What my parents taught me about money

Chokers are back in style.

The jewelry, not the fetishists. Although I wouldn’t know which fetishes are hot right now. I googled “fetish trends” and it’s just too much. Something about laying alien eggs inside yourself.

I went to the bank and opened an investment account to save for baby F’s education. Banks are so invasive with their questions. There’s no good reason for them to ask for an estimate of my liquid and illiquid assets. They just ask because they can.

The estimate of my illiquid assets is zero dollars.

For someone so apparently ungrounded, I sure don’t feel that way. Taking care of an infant seven days a week. Monitoring her favourite game: Find a Strangulation Device. Shoelace, computer cord, baby monitor cord, ribbon, drawstring.

In my financial life though, I have all the freedom.

The bank asked for my salary. Which I told them, even though every day I’m not sure if I’m going back to my Old Job, Old Life. It was fun, pretending to be that person for a moment. Casually providing my employer information, basking in the powerful social currency that is having a paid job.

Feeling so tangible, so relevant, perched so tidily in the webbing of a company with a title and a paycheck. I glimpsed myself wearing clothing that wasn’t doubling as a baby’s kleenex.

Maybe a tasteful choker.

I googled “fetish define“. Noun. a course of action to which one has an excessive and irrational commitment.

I think about the money fetish. I know a lot of people with it. They are easy to judge – their excessive and irrational commitment to  making it, spending it, looking and acting like they have it.

Materialism is so boring.

But I’m not above all that, as much as I’d like to be. I’m just more turned on by the security it brings. Stock piling it in a prudent fashion.

The internet thinks Forever21 went too far with their latest neckwear. I say most things at Forever21 go too far: example. Where is the subtlety?

Growing up I felt we never had enough. Not going on school trips because of the cost, shopping exclusively at thrift stores, only buying no name foods, reusing milk bags for sandwiches instead of buying zip locks. Never seduced by shiny new things, unnecessary decoration or trends.

Now that I’m an adult those choices feel reasonable, practical and wise. But that lens of Lack they left me with – it lingers.

So I take all the right steps. With the education savings and the hand me downs for baby F. I choose to build financial security to avoid choking myself with fear and anxiety. This is the mark my upbringing left on me.

It could be worse. Maybe this phone I’m writing on is the most expensive thing I own. Maybe I am overly wrapped up in  the comfort and identity of my work, my living. But all that creates space for other things. Better risks. More interesting fetishes. Personal style. Radical evolution. Space to breathe.

3 thoughts on “What my parents taught me about money

  1. Many people stumble through life never stopping to ask WHY they’re making the choices they do, esp. around money. I always made retirement a priority (no kids) and sure hope I live long enough in good health to do it and enjoy it! If not, my husband will have an even nicer one with my savings. 🙂 I’ve stayed in a 1 bdrm apt for 27 years and drive a 15 yr old car…but I get to live a life I value.

    1. Yes it takes guts to make those conscious choices, especially when there’s so much noise about newer, bigger, better everything. I hope you have a long and lovely retirement, when the time comes!

      1. The “newer, better” just means….spend more $$$$. We don’t make enough to waste it AND save, so that decision was pretty easy. I hope so, too. 🙂

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