Today was a work day. But there is a lot of work at home. I’ve been doing lots of different things, trying to focus on becoming a homemaker. This is why the blog timeline is “finding my way home”.
Generally speaking I have not been a good homemaker, at least not from my perspective. I have not maintained my home, my finances, and even myself. Nearly two years ago, I realized that more than anything that is what I want to do now, at this point in my life. Is it too late?
My parents did not teach us anything about money. I think that is true for a lot of people, and I believe that is a big part of the reason that my attitude about money is what it is. I have two memories that stand out.
When I was probably 6 years old, we lived in our grandmother’s house in Groveland, Florida. I think my dad had left my mother. It was Christmas and the house was decorated, including a Christmas tree. When my mom was asking us what we wanted for Christmas, I asked her what she wanted. In a word, she said “Money”. My 6 year old self took that literally, gathered all my coins together, wrapped them in notebook paper, and placed the package under the tree for my mom. My mom put lots of gifts under the tree for us. I kind of remember her opening her gift, but I don’t remember her response.
We weren’t rich, but we weren’t dirt poor. Probably lower middle class? I don’t know. We didn’t have a lot of money for sure, and so there was a lot of anxiety and tension around money. But we didn’t talk about money. Ever.
When I was 17, I had my first job. It was the summer after my first year of college. When I got my first bank statement, a friend sat me down and showed me how to balance my checkbook and reconcile my account. Wow, I thought it was so cool. I loved balancing and reconciling.
Over the years, money was usually tight. I was on my own at 16, put myself through college and grad school. I did have student loans, but also grants and small scholarships. I also worked. I did not understand the value of money, or really anything about finances.
Somewhere along the way, I did go into debt. But I dug my way out. Then I got married. We had different viewpoints about money. There is a long story there for another time. In short, we just did not see eye to eye about a lot of things, including finances. We paid off our debt, but we were not able to save anything.
Now I am in a different place emotionally and with a different person. We do see eye to eye. Together we are working to build a secure financial foundation. It’s actually exciting and fun. We are making mistakes, but learning so much.
We plan to retire soon. We have a little saved. We did get rid of our smaller debts, but have some big ones that we need to pay off. We both have retirement plans.