How did your family handle becoming rich/poor?
October 4, 2018 6:45 AM   Subscribe

Did your family (or someone you know) go through steep financial changes? Such as being from a middle-class lifestyle and ending up on welfare or going from being poor to being rich? How did your family manage the transition?
posted by huskerdont to Work & Money (18 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
When this happened to my family, I was too young for a lot of this to be visible to me. My early childhood was just me and my single mother, who was "I can afford to pay the rent or the heating bill, but not both, so we're going to sit in the dark and be very quiet when the landlord comes knocking and pretend we're not here" broke. (My bio-dad was not paying child support, her parents were terrible people, she was a schoolteacher and thus not exactly raking in the big bucks.) Over the course of my childhood she married my stepfather, they started a business together, and they became extremely successful. By my high school years they were maybe upper middle class, maybe whatever "lower upper class" is? Very comfortable, at any rate, and money was never an issue in the part of my childhood that I remember well.

I wasn't particularly aware of any of this at the time so I can't say much about how they managed the transition as it was happening.

What I can say is that the primary lingering aftereffect I've noticed into adulthood is that my mother came out of that transition with a very strong feeling that she had hit a streak of some hard work but mostly unbelievable luck, and that it was both her duty and her privilege to use some of that luck to help other people. I watched her throughout my childhood doing her best to find out what the people around her needed and to give it to them. And then as I grew up and started to have my own friends who were in trouble, she would (and still does) give me large sums of money to pass on to them. She's helped friends of mine pay emergency oil bills, put their kids through school, buy cars, avoid eviction, etc. She also feels really strongly, I suspect because of her own experiences with "help" from her parents, that such help should never come with strings, so she always makes it a gift, not a loan, and just asks that the helpee help someone else down the road when they're able to.

My stepfather, who I don't think ever had serious lean years the way my mom did, has always been either ignorant of or bemused by all of this. I don't think he understands at all what drives her to do it, and he doesn't object but also wouldn't do it on his own - he'd just write charity checks and be done with it. My mom does write charity checks but is also driven to help specific people in tangible ways, and I've noted that she has a special soft spot for single parents like she was.
posted by Stacey at 7:31 AM on October 4, 2018 [41 favorites]

I'm not sure if this is exactly what you're looking for in terms of managing the transition, but my perspective on experiencing this:

While growing up, my family followed a bell curve in fortunes. When I was elementary school, we had a lower-middle class lifestyle in suburban Chicago, with my dad working as a retail pharmacist and my mom staying at home with us three kids. By the time I was in middle school become a clinical trial coordinator in Massachusetts and then middle-high director in big pharma -- we lived in a fairly affluent suburb, my dad could spontaneously buy motorcycles, we went on our first international trip to Switzerland, etc. He left while I was in high school to try to start his own company, which failed, and by the time I went to college I was on a ~80% need scholarship. My parents divorced, and my mom became the primary caretaker of my sibling with an intellectual disability (with state support) until she moved out on her own (yay!), while my dad fucked off to South Texas. My mom now lives alone in a small apartment outside of Boston and works as a maid/domestic worker for a wealthy family.

I'm not sure if it would be correct to say affluence was horrible for my family, or more that it was the triggering factor in a larger story of abuse. My father was always an abusive alcoholic, but the particular demands of working a high-pressure Big Pharma job really amplified his cruelty and immaturity. The Big Pharma years were when he went from drinking wine in coffee mugs after dinner to drinking vodka in the garage before coming in the house. We moved frequently - six houses when I was between the ages of five and fourteen - in an attempt to keep chasing this escalating something. I was the youngest and in the system of our family, became the target of both my dad's anger and (much worse) his desire to be soothed through emotional and implicitly sexual rituals and touch. It's something that's profoundly affected my life, and that I'm to be honest only really working through in some ways right now.

Once my parents split, and I stopped seeing my dad, my mom started her slow journey in building up an independent life for herself. It's taken her years to find her confidence (and I continued to be that parentified support during that time). But gradually, our family transformed into something that felt much healthier. I don't miss those large, dark, unhappy houses we had at all. Instead, just as I myself have been figuring out my path as a single young adult in the world, my mom and sister have been building lives in cities, trying out new things and becoming regulars in little ways. When I think of the spirit of your question, I think about my mom continuing to have weekly coffees with mothers in that old suburb until realizing that she actually doesn't really get along with any of them any more. From my vantage point, I very much enjoy this more modest, happy family life - we've all moved so much that we have a kind of "home is wherever you are" and "enjoy the quality time in little moments" mentality.

The whole experience has definitely radically influenced my own perspective on money, the Good Life, and family (I mean I suppose there's no way it couldn't!) I certainly struggle with the idea of being ambitious or pursuing too many resources, and the idea of stability is very confusing and alluring for me (that is, should I make more money to have that stability, or would that turn me into this unhappy overworker like my dad? How do I build a happy, lowkey, thriving life?) I have absolutely zero interest in home ownership, car ownership, conspicuous consumption of any kind. It's also sometimes made for confusion when I sort of match the "code" for communicating with other upper-middle-class suburbanites, but don't have the same resources or knowledge base that some of my friends have (like a family home to come back to, financial support for medical issues or a downpayment or whatever). This was more relevant in college and just after, but surprises me when it's a background factor in my late twenties too! I'm totally find with it, and I just have to remind myself that people around me may or may not have little funds of money that enables them to make certain decisions, for instance. I'm very proud of all of the healing and self-discovery the members of my family have gone through, and that our family specifically centers strong women so much at this point.
posted by elephantsvanish at 7:40 AM on October 4, 2018 [10 favorites]

I lot of my friends are the children of immigrants who saved and worked a lot and have been able to retire comfortably middle-class thanks to rising home costs in Toronto (so they bought in the 80's and sold in the past decade). They avoided most of the lifestyle creep, still live simply, and seem to have handled it well. My friends were all raised with the same mindset of work hard and save as much money as you can and they are all doing well and I would say better than a lot of people who use credit to fund their lifestyles.

I grew up on welfare and now make a middle-class salary, but I have a lot of student loan debt. I find it strange sometimes to witness the disparity between my means now and my parents and there is guilt there. As a teenager once I had a job I'd lie to my mom about how much my jeans cost and she'd still gasp at spending $40 on a pair (that was really $80). I've had to teach myself how to manage money because growing up it was feast and famine and budgeting didn't make a ton of sense. I thought earning a decent salary would mean I could just buy whatever I want (ha!), but it means I can get out of debt and fund a reasonable and fulfilling lifestyle with some forethought and restraint. I struggle with that because I want my son to have everything I didn't growing up, like new clothes, new shoes, toys, spontaneous trips. My friend's parents who have retired wealthy waited years and years to remodel their homes and didn't have big flashy lifestyles, I am trying to take cues from their examples.
posted by lafemma at 8:23 AM on October 4, 2018 [5 favorites]

My sister went from sort of poor/career military family to surprisingly wealthy due to a mishap. It's been interesting to see how they've handled it. My different new cars, many harebrained business ideas, a random move for a slightly better job then moving back and being accidental landlords, adding a huge pool, many many guns, stuff like that. It's interesting that 'phase' finally wore off, and now they live like normal again, they just have more money for retirement and are spending on their educations and less on amusement, and their business ideas are getting better.
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:41 AM on October 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

This happened to my parents, who went from being low paid with no savings or help from family to middle class to "rich" (ie, upper middle class, but top 1% earners and assets).

They have no concept of "the time value of money" and no concept of "throw out what you're not using." Part of it is that they enjoy "hard work" so making an effort to do something instead of paying someone to do it makes a lot of sense. Paying extra to get something done faster rather than finding a bargain price for repairs/services that take longer makes no sense to them.

They're very conscious of what things "cost" in monetary terms (because that's what things were like for most of their lives), but are less concerned with what things cost in terms of time, effort, use of space, etc. They're responsible with money in the traditional sense but the (cliched/annoying) concept of "work smarter, not harder" is lost on them. They find the idea like cheating or somehow dishonest.
posted by bright colored sock puppet at 8:48 AM on October 4, 2018 [5 favorites]

A member of my family went from a lower-middle class job as an emergency responder to a multi-millionaire overnight by winning millions in a lottery. He did not handle it well. He spent tons of money showing off (drinks for bars full of strangers, ridiculous cars, jewellery). He dealt with a constant barrage of people wanting him to invest in various startups, and didn't have the knowledge to properly investigate, and lost lots. He also gave some away to family and others in need. Within 20 years he was bankrupt, lost his house. Now he should be retired but works as a security guard and lives in a small apartment.

From what I understand, this is not at all uncommon among lottery winners.
posted by Frenchy67 at 9:58 AM on October 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

To directly contradict Frenchy67 (although not intentionally, I swear!) - the one multi-millionaire lottery winner I know is actually....okay. It was the family who lived across the street from us, and back in 1989 they won what was then the biggest single lottery payout in Connecticut state history; $8 million. (I was there the night it happened - it was very exciting!)

One of the things that I think saved them is - they didn't get it all in a lump-sum right away. I don't even think they offered that as an option back then - instead they got about $300,000 a year for 20 years and got the payout that way. That was kind of a natural limit on their going too nuts with the money, I think; it's hard to blow your entire $8 million on Porsches if you only get it $300K at a time.

Also, they were just really smart and this incident happened at a really good time. Their daughter was at her first year in college, and their son was a sophomore in high school; so "how are we going to pay for college" was weighing on their mind already and "I guess this is how" was one of the first things they thought. Both husband and wife had been also contemplating career changes, and this let them do that; he went from working for the DCYS to going into local politics, and she went from being a nurse to being a court-appointed medical witness or something. Husband also had some family members in frail health he was starting to worry how to take care of - and this let him do that, and even let him round up the entire family and fly them all back to Poland, where his father was born, so his father could see a relative for the first time in 40 years. So they'd already been in the early "let's start saving up to do this someday" planning stages for some noble and worthy goals, and the money just let them act upon those goals sooner. And those goals (taking care of kids' colleges, making long-desired career changes, taking care of family) distracted them from doing too much goofy shit; and by the time the first initial goals were done, the husband was getting caught up in politics (which was its own check on being ethically irresponsible), and that saved them too.

They're now both retired and living off the very large nestegg that they saved up, and it changed their style very little. If I ever win the lottery myself I'm using them as a role model.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:17 AM on October 4, 2018 [15 favorites]

From what I understand, this is not at all uncommon among lottery winners.

I believe this study has been called into question, though I can't find a great link right now. (The reason is obvious--it fits a certain moral myth about how money "should be" obtained and whether the poor "deserve" riches.)

I went from many years of near-bankrupt grad student to being in about the 2% in salary for several years (and then back down the ladder somewhat). My desperate desire to pay off my (massive) student loans helped discipline me. Precommitting to saving $x a month, also. But your sense of the marginal value of a dollar changes. How could it not? I went from having to seriously mull over any purchase of more than $20 to being pretty casual about amounts under $100. Probably for the best not to live, as I do, in a town where they are constantly inventing new avenues for you to spend your cash. Although it's easier, socially, to be new money in a place like NYC, where for about 93% of places, if you can afford the entry fee, they'll treat you as if you belong, and most of the remaining 7% are places no one who wasn't raised expecting to belong there would even want to be.

Probably the nicest aspect of it was being able to write checks to help people. I wasn't making so much (and I didn't have such a poor family) as to be surrounded by tweakers with their hands out, but enough that I could fix modest problems for people in need. People like to say that throwing money at problems won't solve them. They are often wrong.
posted by praemunire at 10:40 AM on October 4, 2018 [12 favorites]

Going a different direction than usual: My mom was the daughter of a doctor, if a family practitioner with a bunch of kids. She got her college degree--they paid for it for her--but she never had any aspirations beyond being a stay-at-home mom. Then she married a guy who didn't have a degree or good job prospects, they both had then-undiagnosed mental health issues, and my mom still insisted that she wouldn't work after they had kids. (And she'd never had any job that was better than part-time work in a convenience store.) Both of my parents were aggressively against taking public assistance for most things, with exceptions for WIC. They got some help from my grandparents on my mom's side--my dad's family was still poor. That help didn't generally come in the form of cash, it came in the form of hand-me-down cars and my grandmother periodically doing free child care, mostly, and I suspect some help with my parents buying their first extremely small house.

So we didn't go hungry, but we lived incredibly spare. Much more so than we really needed to, especially much more so than we would have if my mother had worked. She never wanted anybody to know we were struggling with anything, but since she hadn't grown up that way, I don't think she was fully aware how obvious it was to our classmates that we were given the differences in just our clothes and the contents of our lunches, for example. She was prepared to be frugal, but she wasn't prepared for stuff like "kids don't keep up their piano skills if you can't consistently pay for the lessons". And she was constantly judgmental about all the people we knew in our own income bracket, which also made it hard for us to make friends.

In a lot of ways it meant I got insulated from the worst stuff about being poor, but it damaged a lot of our familial relationships in a bad way. There was a lot of trying to hide our actual situation, a lot of denial. Her kids didn't go hungry, but we didn't get the same advantages she got growing up, and then she was constantly unhappy about how we struggled as adults. The same household situation with more honesty probably would have been just a temporary blip of a young couple struggling for a little while before they got situated. It's actually difficult to stay poor when you have comfortable relations and you had all the childhood advantages and education. The moment my mom started accepting help, when she got divorced... she went to grad school, got a job making more than my dad ever had, and has been fine ever since. She would never admit that privilege was involved, and she's still judgmental about women who send kids to day care in order to have their own careers.
posted by Sequence at 11:36 AM on October 4, 2018 [6 favorites]

From what I understand, this is not at all uncommon among lottery winners.
Yeah, that study has been mostly discredited. Only something between 10-30% actually lose all their money, the other 70-90% does perfectly fine and live mostly anonymous lives. "Bankrupt" also doesn't mean that all your money goes away, it has many meanings which can include failed businesses that have no impact on personal income. Like for example our current President.

The study itself overstated its effects by only talking to the ones who wanted to talk because they had an interesting story to tell (ie: they went personally bankrupt spending it on consumables) and needed the publicity or the money. The other ones are as tight-lipped about their income as old-money WASPs.
posted by The_Vegetables at 12:43 PM on October 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Kindness matters! My parents were wealthy and I grew up in a large and very beautiful country mansion, went to British public (i.e. expensive private) school and thence to university where I dropped out and wasted a decade of my life doing very little. I was left a lot of money by a grandparent who died before I was born, getting perhaps several million in today's money when I turned 20. After I married I bought a country mansion for my extended family of spouse and our three children, plus my in-laws and my wife's two sisters, and furnished it nicely with antiques and fine stuff.

Then I lost all the money from cluelessness and idiocy. My wife, a strong and courageous woman, stuck it out with me; she could have left of course though her parents were not in a position to help her - they moved away when the money ran out, and found a small apartment for themselves and their two younger daughters.

There was a recession at the time we ran out of money so we had difficulty selling the mansion, living in it for many months on scraps of food, boiled nettles & beans, etc., with occasional cash from selling off possessions. Our children were under school age and home-schooled, but still had fun at home. When the house finally sold the money just paid off our debts, and we were briefly homeless then found a very cheap place to live (holes in the wall through which you could put your hand outside). After a few years of living on the dole then doing odd jobs my parents bought a modest house for us to live in, which rescued us and changed our fortune. Our kids went to local schools and had a fairly normal life for a while.

This was the time when personal computers were just being created - I built a tiny computer in a cigar box and taught myself programming. From that I began contract software work and made a career which took us from Britain to California. When I began being well-paid our three elder children went to boarding school in Britain, then to local schools when we moved to California. The transition to U.S. schools was hard, and the kids all dropped out, but educated themselves through community college and university; now they have postgraduate degrees and professional lives, and I'm very, very proud of them.

My wife and I have always/mostly let our children decide for themselves what they want to do. We're happy to discuss ideas, and even urge solutions, but we don't have a disciplinary parenting style (though I did somewhat, until my wife brought me past that). I think this helped our children be much more self-aware and able to manage their lives than I was.

The transitions from wealth to poverty to more modest wealth has been interesting, and perhaps liberating in that I see, and think my family sees, that happiness isn't tied to money. We've been incredibly fortunate in our lives, having parents who could help, and we haven't had to live though war or major disaster despite some tragedies on the way; most people have harder lives. But taking life as it comes, being open and not giving up makes a full life possible. Kindness matters.
posted by windsock at 1:00 PM on October 4, 2018 [14 favorites]

My parents were what I would call ‚higher working class‘, my grandparents were farmers and miners respectively but cared about school and my parents were skilled but my father’s job was still blue collar. My mother pushed education on me so somehow I ended up in a professional job and earn good money.

My family never felt poor but we certainly had little discretionary income and most of my peers at school lived in much nicer homes, had nicer clothes and went on fancy holidays whilst I spent the summer exploring the local city with my brother and grandmother using her pensioner discount and the city‘s summer children‘s passport that offered free or reduced entry to a lot of things and a season ticket on local public transport.

I now earn more money than my parents combined. What has changed for me is that as a student or in the very early years after graduating I budgeted out things to the nth degree. As I got qualified and a pay rise I remember buying my flat and after paying the mortgage and the car finance and my monthly bills, fuel and groceries I had something like £40/month to spend on socialising &lunch. Unexpected expenses went on the credit card. I wasn’t carrying a credit card balance, the card was for emergencies. I recognise that was already a privileged position to be in to be able to afford that, even if it left me with very little disposable income but I was also always worrying about my car breaking down or forgetting a non monthly bill.

An international move and a few promotions later I now go for weeks without checking my bank statement, never worry about unexpected expenses, prefer to throw money at problems as opposed to time and never have to budget for events or meals out. I save for my retirement but as a few members of my family died youngish I also spend some of my money on spa treatments, good quality clothes, furniture, shoes and on travel. I like to treat people.

It upset me when my father recently told me that he used his meagre savings to prepay his very modest my brother and I wouldn’t have to worry about it. I realise my brother never has any money but it wouldn’t cause me any hardship to pay all of it. I am not sure what his thought process was. I‘d have preferred he treat himself.
posted by koahiatamadl at 1:19 PM on October 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

My closest friend through my school years went from poor to rich to embarrassingly poor to connivingly rich again in the space of twenty years and it changed her for the worse. When I met her in early primary school, she lived in a rented house and both her parents drove small cheap old cars. Then her mother's parents won the lottery and gave half the winnings to my friend's parents. They bought a flash house with pool and tennis court, as well as a beach holiday apartment. Her dad formed a financial services company with another man and they got richer and richer. By the time my friend's major teen birthday rolled around, we came home from school to find a choice of new cars in the driveway for my friend to choose from.

After high school, my friend travelled through Europe on her parents dime, then returned home to a house her parents bought her and she began working at her father's financial firm. Three or four years later, the firm was investigated for fraud and embezzlement. The partners, including my friend's father, were jailed. All the family's assets including my friend's house and car were sold and the family was effectively broke with the non-jailed members living in rented accommodation again.

My friend then went on the hunt for a rich husband. She found one, had some kids, and then quickly divorced him. By this stage, she and I had fallen out because she was so damned consumed by 'being wealthy'. The last straw for me was when she criticised gifts given to her by her 'friends' (her cleaner and her nanny), saying they had no taste and the (handmade) gifts had to go straight in the bin.

I'm still in contact with her younger sister, though my friend is not much in contact with her family. She despises their situation and won't help her elderly parents with their rent and bills. These days she lives a lonely life in a very expensive house by the sea. The creative, inspired and playful friend I had is now long gone replaced by a greedy and grasping woman who feels entitled to judge people based on how much money and status they can supply her.
posted by Thella at 3:40 PM on October 4, 2018 [5 favorites]

I thought I should add to the above narrative that my dad had always been poor and thought making a lower-end-of-working-class salary was doing really well and barely noticed when he was suddenly doing worse than that. Poverty didn't serve him well at all, but at least it didn't lead to actual interpersonal strife. Having moved in with my dad after the divorce and my parents having made some incredibly dysfunctional child support arrangements--with one kid each they just didn't pay any even when my mom was making 2-3 times as much as my dad did, which I didn't protest personally because I was afraid I'd have to live with her again--I have struggled a lot with suddenly making middle-class money and having the prospect of more, especially since I acquired six figures in student loans along the way. But I still think it's less destructive to make poor people well-off than for people to wind up in the opposite position. I'm worse off in many ways than peers who make what I do, but I'm massively better off than I was as a kid.
posted by Sequence at 4:27 PM on October 4, 2018

My parents went from barely being able to keep food on the table while I was growing up to upper middle class for a decade or so after I left home thanks a couple of very lucky real estate decisions. (Scrimped and saved for a $10,000 deposit on their first ($100k) house when I was a teenager, that was suddenly worth $500k a few years later, sold it and bought an $800k house that was worth over a million a few years after that, then they moved to a low cost of living city and freed up all the equity.)

My mum went a bit crazy with the sudden money (at least it seemed that way to me, since I was still living the way I had grown up, and unable to afford things like both food and medical care at the same time). By an upper middle class standard, maybe her spending wasn't big but it was definitely a huge change. Overseas holidays in Europe, a $10,000 sofa, redecorating the house every couple of years, expensive jewelry, eating out at fancy restaurants sometimes multiple times a week, buying $300 shirts by designers instead of $5 shirts from thrift shops, paying $250 every month for haircuts instead of $10 cuts and box dye and waiting as long as possible between cuts. She stopped ever buying storebrand anything, and stopped comparison shopping for price at all.

I think it was mostly because by moving to the much more affluent neighborhood, my mother began socializing more with people who lived like that. Dad was always a big introvert and so didn't socialist at all and it had less effect on him. I know my mother's spending contributed to the break up of their marriage.

(And at that point, my mother's fortunes changed again and she ended up retiring with only about $30,000 in savings and living on social security. But it's been a real struggle for her to go back to her former more frugal spending habits).
posted by lollusc at 5:03 PM on October 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't say that my family was ever desperately poor, but when I was born my father owned his own semiconductor factory in the Philippines, a business that he started when he was 25, with money from family, and went on to employ thousands of employees. We lost it all when the country was destabilizing in the waning years of Marcos and the rise of Cory. We thought the country was tipping into civil war, and seeing what had happened to the middle class in Cambodia, my parents thought we should just wait things out in the States. But, for various reasons, we wound up losing nearly everything. My dad lost his factory. We lost our home. And we had to figure out what's next. My dad spent a few years consulting for other Filipino factory owners, but he didn't like being a road warrior. And while he was too much of an entrepreneur to ever take a salary job again, he got super gun shy after losing everything. So, we just downsized everything about our lifestyle and coasted along on savings and stocks. Every few years it was moving to a smaller house in a more affordable neighborhood, driving used cars instead of new, and learning to check the stock market before talking to my dad about anything stressful.

When I was young, I watched my older cousins jetting back and forth between Manila and boarding schools in New England, wearing designer clothes, driving fancy cars, and having servants. I think my parents already knew that things were heading south for us, before we even left, and we were always raised with an expectation not to expect any of that. We had chores. We learned to work. And we learned, as children, that money isn't forever and lifestyles are traps. You have to value and love the people who share your life, because they'll stick with you when everything else is gone, and if you lose them then you really have nothing.

I spent my young adult years living paycheck to paycheck, and running up credit card bills, and ruining my credit score, because I was young and dumb, and couldn't call on my parents to help the way my cousins did. It took me years to get out of that hole, but now I have a good job, cash in the bank, a healthy retirement account, and own a place with my wife. I realize that I'm about the age that my dad was when he lost everything, and while I am not even close to as prosperous as my dad was when that happened, I feel oddly ready to face whatever if life showed up tomorrow and said, "all this is gone."

Because, that's what life does sometimes, and it's good to have gone through that once rather than believe it will never happen.

And I also learned that no matter how bad things get where you live, you don't leave. You stick around and you fix it and you fight for the life you want. If you leave, you will leave everything.
posted by bl1nk at 8:22 PM on October 4, 2018 [8 favorites]

Both sides of the family were of the "emigrate from China during the civil war, just before WWII" generation. Some variation amidst the (many) siblings; in general, the grandparents were very emphatic about making sure children went to college (overseas). Older sibling worked to help put younger siblings through school. Younger siblings now are relatively frugal (one had the same $20 barber for 20 years) but also willing to be generous with others and pay the child's way through US college (zero loans). tl;dr it didn't change the family culture a lot; the emphasis is still "get a degree and work hard", just that most of us can pay for private, overseas education now. I certainly inherited a sense that anyone can be knocked back into poverty for reasons out of their control - if my grandparents had waited a few years the family tree would probably had ended in the Great Leap Forward/Cultural Revolution/1965 Indonesian massacres.
posted by ahundredjarsofsky at 11:11 PM on October 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

My father's approach to money was much like that of Stacey's mother. His widowed mother probably hadn't expected to ever work and she was pretty resourceful, but money was definitely an issue. When my father got an unexpectedly lucrative job, he immediately started giving back. I remember being told quite early that we weren't getting as many presents for a while because a friend's husband had left her and we would be putting her kids though school. When I think about it, he gave away an insane amount for someone who had recently been financially insecure. It was great though. I had a lot of issues with my father, but I love remembering the way he said, "Oh sure!" when one of his charities called asking for more money.
posted by BibiRose at 7:10 AM on October 6, 2018

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