soooo empowering. So, if you find yourself spending a lot of money on things that seem temporary, I would challenge you with the question: Do I value one dollar? Do I value my time as a means of making money? Am I spending money to cope with something else? Odds are, one or more of those questions will lead you to some pretty vulnerable realizations about your relationship with money.
I still struggle with moments of stress when it comes to money. I question the path of content creation I’ve chosen and whether it will be as fruitful and successful as I imagine my later life to be. And sure, I could join a corporate office that draws on my majors and make a salary and have a lot less unknown. I made a decision, though, that I would rather be happy, doing what I love, and living a somewhat more restrictive life in terms of finances than working in an office, feeling stale and unhappy, but having extra money in my bank account.
I’m recently listening to the RISE podcast with Rachel Hollis who is a multimillion dollar business owner with just a high school degree. She’s the author of books like “Girl, Wash Your Face” that have become all the rage in today’s younger success-hungry demographic. I listen and actually TAKE NOTES on her words, because her path is something I’m striving for. She always says “there are a LOT of ways to make money and pay your bills.” Which is so true! Money is circling around every industry, every career, and is waiting to be given to driven, motivated people. So, even if the moments now are stressful, I have to remember the end goal is getting paid for doing what you LOVE rather than settling for what you like.
Money is stressful. It’s a huge part of everyone’s mental health. But, you can always make it.. you WILL figure it out, and regardless of what your bank account looks like, you’re worthy of happiness, relaxation, and serenity. This is just as much a reminder for me as it is for all of you.