GUEST STORY: OVERCOMING MONEY TRAUMA
We met Scott last October FinCon18 . He reached out to us and asked us to do a guest post on his blog about Why We Quit Our 6 Figure Jobs to Travel in Van. We were honored, obviously, but as I spent some time wandering around Scott's site I was so impressed by his own personal money story that I just had to share it with you all!
Written By: Scott from Simplifinances
Not everyone has to go through what I did growing up. And some people go through way harder things.
My parents were divorced when I was 8. It was a difficult divorce that caused my father not to be in my life. My dad was never good with money. He had accumulated over $1 million in debt by the time the divorce came and that forced my parents to file for bankruptcy.
My mom raised me and my four siblings by herself. We lived with extended family and government support until we could get back on our feet.
I learned how to save money and work hard from a young age because I wanted to create a future for myself. I wanted to be good with money because I didn’t want my future wife and kids to go through what I did.
How I overcame money trauma from the past
The way that I overcame some of the trauma from my past was getting really educated. I read books and listened to audiobooks and I ultimately learned that I was the one responsible for my future. No one else. Just because I didn’t grow up rich or come from a wealthy family, it doesn’t matter. I’ve been blessed having gone through what I did because it forced me to be stronger and it forced me to be smart with my money, even from a young age.
You can’t change the past. And dwelling on the past won’t change your circumstances. It’s better to look toward the future with optimism. The key is to become aware of what happened in your past, acknowledge it and move on.
How I address money conversations with your spouse (and how that has grown over the years)
I’ve always been a frugal person and very interested in personal finance.
My wife and I started out our marriage with good conversations about money because we both managed our money the same way and we didn’t have a lot of expenses. Before we got married, I managed my money a certain way and then she started doing it as well. And that’s when I knew I had to marry her.
We maintained the status quo of saving 10% and not going into debt.
But then I discovered the FIRE movement and started listening to the ChooseFI podcast at the end of 2017, I learned that there are other people out there like me pursuing the same dream of financial independence! I went far down the rabbit hole and I’m still learning new things and meeting new people. It’s been a great community to be a part of.
We’ve since had more arguments about money because I’m the one switching things up and trying to be more optimized and she’s left thinking, “hold up mister.”
The year that I learned about FI, we had a baby, we moved to another state, I started a new job and I started grad school. Dealing with all of those life changes while at the same time learning about financial independence has made it difficult to avoid difficult money conversations with my wife.
It’s a learning process and things will continue to get better as our goals align more and more for the future.
What I'd recommend to someone who grew up in a difficult money environment (whether poverty, divorce, trauma, etc)
If you grew up in a poor home, or a poor neighborhood or your parents went through a divorce or bankruptcy, maybe you’ve gone through a divorce or bankruptcy yourself, perhaps your parents ever taught you that rich people are greedy or that money is the root of all evil, all of these things can affect your financial blueprint. But here’s the hard truth:
No one cares.
No one cares if you grew up poor. No one cares if your parents were bad with money, and no one cares about your financial situation like you might think they do.
You may be comparing yourself with someone else thinking that you aren’t doing as good and you use your past experiences to justify the situation you’re in.
You’re the only one that has the ability to change and own your future. No one else is going to do it for you. So take it upon yourself to learn about personal finances and work hard and look for ways that you can eventually become financially independent.
If you’d like to learn more about how to take control of your finances sign up for my Free 7-day Financial Fitness Email Course!