What’s your Money Origin Story?
Everyone has at least one.
Your Money Origin Stories.
Or what made you decide to either take charge of your finances, or a certain situation that stands out in your mind as THE defining moment of when you decided to work hard and be successful.
My first story was when I was 10.
I remember that I was the type of child who liked to make schedules and lists, and I even had all of my classes laid out by period and by week (our school rotated weeks of classes), so that I would know that this week was Week One, and I needed to prep for this class, bring XYZ, etc.
I planned so much, and enjoyed To Do lists, calendars, contact lists…. and when I heard about this pink digital organizer (it was $100 back in the ’90s), I remember thinking to myself: OMG. I NEED THIS.
So I asked my father for it, who basically had kittens because.. $100 now is expensive, but a few decades ago? It must be at least double, almost $200 in today’s dollars.
He told me flat out: NO.
I burst into tears and cried for a week. I had wanted it so badly, and had no idea how else to get it (no one was teaching me anything about saving or anything), and it never occurred to me until that moment, to take my paper route and odd job savings, and pool it together until I had enough to buy it.
Getting $100 back then was tough, and I tried very hard but only saved $30 at best because I couldn’t seem to give up buying chocolate bars here and there as treats (I was not a slim child…), and each time I did it, I’d look at my savings and go: UGH. Back to square one!
My brother was then sent by my father, who saw that I wasn’t going to give up, to tell me how $100 was a lot of money and that we just didn’t have that kind of money to spend on a frivolous item. He was very kind and explained how it took a lot of work to save that amount, and it was just a toy that probably wasn’t going to be very good to use in the long run.
I stopped crying and pondered that.
Eventually my brother (who was much older), took pity on me and when he upgraded his Palm Pilot, he gave me his old one to use and that made my day (even if it wasn’t pink).
I was hooked on tasks and organizing even more from that day on, but the moral of this Money Origin Story is I realized 3 things:
- We didn’t have money – I asked my father for that organizer but he didn’t just give it to me & my brother confirmed we didn’t have money (we actually did/didn’t … my upbringing financially-speaking is very awkward because my parents won the lottery but then wasted it all)
- It was difficult to make money – I saved $30, but it wasn’t enough because I needed to pay taxes too
- I had to prioritize my money – I was obviously not THAT hung up on it because I kept buying chocolate instead which seemed to have a greater priority for me at that point in time
I have other Money Origin Stories, such as the time my mother promised me throughout my childhood she set aside $10,000 back in the 90s when they won the lottery for each of us, and it was meant for our education.
Then when the time came and I was accepted into a rather pricey school, she had to shamefacedly tell me she never enforced it with my father and basically since he handled all the money, he never saved anything aside for us, and just spent it all.
I ended up having to take out student loans which they couldn’t even help me co-sign with to get the money because their credit scores were shot / non-existent.
Luckily, the bank loaned me the money but at a predatory 7.5% student loan rate once I finished school, and all of that $60,000 debt once it hit the fan when I graduated?
It made me realize how dumb I was to NOT be frugal during school not truly comprehending I had to pay it back eventually, but also that I had to get out of this debt quicksand, fast, which is what really kickstarted this entire journey to wealth, over a decade ago.
One of Little Bun’s (many possible) Money Origin Stories
Then it made me wonder, if I was creating Little Bun’s Money Origin Story as we speak.
Here’s a conversation we had:
LB: Mommy, I want to have NO ADS in my Cake Pop Maker app.
It’s this truly silly, inane app that lets you ‘make’ cake pops with colours and candy, decorations, etc. It looks like this:
Me: CAKE POP MAKER? I am not paying for anything that silly.
LB: But I want it!
Me: Let me look at it. *checks the price*.. FIFTEEN DOLLARS FOR THE FULL KIT AND NO ADS? No. WAY. ABSOLUTELY NOT. Mommy just lost her job contracting and right now we are living with basic essentials, and Cake Pop Maker is not one of them. I will pay that for an educational app (see: my recommendations for educational learning apps), but NOT FOR THIS.
LB: *gasp* … You better get a job, make lots of money so you can buy AS MANY CAKE POPS AS I WANT!!!
Me: Even if I had lots of money, I would not buy this Cake Pop app. YOU better get a really good job, by studying hard and THEN you can spend your money on Cake Pop after you save 50% and invest it!!!!
LB: I am a good Saver! I saved all of my Happy Colour Gold coins! You should be a good Saver too so you can become rich, Mommy. You need to make lots of money to become rich so you can buy whatever you want.
Me: Thank you the advice, I’ll take it into consideration.
LB: I want to save lots of money now, and I’ll buy the Cake Pop app.
Now before you think I’m a monster….
I truly do not want to spend money on this app or its friends (there’s also Cake Maker, etc)… And $15 is highway robbery because I COULD see paying $3 to get rid of ads (I did that for Happy Colour) but $15 is just OUTRAGEOUS.
It’s the principle of the matter, not the money.
Now when he grows older, maybe he will look back and see this as one of the Stories (one of MANY I am sure) that came up where I refused to buy him something and I will continually go back to circle back on these 3 points with him:
- How are you going to make more money? I don’t want to hear chit-chat, I want to see action.
- Remember that all your money is not yours to keep – you must save 50% of it*.
- And from that savings, remember you have to INVEST it too!
*Plan is to get him started on that now as it is basically all 100% ‘free’ income for him before he starts a career, and he can adjust this savings rate as he gets older but better to aim high than low, right?
Man.. he may be extremely annoyed once he finds out I had money all along, and I just refused to buy it for him when it was only $15. Or whatever else I am sure I will refuse to buy.
When that day of reckoning comes, I’ll say:
Me: Use that anger! Channel it into making lots of money so you’ll never have to ask for anything from me again, save it, invest it and then become rich and treat your amazing Mommy for having set you on the path of wealth.