Growing up poor is probably more the norm than the opposite in world. Most people come from families with meager means. My family was not the exception. My maternal and paternal grandparents immigrated to the United States in hopes to make a better life for themselves and their families. And like many hard working immigrants, they did.
My first generation parents, not so much. Growing up, my father and I did not have the best relationship because I blamed him for us being being poor. We lived in a two bedroom apartment for most of my childhood. Clothes were purchased at thrift stores. We were lucky to have friends who worked in grocery stores and often would give us unsaleable items. Bread and dairy products with a little mold were treats in our house. We ate a lot of beans and rice.
I also blamed my mom for marrying my dad and having a million kids with him. “Why didn’t you just stop at two?” I often asked her as soon as I realized birth control is actually a thing. As the 3rd child, I believed I had the right to say this. My mom would always say, “Then you would have been born.” I would counter, “My soul would have been born to other family. Maybe they would have been rich.” I probably was not their favorite daughter at that time. No worries, they had plenty others to choose from.
When I was a teenager, my grandmother trusted me to take care of her bills while she visited family in different parts of the country. (She must have recognized my CFO potential early on.) I can recall her teaching me how to “rob Paul to pay Peter” as her social security benefits didn’t quite cover her monthly bills. In high school, I would have nightmares of going to college, getting a great job and then inheriting all the debt from my parents had accumulated.
Needless to say, my obsession with my financial health probably came from many, if not all of these experiences. I have been extremely blessed and I am truly grateful to be where I am at today.