Going with the Flow

I liked what I was doing and thinking about last week so much that I am going to keep looking at it this week too. But first I need to explain why I am taking this approach to Personal Finance blogging. I am never very comfortable telling people what to think or what to do. I can give advice but I’d much rather listen and then feed back questions that can help see the topic more clearly.

I don’t can food, nor go out of the way to put together recipes, though I am an excellent cook. I prefer to keep things simple. Steamed veggies, I fill the pot and then eat the leftovers for lunch or dinner until they’re gone. The same with pasta or with a beef stew in a crock pot. But here’s the thing. I could pretend that you’ve never heard of this stuff and write about like Oh here’s a great idea. But it would be a pretense. In life and in my cooking, I season to taste, my taste. I laugh when people ask me how I cooked such a great meal because for me everything is based in experience. First hand.

I read a lot of fiction, and, since T. and I started investing, I am discovering that non fiction writers have become much more literary in their style. Possibly because first person writing has, since the 1990’s, been what has been taught in the public school English classes. Or maybe it’s because memoir writing has become so popular. But I have found over the years that the more often I recommend a book the less often it gets read. I think its because most people don’t like to be told what they should like. Either way, I prefer to tell people about what I’m reading if I am asked or if I feel the need to understand it better myself by writing about it here. Then people can take it or leave it be.

As far as personal finance goes, I know what happened to me as I grew older. There was a time when money was scarce and we ate a lot of potatoes. That was when my family was a wife, a new son, then a new daughter and I was really stretching myself thin between trying to support us and finish college. Then we added a third son. I walked to work, we used the bus if we needed to travel around town, and lived with the entertainment of the radio. Luckily, for us, radio was really good in those days, with jazz hours and radio plays and sports announcers who could let you see the game through their words. And then we had FM before it went commercial. Just about the time I finished my schooling we got a car but I had learned a powerful lesson. You can do what you have to do especially if you are willing to finance it with your own sweat equity. Though I would have laughed in those days if anyone would have suggested such a term for what I was doing working three jobs and going to grad school too.

But though I learned that banks don’t help poor people, credit lending companies do, I didn’t learn the big lesson about finance all at once. I learned that something in my upbringing taught me to better myself, though I can’t really pin down what the something was. After ten years of marriage, we decided that we had different plans, my wife and I, and we went our separate but equal ways. That’s when I began to discover what kind of a parent I was, as one son, the oldest, stayed with me and the other two came to visit on the weekends and during the summers.

I grew up mentally in the 70’s. I learned that I liked letting people make their own decisions as a teacher and as a parent. I learned that living with the consquences was the best way for independence to develop for all concerned.

Meanwhile, I began living a life from day to day. I worked ten months of the year so I could spend my summers on the beach. I fell back on the old days of no car, no tv, no phone. I rode a 10 speed bike or walked or hitched. I used Grey Hound. But I didn’t save for the future beyond each year. I spent it all. Alimony, child support, rent, food and 20% of each monthly check into a savings account for the summer months. Carpe Diem!

Of course, that all ended when I decided to remarry.
To be continued . . .

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