I’m woefully behind on my blog like crazy as my life always jumps off when I decide/agree to blog daily as a challenge. At the same time I agreed to blog daily, I started rehearsals for a musical from 6p-1a after leaving my day job at from 8-4 each day. Whose idea was that? I thought I could handle it. The show is up and running and I have half of my life back.
Howsenever aka however, I’ve finally gotten enough quiet time and space in my head to write at least one of the prompts that stuck out in my head. What legacy do I want to leave? My family is a traditional one. Or not. Mom and dad married at 21, divorced after 23 yrs of marriage only to jump right back in and remarry 2 yrs ago. Crazy right? Anyhoo, when my parents pass away, several lessons will stick with me that they taught me when I was young up until now. My faith in Christ is largely because of the impact of their teachings and beliefs. My father the pastor, my mother the Sunday School teacher living life by the word of God. So my values are always at the forefront of my decision-making. But with every family, there are things that the kids want to do differently. And with me, I still expect my faith as a part of any relationship I’m in involved in. But also, financial literacy is the greater goal that I know I have to work towards particularly in my fam.
My parents didn’t talk about finances openly when my brother and I were growing up so learning about money was definitely trial a hit or miss situation for me. I remember asking to work as a teen, and my parents both saying no. ??? I wanted to work and earn my own money, but they wanted me to focus on school. ugh.They always had money, but I wasn’t sure what they did with it or how they kept it. There were rough patches as my dad lost his job, and my mom became the breadwinner. Still didn’t really know the deets of it all.
Now, as a 30-something, single woman, I still struggle with my finances. I do really well saving, and then something always happens. Whether it’s a family emergency and I need to get home, or spending emotionally when something crazy happens in my relationships, money has always been the one thing I don’t have control over. I remember my getting my first credit card in college the Capital One card. I bought clothes, and racked up the limit before I realized what a limit was. Then I got a Discover card, which I racked up again. A mess. I worked a couple of years as a teacher then spent my first job’s retirement just because I wanted extra money over the summer. Total irresponsibility. And the biggest thing that affects me now is the loans I’m paying back for grad school. It was my choice, but it seems like the choice that I’m always struggling with. I won’t dare share the amount I owe, as you and I may pass out, but I digress. It’s a lot and if I had the choice, I would not do it again. But lesson learned, right?
The legacy I want to leave for my family is living debt free and creating wealth while still remaining believers in the power of giving. I’ve always believed in tithing, but somehow didn’t also set aside the same amount for me. Realizing that if nothing changes, nothing changes, I have to do better. I still tithe, but also have become aggressively focused on ME. In the church you sometimes get it twisted because the pastor will think nothing of asking for an additional offering to raise money, but I didn’t have that same committment to my own building fund. I’m wiser now and realize that God wants responsible stewards, not fools giving what we don’t have or overextending ourselves just to appear faithful. (that’s a whole nother something) but we will talk about that later. I have retirement taken out each week, but now have the goal of taking care of my parents when they get too old to care for themselves. Both are retirement age, and I want to make sure they are also cared for when it comes to medical concerns. Sure, they have their own money, but when my mom got sick almost 2 years ago, I was flying out-of-town almost every month. So my emergency account needs to have enough padding for things like this and I don’t want it named Visa or Amex which it was at the time she was ill. So conquering the demons that led me to the mall when I’m upset is really important. I’m better now as I’ve cut up the two credit cards I had and have started back paying on the loan front. But I’m nowhere near where I near the goal. Am I ready to retire? NO. But I’m being more responsible and want to pass that on to my family. I don’t want my loans to fall on anyone, and I don’t want to be a burden to anyone. To this day, my dad still doesn’t share his money woes, and I have no idea if it’s pride or that no one taught him. Either way, I feel like it’s time to stop hiding the family secrets and being ashamed of what we don’t know. We have every tool we need to prosper and I want my legacy to be a blessing, not a burden that I couldn’t grab a hold of because of a lack of discipline or shame.
What legacy do you want to leave and how are you following through?