“Look at my choices Mija, and be sure to make better ones.” This is what my mother used to say to me when I was young. I was a happy and precocious child and my mother took great care of me. She made our home a place of love, laughter, learning, and music. Then our lives took a financial turn for the worse.
I’ve always hated talking about money. Growing up in a rich family, I learned through the behavior of those around me that money and materialism were evil. Instead of being used in love and service, money was weaponized and became a tool to manipulate and control behavior.
Growing up as a little girl in Brooklyn, I had no idea that we were low to middle income. Our community was rich and full. We loved and respected each other, our neighbors and our friends. We never talked about money but somehow we managed to “manage.” Then at age 11, I experienced what not having money meant.
My money story began in a middle-class neighborhood in the suburbs of Seattle. My father was a teacher and worked evenings selling financial products to bring in additional income. My mom stayed home and raised three children. My parents modeled frugality in their money choices: reusing and getting the maximum life out of everything from clothes to tools.
“What creates financial success?” “How do you move from zero savings to financial security?” Those were my burning questions for many years. Now, things have improved personally. We have a city home and a country cabin. The desire to own a home and to have financial security springs from being homeless for a while in my teens.