Thursday, July 24, 2014

Do Poor People Not Understand Money?

I guess the obvious reason might be yes. Yes, poor people do not understand money--that is why they are poor.

But of course it is more complicated than that. There are a lot of economic and social reasons that people are poor. Minimum wage, lack of child care, lack of education, and family support, etc.

This is not what this post is about.

I am just talking about how poor people handle money. Like do they handle it well? Waste it? Or what?

I remember on one episode of Mad Men, Don Draper's first wife, who is from an affluent family, said when she realized that her husband was a fake and from a poor family--"Well, I knew you didn't know how to handle money."

The thought jarred me. I had never thought of ability to handle money in that way.

Recently, a friend of mine, also from an affluent family, said this same thing about her husband, who is from a poor background. "When you are poor, you don't know how to handle money."

Again, I felt jarred. Why?

I think it is because I have been a bad money handler most of my life. I am not from a poor family. So, I guess I wondered about the correlation.

I guess the idea is that if you don't come from money, you don't know what to do with it. You don't have experience with it, because you have never had it.

But couldn't it also be that you are poor at handling money, because you have some depression or other problem like that? I think that is more my problem. I am single, and I probably spend more money than I should, because that is how I see my friends--that is  my social life. And through the years, I have bought things and gone on trips when I shouldn't have to make me feel better. To fill a void in my life.

But I am fighting the good fight. And I think I am winning. Slowly. I better! Because I don't want the alternative to keep on making bad money mistakes.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Bag Lady Syndrome--I Am Not Immune

I discovered the term --Bag Lady Syndrome--when I skimmed my local paper tonight. I have never heard the term before, but I think I have it. It is a fear of ending up a bag lady.

Anyone can feel this way. The article went onto explain that women from every walk of life can have this fear--the very rich to the poor. No one is immune.

Part of the syndrome is realistic. You see homeless people on the street, many of them women. There have been a multitude of stories since 2008 about people losing their jobs, sometimes coupled with gargantuan medical bills, losing their savings, their homes, and ending up on the street.

So, there is a possibility. But how likely is it to happen to you? To me? Apparently, I am not alone in being a woman and worrying about this outcome.

Is it because women make less money and tend to  have a more precarious financial position? Is it because we are less risk takers with money, and therefore make less on investments? Are women generally still too dependent on their spouse's income and don't pay enough attention to their own careers? A combination?

Another article I read on the subject tonight talked about some of this being evolutionary. That the fear of being left behind is built into women.

Maybe it is not so bad to worry a little. You don't want to create a financial mess that will make becoming a bag lady a sure thing. But you also don't want to worry about it too much.

I guess the answer is to take a periodic reality check, and make changes if necessary. Spend less. Save more. Get better paying jobs. Increase skills to be more marketable. Etc. All of these will help keep the bag lady at bay.



Back in Business

Oh my goodness--I see it has been over a year since I posted. And I am so sorry. I love my blog, and I love my readers. I haven't meant to be away so long.

And indeed, I didn't need to be gone so long. A lot has happened. I have a new job. Actually, I am self employed and am an independent contractor. And that has a lot of good and bad aspects, both of which I will go into later.

But with this new job, comes new financial challenges. And these are on top of my old financial challenges! Yes, I am still not a financial genius. Imagine that.

One good thing is that maybe this new job has awoken me to more financial responsibility. Really? I hope so. It feels like.

I have woken up to some things I have to do. Save money. Stop having overdrafts. Try to pay bills in full and not have payment plans with interest. Pay things off as soon as possible.

Certainly not rocket science. And certainly things I knew before. But now maybe I am really feeling it? I hope so.

Monday, March 18, 2013

When You Need Debt Help

In my last post, I talked about how I am just a couple of months away from being debt free. What a blessing. And what a long time coming. I never thought I would be here, to be honest.

I know the shame. The stress. The endless collection calls and letters. The inability to pay the bills. Or to get a new credit card. The worry about maybe not being able to buy a new car when you really need one because of a low credit score. Or any number of scenarios. The worry about meeting a guy and maybe his rejecting you because of your financial problems. Your never getting ahead. And seeing money just go down the drain.

I realized I needed debt help. I listened to radio shows, read books, blogs, magazine articles, everything I could get my hands on about conquering debt. Things didn't start happening until I became obsessed with getting out of debt. I wasn't perfect, but I got on payment plans, didn't take out any new credit, was more deliberate with spending money. And I saw my balances go down. Not my life looks a lot brighter and my future more secure.

Count Down To Debt Free!

I can't believe it, but it is true. I am only a few months from being debt free (except my car). It is such a dream. I remember when I was years away from this goal. And was tens of thousands of dollars in debt. I am proof that it can happen. You just have to get to the point where you are sick to your stomach about your debt. And really want to change. And never live like this again.

Will I be smarter about my money from here out? You better believe it. Will I ever be in debt again? Over my dead body. Will I have a better life. Absolutely. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

I Am Getting Closer To Being Debt Free!

I am so happy! I am very close to being debt free. Just four years ago, I had what seemed to be an insurmountable amount of debt, and now I am within 10 months of paying it all off. Or maybe sooner. I had five credit cards, all with pretty high balances, so my monthly payment for all of them was pretty high.

I have paid off one card, and am a couple of months from paying off another one. Then another one a few months later. And then another one a few months after that. The last one will be paid off in 10 months, but I am hoping sooner, as I can apply my extra money I will have to this last one. I will not know what to do with myself with all of that extra money. (Save it and invest in, I hope!)

At this point, I do not need this, but I thought I might need debt help early on. There are firms all around the U.S. and also in Canada that can help with debt settlement. Debt can be such a burden, and so many people, including me, have lived under its toll. I urge everyone who is in debt to make a plan to get debt free as soon as possible.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Celebration Time: I Paid Off A Credit Card!

I paid off a credit cars last week. Pop the champagne! It is truly exciting for me as debt has definitely been a yoke around my shoulders. The balance was $140.00 and I paid it off on online.

The sad part is that is the punt I first paid for the piece of exercise equipment I bought at k- kart a decade ago.

A decade ago. Those are sad words. Since then I have paid a couple of thousand dollars in late fees and interest. Never to get it back and nothing to show for it. To make matters worse, I could never get the equipment assembled correctly and never used it.

Looking back, I can't believe it. Where was my head? Not screwed on right obviously.

But things are looking up. At least it is paid off now. And I will pay off another one in a few months. And the other cards will be paid off within the year. Much better than when I had five years to pay it all off. Never to do again.