More Money is Coming – A Fiscal Fitness Evolution

My mother and father separated before I was four. As a child of their disunion, I became the bewildered repository for a mix of oddly opposed yet curiously cohesive messages. One pervasive theme spoke to the dynamics and rules of money. While their lifestyles were miles apart in terms of material possession, my parents shared a yin and yang conviction about cash flow that became the immutable bedrock of my own fiscal belief system.

More Money is Coming…

My mother was disabled and lived for most on my life on a fixed income of less than 12k per year. She received food stamps and Medicaid and on the 3rd of every month, she, along with many of her neighbors, trekked to the nearest check cashing vendor to receive an allotment of cash benefits from Social Security. My mother and I lived together until I was 9 years old when I left our Brownsville Brooklyn neighborhood and went to live with my father in another universe six subway stops away in Park Slope.

My father was a contractor and real estate investor. He worked for himself, owning properties in Park Slope and the up and coming neighborhood of Bedford Stuyvesant. He observed no calendar for income and at any given time could be found with thousands of dollars in the bank and hundreds of dollars in his wallet.

In my mother’s world, more money was coming because the 3rd of the month was always on its way. Its arrival was guaranteed by the very laws of God and nature. In my father’s world, more money was coming because no other option was acceptable and the fruit of fortune and hustle was simply waiting for its rightful home in his hands.  Oh yes… More Money is Coming

It was at that point of certainty that my mother and father’s fiscal operating systems diverged.

My father believed that any entity claiming right to his money, regardless of any previous  delivery of goods and services, could only be owned and operated by a bunch of “goddamn crooks” from whom he was obligated at all costs to shield his funds. While he could often be found with enough cash on hand to rival my mother’s yearly income, he was always engaged in battle and crisis with his creditors. During my adolescent years with him, I made countless trips to utility company offices to pay a long past due bill and the accompanying deposit required to restore our interrupted service. I have distinct memories of the bewilderment I felt when ordered not to answer our incessantly ringing phone so as to avoid the accountability required by my father’s creditors. While he never ceased his resentful diatribes against those crooked corporate criminals that so often forced him to pay what he owed, my father seemed to recover from our stints without light, gas or phone service pretty quickly.  After all, he knew, More Money is Coming…

My mother, with her fixed income, was a careful observer of fiscal due dates and bill pay obligations. She employed a fiscal system that supported her fiscal discipline and for that was rewarded with a credit score that could rival that of persons with 20 times her income.   In short, my mother could walk into any store, sign any dotted line and get whatever she wanted. Her chosen option however was to live within the boundaries of her fixed and, in my then immature opinion, meager means. My mother never entertained a past due notice or threat of service shut off. Her fear of going hungry made her pay herself first, not by setting aside savings but by vigilantly guarding her grocery bill. Her fear of homelessness made her contribution to her Section 8 rent assistance sacrosanct. My mother’s fixed income could not absorb the late fees, penalties or required deposits my father paid so constantly and carelessly. Her fiscal decisions were a matter of life and survival.  But despite her stringent circumstances, my mother held a certainty supported by the passage of days… More Money Is Coming…

As their daughter, I absorbed this lesson as part of my DNA. I have always been certain, absolutely certain that more money was coming. Unfortunately during my early years, before my fiscal fitness work, More Money is Coming translated to a lack of fiscal integrity that rivaled my father’s and a sense of impending fiscal catastrophe that mirrored my mother’s. The difference however, was that I didn’t have my father’s financial resources or my mother’s systems and credit score.  But while I was adept at getting myself into financial holes, I was also remarkably skilled at getting myself out of them.  What did this create? What model did I create for my own young children? Fiscal Drama. In my world, Fiscal Drama gave stage and audience to a self-drawn caricature of strength, ingenuity, and cleverness. It showed my ability to “hustle and flow”.

When my lack of financial integrity had cost me yet another relationship, my deep sorrow uncovered the ugly underbelly of my false fiscal image. I was a liar, thief of services, stealer of products, a cheat and a manipulator. I was devastated by this ugly truth. For a while I allowed my sense of shame to carry me deeper into my fiscal denial and narcissism. So what if I was a liar? I needed what I needed. I wanted what I wanted. I had to get where I was going. Wasn’t it all, after all, about me? What was the big deal? More Money Is Coming

Eventually though, I reached my saturation point and could no longer float unencumbered by the muck and mire of my fiscal behaviors. It was a painful time. Introspection and self-responsibility carry a heavy but necessary price.

These days my choice is to operate in only the most affirming elements of my parent’s fiscal legacy. Faithfully with no semblance of fear, I believe that all that I need is already mine and waits patiently for me to just open my hand. Faithfully, giving no credence to crisis, I employ fiscal structures and systems that support my fiscal integrity as well as my fiscal goals. And finally, at my very core, I accept and affirm what my Momma and Daddy always said was true…  More Money is Coming…

Thanks for reading my blog! *LBD

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All content © 2013 Lisa B. DuBois

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