Sunday, October 28, 2007

My financial learning

So recently (over the past 6 months), I have some to realize my own financial cluelessness. (Don't worry, obviously not in the same ball park as my father.) It's amazing. I went to school for 6 years and had only a single 45 min lecture on personal/ family finance. Back in June, we got a copy of our credit report. I was absolutely shocked. We were paying mass quantities of our income in debt, not including student loans or our home. Our payments were equal to our mortgage payment. It didn't really even know how it happened. (I have since slowly come to understand. Ironically- Most of it came out of simple ignorance and not knowing how to plan.) Fortunately, we had a copy of "Transforming Debt into Wealth" by John Cummuta. I had listened to it before, and we had made modifications accordingly, but I guess this time, we were ready. Basically, he presents a plan similar to "One for the money" that the church publishes. Only this program provides a lot more education in the process. Well, 6 months later, we have recovered much of those resources, and by April, we will have recovered the remainder. And in the process of our learning, we have discovered something amazing.... the path to financial security and freedom. I think there's some hope for us.

Even better, if we stay on target and don't loose our way, Ian will have something I don't have... Parents to are comfortable in their retirement- and can take care of his college- so he can focus on doing great things with his life.

Maybe, in the distant future, we will even be stable enough to make a real difference for my father. In the meantime, I'm satisfied with learning to manage finances myself. It's already made a huge difference.

Financial learning- my father

My dad said something once that hit me. He said, "I made good money at times, I just never saved for a rainy day." It's true. He really was doing well at times, but it did him no good. He refused to learn about finances. He NEVER managed his own finances. He always delegated them to someone else and refused to learn. He has paid the price.

But the problem is, so have his children. He dropped us off at my aunts door when I was 13 and just never made it back. It was a sess pool. Both my brother and I were seriously taken advantage of. My brother far more than me. Now that my father is older, he wants those years back- both the one's when he was an absent workaholic and when he abdicated those responsibilities. Well, their gone.

Wow. I sure am venting here. There really is a point to all of this. Financial responsibility is important. Without it, a person can loose everything.

What sucks most of all, is that I know that I will be supporting that guy in his retirement years. What a huge, scarey burden it is to know that I will need to not only save for my own childrens' college and my retirement, but also for my father's in 15 years. That's right. The same jerk that hasn't supported me since I was 13. If he had his way, I would also be supporting him through his early retirement years (now.)

Honestly, it's selfish. You mismanage your finances your whole life and I get to feel bad about myself for not being able to fix your problems in the present, and get to carry your financial burden and rob from my children's security in the future. Thanks Dad.

All right, just a couple of months ago, I would have given him ample merit for his contributions to my life- giving me the gospel. But honestly, recently he has burned me deeply. Sorry for the venting session.

Financial learning- my father

Over the past 6 months or so, I have spent a lot of time learning about finances. I've come to understand that I, like most people have been completely clueless on the subject. It's amazing that a person can go through 6 years of school and only have a single lecture about personal/family financial management.

I look at my father. the man has worked hard all of his life. 12 hour days. He truly is and has always been a workaholic. Yet, he still lives in abject poverty. Truly abject poverty. It's terrible. I feel bad about myself every time I go to visit him. He lives in an old broken down trailor in a row of trailors out in the middle of no where. I lived there when I was 15. There was plywood to keep us from falling through the floor, and ripped plastic to fight the cold wind from getting through the broken window. It was colder inside in the winter than outside. We had to boil water to take a bath. My step sister later became bald because of the water we were drinking.

Well, now he's moved next door, to a slightly nicer trailor, only for his situation to become far worse. He got really hurt at work several years ago. Since then, he's only been able to get spotty work - from a guy that usually doesn't pay him. He's survived only off of the church. Most of my step-mom's 5 kids, their kids, and their kids are all living there and mooching off of my mostly unemployed father. None with jobs and several doing drugs. It's a mess. It's a virtual sess pool, where everyone meets the minimum of their potential.

I have, of course, given him money from time to time to help out , but it hasn't made a lick of difference. I could hand the man 50k tomorrow (if I had it) and it still wouldn't improve their circumstances. They might pay off the trailor, but the money saved would just get sucked away by the sess pool.

Having grown up partially in that environment, I know how much they despise "rich" people (aka- even folks who are in lower middle class ranks are "rich" to them.). I know that I now qualify as "rich". I feel miserable about myself every time I think about my father.... I'm comfortable. Maybe if I shared, we would both be ok. But the truth is, it doesn't work that way. (see the previous paragraph).

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Ian's Second Birthday

Here's the video from Ian's birthday party.