My father had a heroin problem. Although he didn’t mean to, he taught me a lot about personal finance in the process.
It’s 6 p.m. on a Tuesday night and I’m having a meltdown. I’m in the seventh grade and sitting cross-legged on the floor of my mom’s home office. There are dozens of small stacks of white paper laid out across the floor with no discernible organizational method. She knows exactly where everything is, but only because it’s a giant game of “memory” she’s been playing for the last 15 days. It is April, the middle of tax season.
Age 5: Never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry.
Don’t think you’re hungry? Eat a candy bar just in case.
They can do a lot of things that I should probably know how to do—not castrate cattle, but certainly change a flat tire or drive a stick stick shift. I have done both of those things, but only with another person’s help, and not masterfully. I’ll still stall the car while driving stick shift.
Looking back on my twenties, I realized that I spent my money mainly because I wanted to feel richer than I actually was.