TIMES IS HARD OUT HERE
When you’re a kid, possibilities seem endless. You can travel the world, work the coolest jobs and live in dopest spot all with seemingly endless financial resources. I’ll be transparent – this dream always seemed far fetched to me since I grew up in a very humble home. My mom was a single parent and almost everything I have I have worked for myself. I can remember hitting 12 and being stoked that I could babysit for cash. Eventually I got to high school and worked my way through school. Junior year I worked 3 part time jobs, in addition to going to school full time and making honor roll, to save up for a car. That immigrant ambition was strong with me. Throughout college I struggled to work full time, plot out a career, make enough money to pay for school and be in a band. It’s amazing how much raw, determined energy you have in your youth. Energy is endless and money just seems like fuel to the fire of fun, nothing to serious but you’re accustomed to being blissfully broke. Some people I knew grew up rich and had this endless stream of loot coming in, giving them the ability to do as they pleased. I never knew that luxury and there isn’t one day that passes that I don’t think about what my life would have been like had I grown up rich. I worked those 3 jobs in high school to pay for my shitty ass first car, which at the time, seemed like the biggest investment on Earth. As crappy as it was, I prided on the fact that it was paid for with money I earned from my blood, sweat and tears (and very little sleep). As they say, people from money make money. This is probably due to the fact that they don’t have to break their back for every single thing like the rest of us. Can’t you tell, I’m not bitter. Not at all…
Money is everyone’s dirty little secret. I’ve seen it destroy lives, trust, friendships and even families. It’s ironic that the more you make, the more you “need.” This year I lost a job and a huge chunk of my income. Within that time, I also decided to move to Brooklyn which in comparison to Jersey City was a 1/3rd more in rent. So many expenses, so little time, energy and resources to balance it out. Now, everyone falls on hard times and you either prep the noose or put it all into perspective. I chose to take this as incentive to find other ways to make extra loot. It also made me realize how little I saved away when I was making a ton of cash. Someone recently asked me what my biggest regret of my 20′s was and without a doubt it was mismanaging my money. I could have saved a small fortune and instead I spent it on booze, good times (few of which I regret by the way), clothes that I never wore or have already thrown out, food I could have cooked and a plethora of other unnecessary vices. At almost 31, it burns me to think about my irresponsibility in that area. But then again, who would I have fell back on for money? My family is not rich, my career has unpredictable pay and my pride is way too high to ask anyone for money. This isn’t just my story, this is the story of many working class folks I have had the pleasure of working with over the years. We grind, we don’t complain and we have too much pride to not take financial freedom seriously.
It never once crossed my mind to have my parents exclusively pay for anything in my life without payback. Not to say people who have that ability are wrong or weak, but there is something to be said about learning how to stand on your own. My parents have always been willing to financially help me when I’m in need but it’s an extreme occasion that I will even ask for help. Times can get hard fast. People get sick, accidents happen, breakups occur and your financial well being can be compromised in a minute. It snuck up so hard on me in my early 20′s when I was living way beyond my means in order to be independent. My pride accelerated the need to be financially autonomous and it got me into some big trouble. Things got so bad that eventually I went bankrupt. Yep, chapter 11 at 23. Here I am 8 years later and it’s almost mind blowing that I’ve lived without a credit for so long but it’s a better world without it. I’ve finally decided to get a card again to rebuild because in America, you’re nothing without credit. The promise of potential money is too great and the gains for others too imminent. Either way having more money, utilizing it correctly and thinking about the future can prevent you a lot of pain years later. Now, all I need to do is marry rich and I’ll be set for life