Tuesday, June 9, 2015

I Have a Secret It Is Dirty

I have a secret. There are things that we are not supposed to talk about in mixed company or inappropriate places. We all know that you should not talk about religion or politics. However, there is one subject, one word so dirty that is forbidden. We do not discuss with the neighbors, the coworkers or even the congregation. The dirty word is: Money.

There are things that we just do not discuss. We don't share about our financial health. Money is said to be " the root of all evil"(1 Timothy 6:10, KJV,) The fact is that we all are affected by it. We encounter it on a daily basis. Yet, it is taboo to discuss it. We go to work for it, we spend it, save it, share it, wish for it, gamble for it and so much more. Yet, it is such a taboo subject. It is all good and fine to talk about business. We can talk about stocks. We can talk about many aspects of money. Many of us are slaves to it. We quest it. We want it. We are judged by it. We judge by it. We exchange our time for it.It can open and close doors but we can't talk about it.

Growing up, it was clear that we were a regular family. Regular meaning that we had one or two parents that worked.We went to the grocery store and paid the bills. There was an ebb and flow with money. We were middle class. We were the working class. We were just like most everyone else that we knew. There were the few that we knew that were well off. hey took fancy vacations and lived in big houses. This was not us. Our parents worked and they worked hard. They both worked hard. One became a wife and mother just before completing high school and the other college educated. We learned that you had to work for what you want in life. We had parents that focused on education. Education eventually leads to a good job.

While a student, we did not learn about credit, credit cards, credit ratings, bank accounts or saving money. Money was not really something that was discussed. We knew that everything cost money. Bills had to be paid. It just was what it was. During my senior year of high school, I opened my first checking account. Hello financial freedom. NO, it was closer to hello, a bank account does not work like that. Checks can and do bounce. I learned a hard lesson and fast. Fast forward and debit cards became all the rage. Guess what? You can really rack up some debt with your bank account for going over your balance.

I have been trying really hard to teach my children about finances. The importance of credit. (Fortunately, I do not have credit card debt.)The importance of building and protecting credit. I have armed my children with tools. We have had in depth discussions with our new high school graduate about finances. We have focused on avoiding entering adulthood with a ton of debt from student loans. We have made a college choice based upon the bottom line ( we did account for the important aspects as well that were not financial.) We have stretched the college dollar by matching the price of the school along with room, board and scholarships. Thank goodness she is a great student and earned several scholarships to help to pay for college. We have studied how to build credit and avoid being a target of lenders all too eager to give a teenager a credit card. We hope that these discussions and options will arm her to have a stable and productive future. During a school ceremony for seniors, the principal of the school encouraged parents to give a tip for the future to their child. My tip was the very simple comment: "learn how to save."

While we are discussing this taboo subject of money ( Gasp, I said the dirty word) I would like to share my savings with you. My accounts all added together have a whopping balance of 23 cents. Yes, that is how much I have saved. This is a real issue. That is another discussion entirely. I just wanted to overall say, we do not talk about money but yet it has such a presence in our lives. Why be ashamed of how little that you have or gloat about how much that you have?