Money money money

 

‘I didn’t want to burden a child by coming into this world, my world, with no stability and it had literally paralysed me in following the burning desire to become a mother .’

 

February 15th, 2015. 8.10 am.

Panic. Anxiety and an ache in my chest. A twist in my stomach. I can’t breathe properly and I’m scared. What the fuck is going on?

My mind is racing before I have even woken properly.

‘ you are useless’ ‘what the fuck are you going to do?’ there is no way out’

‘you are worthless’ ‘you’ve done this to yourself again you idiot’.

Almost $50,000 in personal debt, I owe the bank money, electricity that hasn’t been paid, rent that is in arrears, unpaid phone bill, car payments, I owe my friends and family money. I’m single, no house, no investments I’m hungover in a depression session.

I’ve just got back from America. A trip of self-destruction, drinking, and drugs. I’ve been here before.

But I’m not alone. The amount of public debt every Australian carries has increased from just under $2000 in 2009-2010 to more than $11,000 in the financial year 2015-2016. If we exclude young children and the elderly, the average amount of debt for the working-age population (15-64) in Australia is around $17,700.

Its one of the leading causes of strain and stress in a relationship but we all have to deal with it. For some people, that’s a pretty bleak conversation

Australia’s suicide rate is set to go up 40% in the next decade unless risk factors such as debt, isolation, and loneliness are addressed, according to a research paper conducted by KPMG on behalf of Suicide Australia.

SO WHY DON’T WE BLOODY TALK ABOIT IT!!!????

The same reason we don’t talk about a lot of things…….

SHAME.

Here are a few factors I think maybe getting in our way:

Lack of engagement in Budgeting at school

How our money mindset has affected our health? Ancestral wounds. Century-old books. Self Worth. Giving money power. The pay gap. 

February 17, 2016, Sydney, Australia – Australians are more comfortable talking about sex and politics than they are about money, according to a new survey by one of Australia’s biggest comparison websites finder.com.au.

Research shows money is a topic off-limits for nearly half of the population.

In a report written by the Australian Government it states:

That 27% of the Australian population say ‘they have difficulty setting money aside. Would you say you are one of them or have you ever been? My hand is up! So far up!

 

November 10th, 2015. 8.15 am

All of the same symptoms. Except this time. An $80 parking fine. A $300 speeding fine. I’ve reversed into my best friend’s car (sorry Ray Ray). I can’t pay rent. I cant buy food.

a few months ago…….

29th of September 2019

I’ve watched my bank account go down for the last 3 months. It was going slow at first but now, all of a sudden, Im down to my last $200 and Im in a country I don’t know.

Spendings account: $200. Savings account: $0.00. Business account $50.

What the actual! WHY THE SHIT AM I HERE AGAIN???!!!

How does this keep happening? Well, not how. I know-how. Why do I keep on letting this happen? I mean honestly??! WTF!!!!

We grew up getting Christmas hampers from St Vincent de Paul or the Salvation Army. We bought our clothes from the op-shop. We grew up poor…

I grew up with that story and I was proud to tell it.

It was like I was proud to tell people I have ‘been there’, like next-level compassion and empathy. A badge of honour that ‘I don’t have money and look how far I have come’

The only thing is, this story dictated my life and it wasn’t true.

So let’s have a look.

 

Where did it start?

I believe this comes from ancestral wounds. Not just my own family but all of ours.

My understanding growing up was; that it was common to talk about money.

That people who have land or own houses are stuck up and that they have likely ripped someone off to get what they have.

I decided to have a little look at one of the oldest books in history……..

Matthew 6:24 …… You cannot serve both God and Money.

Matthew 19:21-26 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me……

Proverbs 11:28 He who trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous shall flourish as the green leaf.

Mark 4:19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.

Proverbs 23:4-5 Do not wear yourself out to get rich;  do not trust your own cleverness. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.

James 5:1-6 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire…

Proverbs 11:28 He who trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous shall flourish as the green leaf

Ecclesiastes 5:10 Whoever loves money never has enough;    whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.   This too is meaningless.

Proverbs 11:4 Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath,  but righteousness delivers from death

You can close your mouth now. I know. Wow. Since the turn of time people have been told that money is evil. That if you have it you will go to hell and the righteous shall flourish. There really is no wonder then why people have come up with sayings around money.

  • The best things in life are free.
  • We may not have much but we have each other.
  • Money. You cant take it with you.
  • Steel from the rich give to the poor.
  • Rich people are greedy
  • It’s better to be poor and happy than rich and sad.
  • Money causes problems
  • The Rich get Rich and the Poor keep getting Poor.
  • Money is the root of all evil.

There really is the greatest intention and there is so much that also discusses giving to the workers and not being greedy but you can see how our minds have been molded to think the other way. 

My family comes from a working-class ( what is that anyway? ) town in Northern England where they were never taught about abundance and that scarcity was the only mindset.

That you didn’t deserve to be anymore, ask for any more or own anymore and, if you did you instantly change status from a good person to a snake.

I realised I would get paid, go to the shop, buy ‘what I wanted’. You know what is funny. That was food. Legitimately I would go and indulge in healthy food as my treat for getting paid. You know where that came from?

Growing up. We would get paid and we would go straight to the shop and mum would say ‘get whatever you want! Its payday’. I know now, looking back that it was because even food was a luxury for mum and her siblings growing up and nobody taught them how to make, save or spend money.

We very rarely see money anymore. We very rarely deal with cash. It’s more of a knowing and an energy that a tangible thing.

 

Has this mindset affected our health?

This scarcity mindset didn’t just affect how they dealt with money.

It affected how they spent it.

It impacted what they spent it on, their eating habits, spending habits, our health including our financial health.

Bare with me…. I know you’re thinking…..Waaaaaaaaaaah Becky.

Food, in general, is a sign of prosperity. When our parents were growing up, meat, eating out and dessert were seen as a treat and a sign of wealth.

The average amount of meat consumed per person globally has nearly doubled in the past 50 years, from around 23kg in 1961 to 43kg in 2014. 

I remember one of my parents telling me that they only got quality meat at Christmas. That you didn’t get seconds, you got the amount you were given and you appreciated it when you did.

Other than that, the options were potatoes because they were cheap. We also made a lot of food at home and you had to be creative with what you had.

Potatoes; just under 6 cents per pound in 1955 (the equivalent of 57c today) You bought them in bulk and EVERY meal had them.

Milk an average cost of about 22 cents a quart. (In today’s terms that would be about $1.94)

Round steak in today’s cash would be about $7.96. (around 90c a pound in 1955)

The average we pay these days is $6.00 which shows a pretty steep drop in price.

Apples were just over 15 cents a pound back then, which would be $1.33 in today’s cash. And that’s about what they are worth today.

One grocery item that has not stayed the same price is bananas. Priced at around 17 cents per pound, that much money in today’s terms would be $1.50. Average banana prices these days hover around 48 cents per pound.

Even these interesting facts raise and issue. We are paying people less to do the same job as we did 50 years ago.

 

Self Worth

what you think of yourself because of money

Self-worth and relationships.

I felt as though a private school guy wouldn’t understand me and I wouldn’t understand them. I genuinely thought they were too good for me. I genuinely thought I wasn’t worthy of being looked at by anybody who came from that.

For someone who is trying not to be judgemental, I was judging myself AND judging those people.

; confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self-respect.

What came with this scarcity was a place where your financial position reflected your self-worth. A place where lack of money and domestic violence went hand in hand and a place where you believed ‘money was the root of all evil so you avoided it like the plague.

In some places having money was something to be ashamed of and if you set yourself up, got a nice house or car you have ‘sold out’ .

Until recently my brain has been toying with this. I’m friggin 33 years old and I have only JUST gotten my shit together with my finances. I’ve been working hard on changing my mindset like you would around body image and nutrition.

For a long time, I have tiptoed the line of wanting and knowing I am capable of abundance, having a beach house with 2 kids and a supportive husband who I can raise a legacy with.

Knowing that a beach house cost money, kids cost money and having a family cost money and when I didn’t have any, I thought I was unworthy of having a family.

‘I didn’t want to burden a child by coming into this world, my world, with no stability and it had literally paralysed me in following the burning desire to become a mother .’

It was like underlaying shame and fear that this is where I will stay because I didn’t have the tools or the know-how, so the shame and fear kept me there. I have genuinely, until now felt as though….even I wouldn’t be with me because I was broke AF. 

That I wasn’t going to be a good mother because we would always be in financial struggle and forever chasing my tail.

My money story has genuinely stopped me from being a mother so far. Can anyone else resonate? 

My self worth has skyrocketed and it shocks me that even now I am not asking enough but its a hell of a lot more than when I started.

‘Work hard and save’.  I was never taught and never thought I could ask for a pay rise.

While I was there working hard, busting my balls to pay rent, buy food and live pay-check to pay-check without asking for an increase. Then there were some people, knowing their worth, asking for a pay rise knowing they were worth it, ‘working smart not hard’ and saving for things that will help their future.

In my first full-time job, in a profession, I had just paid $30,000 over 3 years to complete.

I took $38,000 a year and…. I. Was. Chuffed!!!

I then took $48,000 a year for my next admin assistant and I would say I was treated accordingly. It’s like my manager could sense my lack of self-worth and desperation and treated me like the help.

I thought I had found more self-worth and value pushing for $55,000 a year. Now I look back and have a little chuckle at how far I have come. It’s hard to increase your self-worth when you truly believe you are worth $19.20 an hour in your profession.

The year 1998. We would get Christmas hampers from The salvation Army or St Vincent de Paul and we would appreciate what we got.

I believe Mum and Dad the best they could with what they knew and had never been taught otherwise or even knew to ask.

I grew up going to the op shop, trying to find school clothes or clothes that would make me look ‘cool’. We grew up in Centrelink lines and lack of discussion around money or what to do with it.

We never talked about its value, how to spend it, how to save it or how to invest. Something I am still learning.

I had a job before I left which meant I had money coming in. I was never really conscious of how I spent it but when i had something to save for it seemed easy. This makes me think I blindly spent a lot of money.

 

 

Lack of engagement in Budgeting at school

So when I started writing this the header was ‘Lack of education around budgeting’.

However, I changed it to a lack of engagement around budgeting. This was mainly because we actually do get taught budgeting and finance in school. It’s just at a time when none of us give a hoot. I was talking to a friend of mine, a maths teacher and tutor who brought some reality into my thinking around the injustices about financial education.

The success or failure of the financial life of every person depends on how proficient they are at the basis of financial literacy. However, despite the enormity of its importance, it remains elusive to many individuals how to improve financial skills. Interestingly, there are several proven ways this can be done, and one such method is by playing finance video games.

Basically, it is taught. Its usually between years 8-10. But at that age, I’m not sure about you but I was more interested in my friends, boys drinking and music.

How can make this subject as appealing as social media, The Kardasians or video games for students?

Do we need to make a video game out of budgeting and finance? Well. Turns out a few people have done exactly that.

The best ones on the scene are:

Bite Club: is a game that allows its players to manage a day club for vampires.

How it works: servicing debt, spending money and making savings for future purposes.

Financial Football: is an NFL-themed financial planning game that has a personal finance component.

Countdown to retirement: tests your ability to save enough money for one of the most important moments of your life which is the post-retirement period. 

Gen I revolution: fifteen financial rescue missions to be embarked on by the players

The Stock Market Game; created by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association. Participants in the finance video game are required to invest $10,000 of virtual money. The game is aimed at testing the ability of its players to create a solid and incredible investment collection.

and the list actually goes on. 

Are there other avenues we need to go down? Try that for a Sunday dinner discussion…..

To educate ourselves as adults and parents to have better language around it at home?

Shift our thinking and how we talk about money with and around children so they know its something they should be engaging in?

Getting them excited?

The Pay Gap

 ; the difference between the average pay of two different groups of people often for doing the same work.

https://qsuper.qld.gov.au/super/how-much-super-should-i-have

The gender pay gap for example between men and women can be things that haven’t been thought of. You may very well be paid the same as your female counterpart but if your female colleague takes maternity time off, her super will stop being contributed. This then won’t be topped up until she starts working again. 

There were four dramatic policy changes in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s that started the first narrowing of the GPG:

  • Lifting of marriage bars from employment (1966 in the Commonwealth Public Service);
  • The ruling of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in 1969 that women should receive equal pay to men for equal work;
  • The passing of the Sex Discrimination Act in 1984; and
  • The Affirmative Action (Equal Employment Opportunity for Women) Act in 1986.

This is a touchy one. If you find yourself saying ‘I’ve earnt my way into this job’. I worked hard, I’ve got the most experience and I am the best person for the job.

Take a second to look back at what got you there. Do you have the experience because you were given the opportunity over someone else based on skin colour, gender, and age in the first place? 

Were you awarded this job because of the people you knew from a previous job? 

This is a broader spectrum of the pay gap. 

 

Racial Pay GAP

I don’t know enough about this and have struggled to find information on this. Maybe its a sign that it needs its own blog. 

There isn’t a gap as such but due to unemployment ect there is a gap. 

The gap exists as a result of statistics, rate of school graduation for Aboriginals, unemployment due to location, lack of training leading to unemployment, lack of training from lack of funding, lack of government support or interest in the issue. 

Giving money power

Here are three key things to know about the psychology behind our personal relationships with  money:

  • Emotion plays a huge role.
  • Anxiety and avoidance create a vicious cycle.
  • Psychologically, you can’t entirely escape your family and your past.

The most important emotions in relation to money are fear, guilt, shame, and envy.

Fear: an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm.

Guilt: the fact of having committed a specified or implied offense or crime.

Shame: a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.

Envy: a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck.

All of these emotions can be destructive emotions both mentally and physically.

Envy is also related to depression, anxiety, the development of prejudice, and personal unhappiness. Not surprisingly, these negative mental states can impact physical health

 

There is help.

When I was on the bones of my arse there were a few things I had to do immediately;

Fitted for Work (through Commonwealth bank): Helped me with my resume and can send you clothes for an interview. In a workforce where I thought my experience would get me a job instantly, the prospects were bleak.

I obviously had my age, my skin colour and my past experience on my side and I still couldn’t find a job for over 2 months. 

I also did a few things:

Immediate help with debt

Call your financial institution and ask how they can help you. Essentially, If you don’t have money they won’t get paid so ask if there is any way for them to help.

  • Interest-free credit cards. Good lord, try not to have ANY but if you do, contact your financial institutions and ask for help.
  • Free of charge financial services in your area can give you financial advice and ways to handle your debt so it’s less overwhelming and you feel less shame.
  • Food banks can give you vouchers, as a basic human need is a food and you can get this for an eighth of the cost when you have no other option
  • Financial education: These food banks also have cooking classes and Nutritionists to help you understand how to cook.
  • Buy Bulk (once you get your feet back on the ground)
  • Pay bills in full rather than installments.
  • Self-worth: Work on this. First and foremost. There are sooooooo many free online courses out there and once you are back on your feet you can start to give value to this.
  • Shop around: for EVERYTHING! Don’t just take the first option that comes. Car insurance, health insurance, food, fuel, 
  • Deal with your issues that have more to do with self-worth than money. Make sure if you are a contractor, that you charge what you are worth not what someone else thinks your worth. 
  • Work on why you have that story and why you keep on getting there.
  • Do yourself a budget to get a better idea of where you are, and understand where you are putting your money energy.
  • TALK ABOUT IT!

Seek help (Lifeline Financial help)  and push through the shame to talk to someone about the situation you are in. Gain clarity on your financial situation so you can get on with the greatest things in life.

I spent FAR TOO MUCH time chasing my tail that I let so many opportunities slip by. I’m still working on my money story, but now it isn’t written on scrap paper. It’s written in a hardcover book, bound with leather and white gold trimmings.