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21st Century Lesbian Trailer Trash

These are the mad musings of a middle aged woman, dyke, nurse, poet. I have a dog, a cat, a mobile home, and delusions of grandeur.

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Location: California, United States

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Financial Freedom

If you look on the left hand side of this blog, about halfway down, you will see a category of links entitled Women & Financial Freedom. It's something I have never truly achieved. Probably because I have never liked money.

It took me decades to recognize that money is about much more than filthy lucre. Money is about power and independence and having the means to do the things in life that one would like to do.

In my family, money was a dirty word and a family secret. I remember having to beg for money to buy Kotex when I was 15. Supposedly, I should have planned for this monthly event and saved for it. I don't remember the price of Kotex in 1964 but I do remember that my allowance was 70 cents a week. This was the event that caused my stepfather to realize that my allowance needed to be raised to $1.50.

That and a couple of other incidents served to take money and wrap it around a neat little package of guilt and shame for being female. In this respect, I can thank my parents for turning me into a flaming feminist.

They didn't understand money either, however. My stepfather, a privileged only child of older, well to do parents, thought that all of his problems were due to having too much money and resolved to live poor. Never mind that his parents bought his house and his car and bailed him out every Christmas.

My mother grew up on the heels of the depression. 'Nuff said there.

I dutifully walked through life with financial blinders on, believing that I was at the mercy of fate and circumstance.

Here is my advice: Don't go there. Women have as much capacity to understand money as do men. Educate yourself even if you don't yet have great earning power. Even if you don't like the idea of money. Even if you believe yourself to be financially retarded. Even if you don't have a job outside the home with a paycheck.

Even if money doesn't interest you.

You might win the lottery. But lottery winners who don't understand money are notorious for losing millions. I think that the trick just might be that you have to rule your money instead of letting your money, or your lack of it, rule you.

6 Comments:

Blogger just me said...

Good advice! I have lived at both spectrums (having none and having a lot) and honestly for me, the only difference is what I have made of it. The only thing I worry about financially at this point is teaching my daughters, pretty much what you just said.

9:49 AM PDT  
Blogger Syd said...

What a fantastic post, Pam. I learn a great deal from you.

You know that I lean a little to the right and I'm an unashamed capitalist. But, it helps to understand why some people think the way they do.

11:56 AM PDT  
Blogger NursePam said...

You bring up a good point JM. My sister worked hard to give some balance and perspective to her 3 daughters who grew up much more privileged than we did. She did not want them to grow up believing that having money was the most important thing in life, even though it's nice to have. Interestingly, there was a point at which the girls believed that, in comparison to their upper middle class neighbors, they were poor.

I think that each of the 3 girls view money a bit differently. But all of them understand the value of being able to earn their own money and to provide for themselves.

Thank you Syd. You know I love you even though you lean to the right. My whole famdamily are republican and I think they're terrific people. I come from a large midwestern farming family and historically, republicans support their way of life.

I am not anti capitalism. I am anti corporate greed; that is, making money whatever the cost to the planet and its inhabitants. But I understand that we have to find balance in all things.

8:56 PM PDT  
Blogger El G├╝ero said...

Good post. Money is a complicated thing. For me it doesn't buy an ounce of happiness but it does give me some choices.

I like Suze Orman. She's got some good books out and I enjoy watching her tv program.

1:41 AM PDT  
Blogger KMae said...

I'm broke, dammit.

10:08 AM PDT  
Blogger Francesca said...

Amen & 'nuff said, sister! I am so with you on this one!

(and I work as a financial consultant!!!...even WE ain't puuuurrfect!)

Hugs!

12:39 PM PDT  

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