I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the question: “What’s the difference between being poor and being broke?”
To me, being poor means there’s no money to begin with while being broke means there was some money and it is no longer there.
They both completely suck.
And while being “broke” and being “poor” are two different things (that both suck) there are some certain similarities.
No matter how much money you make if you don’t manage it well it doesn’t really matter how much you have to begin with. You’ll go back to being poor or go back to being broke if the habits and thoughts associated with the money doesn’t grow and morph too.
Are those that are born poor and raised poor destined to continue to be poor?
Are those that are born into a broke family and raised broke destined to remain broke?
How many of our thoughts about money are inherited by those who raised us? Seeing money being spent a certain way and saved (or not saved) a certain way and it’s easy to follow suit.
Money wasn’t talked about in our house (at least not with the kids). I knew when we had money and things were “okay” because I got to hear “yes” a little more often then the word “no”. How were my thoughts about money shaped by money being a “closed door” topic? Should money matters be discussed with kids? Or is that an adult conversation? What about with teenagers? I not saying parents should bust out with some financial chit-chat and jargon to a couple of 5 year olds but I have to wonder if a conversation or continued conversations about responsible spending and money might be a good idea? My parents told me “no” when it was their money I wanted to spend but when it came to my money, it was my money. Also, my parents probably talked to me about money more than I realized. That’s totally possible. And, maybe I’m hard-headed and had to learn about money by messing up with money. That’s totally possible too.
I learned how to write a check in 7th grade by a teacher with big, curly blonde hair. She had a New York accent and said I was Norwegian once (I’m not). It was exciting to see this sneak into adult life by writing pretend checks in a 3rd floor middle school classroom.
This is what I knew about checkbooks at the time: the checkbook lived in my moms purse, it enabled them to buy groceries, and a maybe a Jaclyn Smith t-shirt from K-mart for the start of school, if I was lucky. I remember wracking my brain trying to figure out how people paid for places to live and food and clothes and cars and everything else. Were they secret millionaires??!! I figured they must be because it just didn’t add up. Money was a complete mystery.
So, how much of it is our responsibility to break free from the financial comfort level we grew up with? What’s the key to changing camps? My classic American thinking tells me that if I can be better I should be better and if I can have more I should have more and bigger and the best because something is wrong if I don’t have that or don’t want that. Not wanting the bigger and the best isn’t even considered as an option by most.
If we’re poor does that mean debt is inevitable? Can we go from being poor to being debt-free? I think so. Can we go from being broke to being debt-free? I know so.
What do you think? What is the difference between being broke and being poor? And, do you think you’re destined to be a certain way financially based on your upbringing?
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