I share alot here at SingleGuyMoney. I've found that it is so much easier to share all of my financial details anonymously instead of telling a friend or family member about my debts or how much money I earn. Since I share so much of financial details here, I thought I'd share a little about my childhood and how it influences my financial decisions today.

I grew up in a small town. By small, I mean one traffic light small. I never knew my father. He was killed in a car accident before I was even born. He did not have any type of insurance so the financial burden fell heavily on my mother. My mother did not finish high school and was working at a minimum wage job. Growing up, I remember not having alot. We were poor - very poor. I would get hand-me-down clothes from my cousins. I remember my mother receiving food stamps and walking in shoes with holes in them just so she could provide food for us. We lived in a rented house and the where the bathroom barely worked. The tub didn't work so we took baths in the sink. The toilet did not work so we had to flush it by filling up a pail and pouring it in the toilet. I guess since we paid very little rent, the landlord didn't really bother to fix anything.

My mother did save enough money to buy us a home. Granted, it had wheels and was already ten years old but it was our home. I remember every time we had a storm, we had to leave and go down the street to the neighbors house because mobile homes aren't a real safe place to be during a storm. Growing up, I was embarrassed to have my friends come over because of where I lived. I didn't want them to talk about me or not like me because I did not have what they had.

I vividly remember one night I had a dream that I woke up one day and I had my own computer. When I woke up the next morning, I cried so hard and for so long because the dream seemed so real. Of course, computers were not nearly as affordable as they are now.

As soon as I was old enough to work, I started working at a fast food restaurant so I help my mother pay the bills. I remember my mother crying when I offered her money to get our electricity turned back on. As much as she did not want to take the money, she did because she did not have any other choice. I was determined I did not want to live like this and I was determined to better my life.

I put myself through college by working and taking out student loans. In my sophomore and junior year, I worked two jobs to make ends meet. This was my first experience with credit cards and I started to pile on the debt trying to make up for "things" I did not have when I was growing up and trying to look like I had as much money as my peers.

Fast forward to the present. I still have debt but I am slowly working to pay it off. I know that I don't have to be like or live like my neighbors and my friends. If people are judging me by what I have then they aren't really friends. My self worth is not based on what I have or the balance in my bank account.

I know most of you look at my savings balance and wonder why I keep so much cash when I have higher rate debt. I know that I am losing money. I know it makes no financial sense but it provides me with a little piece of mind. Growing up like I grew up, I'm so scared of being broke. Psychologically, it makes me feel better to keep a large stash of cash in the bank. You have to do what helps you to sleep well at night.
If you made it this far in the story; thanks for reading. I hope I didn't bore you too much. I just wanted to share a little more about me.

Image Credit: Editor B


  1. Anonymous // April 6, 2008 at 8:16 AM  

    Excellent post.I love reading your stuff. I think you are doing really well and if having that cash helps you then who cares?
    All the best

  2. Mac // April 6, 2008 at 9:28 AM  

    I am near the end of a divorce.

    I know poor as well as you did young.

  3. dreamfool // April 6, 2008 at 3:47 PM  

    I almost teared up when I read your story, SGM. I had a very poor childhood also so I completely understand that feeling of not able to do what kids could. My family's situation has since improved when I was in high school, but the influence from childhood nevertheless affects how I treat money now. Needless to say, having a large stash of cash in the bank does a lot for me psychologically as well.

  4. Single Ma // April 6, 2008 at 5:04 PM  

    I can relate. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Mrs. Micah // April 6, 2008 at 8:52 PM  

    Your story makes your decisions make a lot of sense. I think that's why finance is so personal for everyone.

    Micah had a similar childhood (2 parents at minimum wage jobs with 5 kids total and drinking powdered milk because it was cheaper). His reaction has been mostly to a) be afraid of money and b) adopt the attitude that everything will work out if we keep trying.

    I think b is actually kind of healthy because it doesn't lead to desperation, panic, or giving up.

    Thanks for sharing that.

  6. "Future Millionaire" // April 6, 2008 at 10:05 PM  

    Thanks for being so candid. Its amazing how much our childhood's influence our present.

  7. CrystalGB // April 7, 2008 at 3:33 PM  

    Thank you for sharing. I grew up very poor too. I can relate to what you are saying. I am scared of being broke so I hoard money and drive my spouse nuts.

  8. Chicky // April 7, 2008 at 6:29 PM  

    its inspiring thank you for sharing..

  9. hank // April 8, 2008 at 12:46 AM  

    I think that's why a lot of us start blogging in the first place, it's a good way to get it out without feeling caught up with what people think of you... I think I write for the same reason... ;) Good story.

  10. Living Almost Large // April 8, 2008 at 6:36 PM  

    Sigh, I get it as well. And trust me money in the bank is always king. Until all payments are gone you still gotta pay them.

    Sometimes I think I'm frazzled about money because I think bad thoughts about my mom and I.

  11. MoneyBlogga // April 9, 2008 at 12:09 PM  

    Growing up hand-to-mouth, I can relate to your post. You were smart, though, and broke the cycle while you were young. That's not always an easy thing to do because, well, you only "know what you know". Kudos to you for realizing what you had to do to break the cycle of poverty. I completely understand your rationale re: keeping savings vs. paying off debt - I too would rather have the money where I can see it "just in case".

  12. TrishaAllen.com // April 9, 2008 at 12:27 PM  

    Hey, SGM, I hope you make it BIG! You deserve all the success in the world. I'm sure your mom is very proud of what you've accomplished!