A Money Story: I was never taught how to waterproof my financial feathers

A Money Story: As told by my client

I was born in South Africa and grew up in a home where I was the youngest of three, unplanned and was reminded often of how “I” was straining the financial wellbeing of the family. (Mostly non-verbal, but kids know better).
My dad had a good job and worked at the same place for almost 30 years.

My mom was run off her feet raising 3 children under the age of 3. She was always working; I was sent to school at age 5 turning 6 instead of 6 turning 7 because my mom had to go back to work.  Part of my understanding at the time was, I had to sacrifice for the financial survival of the family.

The lesson about money I got from her was, you have to work hard, stress about money and there is never enough and you will always have to give up one thing to get another.

We somehow had what we needed, but it was well advertised that it was hard work and sacrifice to get it and you better appreciate it. Hand me downs and frayed clothes, shoes falling apart, book bags taped together to last another year. I started my school career with a hand-me-down book bag, my sisters old school uniform and I had new socks and a pair shoes!! Best thing ever!!! I was set for my amazing future…. or not.

My mom was a “pride slave” to the family “keeping up the appearances” It felt like I lived in the “Duck analogy”, ducks look calm on top of the water but under the water their feet are going crazy to stay afloat.

Now the part that nobody talked about was, that if you sometimes just stop and take a breath your feathers are waterproof and you will be able to float for a while. That is if the duck took the time to preen it’s feathers and oil them well, it is maybe a 10 min a day ritual but it keeps the duck afloat.

I now see that is the part where we were never taught as children “how to waterproof our financial feathers”

My first memory of money was my dad calling us girls to his bedroom and there was a hand full of change on the bed, he said this is all the money we have, he took some of the coins and made little piles. Every pile had to pay for something, then he showed us there was 50 cents left and we can go to the store and get candy.

What did I remember? There will always be money for candy, as a 6-year-old you don’t care or know about paying bills, your focus is the treat at the end.

The first job I got was about a 90-minute trip one way, by walking and train.  I still lived with my parents and they wanted me to pay rent. Thank goodness for that. My first car was my dad trading our big yellow station wagon with my uncle for a small blue Mazda Hatchback. He then sold it to me for $1000 and I had to pay him back monthly until it was paid in full. A good lesson.

Fast forward many years and I found myself in a self-employed business, with very little knowledge of running a successful business. In the first few years I was working hard and did not understand how much money I had to put away for taxes.

Someone I trusted, told me to put my taxes on my credit card (bad advice) and pay it at the end of the year from there. Well I could not do that because credit cards were not accepted and I was in trouble.

I thought I will be better off reading up on business financials on my own and make it work. I ended up going into a consumer proposal for 7 years. Sadly, while I got rid of most of my debt, my business financials were still down in the dumps. Then I realized I was in survival mode with lots of financial stress.

In my consistent frantic search for answers, I was very lucky to find a financial course put on by Pamela.

After the first session, I knew I was on the right track.

I worked hard at doing everything she suggested and was feeling I was getting my “ducks” in a row.

She offered a free consultation call and I was all over that like white on rice!!

Just to hear the words “you are one paycheck away from disaster”. I was devastated! I have come a long way and yet  I was in the same place? How is this possible?

Chatting to Pamela, I said to her, “if you can find the money for me to do this, I will do it”.

Without missing a beat, she said “Oh you do have the money”

I could not say no anymore, so I said yes!!!

I realized I was holding on to my money in fear of losing it all, and I had to learn to let it flow!

Pam thought me that money is supposed to have a place and a purpose. Not just sit around and take up space.

Now around a year later I have made huge changes in my financial life and my own life has changed for that matter as well.

I was well on my way to being debt-free in about 3 years and then our feet got kicked out from under us by COVID-19.  But in the midst of this pandemic chaos, I feel calm and in control of my finances and I have Pamela to thank for that.

Thank you, Pamela, I will always be your biggest fan! You are changing lives and it is rippling out to everyone they touch as well.