Featured, Finances, Theory & Essay

Money Isn’t Everything…Unless You Don’t Have It, And Then Yeah, It’s Everything

In February of 2012, a month after I began working for EBONY.com, they asked if I wanted to go to Milwaukee to witness and write on the unveiling of a Black bikers exhibit at the Harley-Davidson museum. Although I had zero interest in motorcycles, I accepted. It was an all expense paid trip to a city I’d never been to and the Black Biker thing seemed kinda cool. Also, and most importantly, this trip would finally cement my position as a “professional writer” — a status I’d be striving for since making the decision to write full time two years earlier. Although this milestone was completely psychological — and although the angst about my status was self-induced — it was necessary for me.

The year before, I’d received my first sustainable writing gig: a head editor position for a magazine project The August Wilson Center for African American Culture (AWC) was attempting to launch. Starting in April, I’d receive a check for $2,700 once a month; which in Pittsburgh was enough for my then girlfriend and I to rent a townhouse together and for me to comfortably upgrade from the 2008 Mercury Mountaineer I’d just finish paying off to a new Dodge Charger. Unfortunately, the AWC began to run out of money that fall. And by November, I’d stopped receiving checks from them. The EBONY gig, however, came serendipitously. A week before I learned I’d no longer get paid by the AWC, I was in New York city doing a photoshoot with Essence Magazine for a feature on “relationship bloggers.” While headed to Essence’s offices in Manhattan, I happened to run right into Jamilah Lemieux on the street (we actually almost literally bumped into each other) who told me A) she’d just been hired by EBONY to help revamp their digital presence, B) she’d literally just left a meeting where VSB was brought for some mysterious honor (which I’d later learn was us being named to that year’s EBONY 100), and C) she wanted me to call her later that night. And it was during that phone call that I was offered a still yet-to-be-determined position at the new EBONY.

The Milwaukee trip was the culmination of this journey; confirmation that I made it, that I’d finally captured that nerve-wrackingly elusive status. That feeling possessed me as I checked into the Iron Horse hotel — easily the bougiest hotel I’d ever been in — and thought about all the writerly trips I’d be taking going forward. And then, when my bank card was declined for not having enough in it to cover the $250 for incidentals, I was struck back to reality. I was caught in a financial deadzone. The money from the AWC dried up, and I’d just received my first $1,400 bi-weekly paycheck from EBONY the day before I left, but didn’t have time to deposit it. My bank account was on E. I knew I had no cash. But I also assumed that since this was an all-expense paid trip, I wouldn’t need any money. So I called a friend back in Pittsburgh, concocted a lie about accidentally leaving my bank card at home, and he let me use his credit card to check in.

I was reminded of that experience two weeks ago, when checking into a Marriott near the University of Maryland, where I was to appear on a panel the next day. There was a mix-up with the travel agency, and my room hadn’t yet been paid for. But instead of the near-disaster and humiliation of 2012, where I didn’t have enough money to participate in some free shit, I handed the clerk my bank card, and said I had no problem covering the room. I knew I’d be reimbursed. But even if I wasn’t, I still didn’t terribly mind. I had it.

It’s always been ironic that VSB has been considered to be a platform that exists without corporate influence. Whether you agreed with what I wrote or what Panama wrote what one of our contributors happened to write, you could always say that the thought behind the piece, at least, existed without a latent financial agenda. Basically, we weren’t sellouts allowing money to dictate our editorial strategy. This has always been, and will continue to be, a lie. Money — both the possession of it and the lack of it — has influenced every VSB-related decision I’ve made since 2010, and will continue to influence my decisions as long as I’m able to make them. While I wasn’t working and writing to please a specific entity, the work I’ve done since making a conscious effort to grow VSB was intended to make us generally and myself specifically more valuable, even if that value was still an abstraction. The muscle I developed allowing me to write 10 to 15 pieces a week was forged out of a fear of irrelevance and the financial purgatory that comes with no one checking for your shit. I wanted to matter. But not just because I believed I have interesting things to say, but that I needed those interesting things to pay my rent.

I know this is not a unique dynamic, particularly among freelance writers. Many of whom allow who’s paying what and when to determine what and when they write. In a cruel irony, the people who are most equipped to freelance are people who don’t actually need to. Who have other sources of income, and aren’t constricted by the immediacy of digital media — allowing them to devote more care to their work — and don’t need to spend a sizable amount of their working hours chasing and stressing over pay.

This relationship with money and its connection to my work was made even more labyrinthic by the intersection of complex relationships between masculinity and money, and Blackness and money, and writers and money permeating through me and converging inside of me. I never wrote extensively about money before 2016 because of the shame attached to not having as much of it as I believed I should. And also not having as much of it as I assumed other people assumed I should. Even as I’d write about the toxicity of socialized masculinity, I’d allowed that same toxicity to prevent me from addressing a topic that impacted my work more than any other, worried that it would make me appear less masculine.

And now, well, I have a lot of fucking money. There’s no other way to put it. I don’t quite have “fuck you” money, but I have enough now where I no longer have to think about it unless I want to. By the end of 2015, I’d already managed to etch out a decent living; my income from various revenue sources comfortably surpassing the $2,800 a month that delighted me in 2012. But the book deal I signed last November changed my life. So much that, in a two year span, I’ve gone from ashamed that I didn’t have as much as I believed I was supposed to to embarrassed that I have so much.

I’ve retained this belief that both writers AND Black people — and Black writers specifically (and Black writers who write about race even more specifically) — retain some sort of authenticity and community through a shared financial struggle that we’re never, ever, ever, ever to speak of aloud, and the psychic acceptance of this new financial status hasn’t been easy. Even now, as I type this, I’m tempted to delete this paragraph and continue pretending even as I recognize that the money I currently have may have saved my life — and the morass of indecision of not having it could have ended it.

As many of you are aware of, I had a serious health scare a couple months ago. Since then, I’ve learned that the scare was due to a vessel condition I’ve actually had for several years, and its treatable. This condition was discovered after going to the ER for some unrelated chest discomfort. As we all know, emergency room treatment is not cheap. And neither are specialists I’ve seen, or the countless MRIs and x-rays and stress tests and blood work I’ve undergone since. But I was able to see all of these people and conduct all of those tests because I now have enough money where I don’t have to worry about how much it cost. But if this same chest discomfort happened, say, in 2012, I weigh the cost of going to the ER against the relatively minor amount of pain I was feeling, and I probably just go home and continue to go untreated.

This is just one of the decisions I’ve made and indecisions created by the presence (or lack thereof) of money. There are many others. Like for instance the lie I told my friend when needing his credit card instead of just admitting why it was necessary, and other lies I may have either implied or outright told to conceal the truth of my financial status. Also, I’m 38 years old, and I’ve never been on a real vacation. I’ve taken trips, sure. But each time, I’ve interrupted them to work. Once even buying the ridiculously overpriced cruise WiFi on my honeymoon to edit a piece I’d already published a week earlier. It’s romantic to categorize that as me having such a work ethic and such a love for my work that it’s impossible for me to go very long without it. But the less romantic reality is that while that love for what I do is genuine, it exists in concert with a desperation, a fear of writing or doing something (or not writing or not doing something) to topple the eternally tenuous Jenga structure of doubt I called a “writing career.”

Of course, things are different now. Much different. And barring some unforeseen calamity, this will be my new normal. Now, I just look forward to the day where it feels normal. I won’t hold my breath for that though. Especially since I’m finally able to breathe.

Filed Under: ,
Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • King Beauregard

    Very glad life is giving you your due!

    About this:

    “I’d already managed to etch out a decent living”

    Was wondering if you’d meant “eke” but weren’t sure if that was the right word. It’s an old word that’s conceptually got something to do with “extra little bit”. Strangely enough, the word “nickname” is all about “an eke name”, with the word boundaries all messed up.

    … oh! I just looked it up and learned that “eke” is related to the German word “auch” (meaning “also”). I could kick myself for not figuring that out on my own, but my brain-meats are spoiled today.

    • Zil Nabu

      You amuse me so. Never change.

      • King Beauregard

        Aww, thanks!

        I enjoy words and especially seeing them propagate from language to language.

        I do German, at least well enough to giggle the first time I saw a box for the game “Titanfall” at the store. (In German, “Anfall” means “attack”, like “heart attack”. So I had to wonder what on earth “Titanfall” was about.)

  • First, let me cackle at “Basically, we weren’t sellouts allowing money to dictate our editorial strategy. This has always been, and will continue to be, a lie.”

    When most of us say this, we mean it with the intention that you are selling out for the sake of money. I pointed out in the comment sections a few articles ago, that you could greatly expand (and bring in more trolls) if you won’t for the sake of money. Web site traffic would greatly increase if you became the uppity negrus calling out the other niccas that can’t (and won’t do right). A Go Fund VSB campaign headed by Bill O’Riley himself would launch. And then, for the sake of money, you’d be selling out.

    But for most of us, most of our daily decisions are based on money.

    “Shall I curse out my client who just touched my hair?” Nah, because bills.
    “Do I lay here in bed and rest or fight the traffic to my home office?” Traffic, cause bills.

    Even small ones, “Do I bring a check red soda to the staff meeting instead of water? Na’ll because my editorial appearance need to say that “I can afford Voss.”

    Sell out? Nah. Now, when VSB goes into a sell off… I got $5 on it.

    • You’re absolutely correct. The lack of money causes people to take disrespect and make Backpage profiles. I’d rather feel guilty about having it than be desperate to get it.

  • Enjoy your baller status. You’ve earned it and have no reason to be ashamed.

  • miss t-lee

    Glad you’re finally able to breathe.

  • Money is something I struggle with grasping.

    For a year in high school, I was homeless. I mean really homeless living in my car with all my ish parking under park street lights with the hopes that I wont die.

    I worked two jobs in high school, but due to pure age and tryna understand life, I was homeless.

    That experience has caused my greatest fear, I never want to be broke (or broken) again.

    In my marriage, it played out with not letting my terrible, undeserving, idiotic, abusive, cheating husband spend money he’d rightfully worked hard for and earned.

    I save everything and made sure to live life right above the poverty line, no matter what the combined income was. After much counseling from older married couples, I realized this was a no go. I realized, I had a problem. I still rustle with spending money though I make “good money.”

    I spend my money on experiences, because spending them on (non kitchen related) things is painful. But I did just say today, “I don’t know when the last time I checked my bank account.” And that i itself is a good feeling.

    • CookieGugglemanFleck

      I soooo relate to the latter part of your post. I’m very restrictive with my spending and it comes from a fear of never having enough. Sometimes I don’t have enough. But usually I do and I live in deprivation, debting against myself. But money–regardless of the number in my accounts–and the noise and space it takes up in my head because unbearable and I ended up in a 12-step program for it. Fear of financial insecurity is no joke.

      • Is there a program? I am therapy, for all things mental health, but didn’t know there was a program.

        • CookieGugglemanFleck

          Yes, Debtors Anonymous. It’s not just for “debt” in the traditional sense that we usually understand it. Its nickname is “the money program”. If you live in a city where there aren’t a lot of meetings, there are some great phone meetings. Feel free to reach out with any questions. Hang in there!

          • Wild Cougar

            I’m gonna look for this in my city. A LOT of people need this.

            • CookieGugglemanFleck

              Yep. It ends marriages. People take their lives over it. And newcomers are always amazed and relieved when they’re in a room filled with people who all get it and are having success finding serenity around money, removing some of the power it has over them. http://www.debtorsanonymous.org/

              • Wild Cougar

                Thanks a bunch. Me and somebody I know are going.

                • CookieGugglemanFleck

                  Sure thing. And try a few different meetings before deciding whether or not it’s for you. Each meeting has a different format/focus and “vibe”.

              • AzucarNegra

                acknowledging you have a problem is the first step. I force myself to look at my atm receipt all the time, so I can gauge how much I (don’t) have to spend.

                • CookieGugglemanFleck

                  Clarity is indeed indispensable.

              • Mr. Man so needs this. Half the time he lives like he’s gonna die tomorrow so let’s spend ALL the money on comic books and fancy dinners. He doesn’t want to spend money on investing or long term goals at all.

            • Hadassah

              WC, you end up starting whaaaaat?!?!?*crying*!!!!!!!!!!

      • lkeke35

        Fear of financial security can also take its toll, and you may still need counseling, to deal with the survival mindset, left over from when you had none.

        Ever wonder why people who win the lottery sometimes go broke within the space of a year or two. That mindset is the reason. Going suddenly from deprivation, to overabundance can be traumatic, too.

    • MsCee

      Queen! This is like the story of my life. For years I saw my mother abused in several ways, not the least of which was financial. My father was the bread winner and he made sure she, and us kids knew it. He’d put us out at random and even threw all our stuff on the front lawn once when our school bus was dropping us off. I left home at 14 and vowed to NEVER allow a man to be the primary bread winner in my life, able to decide if I was going to be homeless and hungry. Needless to say, that mindset hasn’t been very fruitful as far as relationships. However, I ain’t broke, homeless or hungry….sooooo.

      • “However, I ain’t broke, homeless or hungry….”

        Where is my AMEN gif when you need it…

        Oh, here it is! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fee0fca931679b9ee1714df238b48eefe8c2d5715d1de0541070b1688246f6da.gif

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      • Ms.Moon

        I worried so much about my sister when she was with her terrible, cheating ex husband for that very same reason. He kept telling her she was not smart enough or capable enough to work outside the home. My beautiful, hardworking sister married this man, had his children and could not work or leave the house much because she was beautiful and he didn’t want other men to see her. We tried and tried with her and she eventually left him when she could no longer ignore his very obvious cheating but now she’s starting over with her education with two kids to take care of and getting a career together I know it’s hard but I am proud of her because at least she got out.

        • lkeke35

          Yes, some men will try really hard to trap a woman in a state of dependence on them to where they can’t leave.

          • Ms.Moon

            My sister was very lucky her parents are willing to help her. She was with her boyfriend then husband since they were in high school and he made her feel like she absolutely needed him for everything, she wore her hair the way he liked, dressed the way he liked, everything. If we weren’t her sisters he would not have wanted us to have much to do with her because he was just that controlling and he knew my other sister and I saw right through him.

            • lkeke35

              Yes, its incredibly important to be supportive no matter how many times they might go back. It really started to get very frustrating with my sister. They would fight, she would leave, and then in a couple of months he would have wormed his way back into her life.

              But we pushed through the frustration and were persistent. That’s incredibly important, no matter how angry you might be at their actions. They need to know that you’re consistent and will be there when they finally get up enough will NOT to go back to them.

          • TCB

            And some men encourage, uplift and unconditionally support a woman to the point that they unknowingly create an ego in them that allows them to feel like they can do whatever they want. Including break up a home and marriage….or that’s what my wife told me when she admitted to cheating. :/

            I’ll see myself out

            • Damn.

            • ;-(

            • MsCee

              That sucks equally. No one ever said men don’t experience hurt too. I don’t understand why it has to be a battle every time women start to openly discuss their hurt. Especially when NO male bashing was going on here.

              • TCB

                It’s not a battle. It’s just the other side of the pillow Cee.

        • Glo

          “And could not work or leave the house much because she was beautiful and he didn’t want other men to see her.”

          I’m sad to say that I didn’t know that there were men that did this until recently. I was talking to an older man (who said several questionable things during our conversation) and he asked me which college I was going to. When I told him that I was no longer in school and was in fact 27 years old, he paused, and said “Oh, you didn’t grow up around the type of people that I grew up with. Men I knew were always a little rough with their women, and there is no way that they would have let you stay this pretty for this long, let alone let you leave the house looking the way you do.”

          I was horrified.

          • Ms.Moon

            Some men don’t want us to have the option to leave them, so everything they can do to keep us they will do. In my ex brother in law’s case he was so blatantly cheating on my sister she tried to ignore it because she thought she had no choice but when she couldn’t hide from the truth anymore she left him and didn’t look back.

          • Sweet Ga Brown

            Whoa like wtf does that mean? I would have had to ask him to break that all the way down and don’t leave out no details.

          • Yay Radley

            “Men I knew were always a little rough with their women, and there is no way that they would have let you stay this pretty for this long…”

            Am I correctly interpreting this to mean that he is recognizing and co-signing men deliberately beating the “pretty” out of women?

            I got literal chills reading that.

            • Glo

              That is exactly what he meant. I had a hard time sleeping that night.

            • MsCee

              Yep, they’ll beat it out of you and verbally abuse you to the point that you’d never dare fancy yourself anything close to “pretty.”

          • Robert Dotson

            WhatintheHarpo….I hope you ran away.

          • I cannot.

          • MsCee

            My ex was of this mindset…even admitted that my looks were part of the reason he’d always go straight for my face when altercations turned physical.

            • Glo

              That’s so terrible. :( I’m glad you got out. Sending you hugs.

              And it’s crazy to me because a big part of the reason he was first attracted to you was how pretty you are…but then it was also the reason he felt insecure in your relationship?

              • MsCee

                Yep, quite the conundrum. When we met I was about 200 pounds solid (***sings she’s a BRICK HOOOUUUSEE***) and a Freshman in college on academic scholarship. As the relationship progressed he grew to HATE the same things he supposedly “loved” about me. My shape, my academic accomplishments, even my attractiveness. Smh.

            • Yay Radley

              My heart just dropped. I realize that I know men like this, but I think I’ve somehow always believed it was a subconscious thing they did. To hear them articulate that it is deliberate…

              • MsCee

                Yes, it is very deliberate.

        • MsCee

          Encourage her daily! It is possible!!! So happy to hear she got out.

        • Tlholohelo Makatu

          That’s what my mum has been going through. Good thing my parents are divorcing now, it’s just been so painful. I don’t know if I can say that my father never wanted her to work, but she decided to forsake continuing her education in order to bring me and my sisters into the world and raise us. But then in my teens I realised my parents’ marriage wasn’t perfect. My father had always (since they married and until the end) cheated on my mother; proof is in all the half-siblings I have.
          And about a year and a half ago, he started acting stank and complaining that he doesn’t get to enjoy his salary. My mum was in control of the finances because honestly my dad sucks at making ANY financial decision. She held it down for as long as she had, making sure my tuition was paid on time so my education didn’t get halted.
          Then all of a sudden he wanted to take back control of the money. And once he did that, things started going downhill. He stopped living at home, staying at hotels (for who? for what???) and he’d only come back home once that money dried up (1-2 weeks after he’d been paid) and then expect us to bring food for him and do things for him.
          Now, he’s moved out permanently and whenever my sisters (two of whom are minors and need financial assistance for which my mum can only barely give) have an expense which needs paying, he comes with the sob story of how the separation is hard on him and that it’ll take him about 20 years to get back on his feet. He said that. It’s real hard to feel sorry for someone who brought whatever struggle they’re feeling upon themselves, but is so delusional they’ll blame everyone but themselves.
          Our story will have a happy ending though – despite how financially insecure we are – my mum bakes cakes for a living and she’s planning to make something of that, and I want nothing more than for her to be happy.

          • Ms.Moon

            As long as she can get out and support herself now she should do it. If they had been married for a certain number of years she might be entitled to some of his Social Security she needs to ask her lawyer if she can get it because she might have issues later when she wants to retire after all the working years she’s missed. It is so difficult for women sometimes in those later years because of the sacrifices made for family they have to work later on in their years. There is a reason why the face of poverty is female.

            • grownandsexy2

              In the states, the number of years is 10 years and you’re entitled to their SS.

      • lkeke35

        Yes, people don’t understand that sometimes that level of independence is a trade-off. People want to condemn women for being independent, and doing taking care of their bidness, but they don’t know what a person has gone through to reach that level.

        We were discussing crisis and trauma at a conference for librarians,and we talked about how poor people really do think differently from people who come from money. Poverty changes how the mind works, and when you’ve been poor, and then you’re not, it can be an emotionally traumatic event, because you’re still stuck in the survival mindset required to withstand poverty.

        • MsCee

          Yes! And we need to stop being ashamed and speak on it. I may have financial trust issues but they are there for a reason. I’ve seen what a man is capable of when he knows you literally can’t leave.

      • grownandsexy2

        You never know when you meet people what their hardships are/have been. Growing up, my mom always stressed being independent, having your own so you’re not at someone else’s mercy. And saving money. It was a lesson I never forgot. My dad was a good provider and we lived a good life but my mom worked also. I remember him telling her she didn’t have to work if she didn’t want to. She was like “eff that, I like my own.” lol And that’s how she rolled.

        Generally when a woman teaches her daughters not to depend on a man for their livelihood, they’re thought to hate men. Certainly not the case here but I can still hear her saying, “be independent, have your own.”

        I was lucky when the recession hit from some of the stories I’ve heard. People losing homes and living in cars, shelters. I had a mortgage having just bought my home two years prior, and the bills that go along with it. I never had a late payment on anything, still went on vacations and when I had exhausted all tiers and was still unemployed, I went through savings and some of my retirement. Took me a minute to build up my savings again cause it was definitely riding on empty. I keep a rainy day fund I call, “In case ish happens” cause you never know.

        • MsCee

          That is so very true. My mother never taught me to hate men but she made for dayum sure I knew better than to put my whole life in their hands.

      • anti galleta

        did not know this was a hate black men site ………..leaves site

        • MsCee

          ****Waves bye bye**** Farewell, not sure which comment you saw that said anything about hating Black men. I personally adore Black men. This is a site for sharing experiences and some of those experiences include pain. Some of that pain comes from the opposite chex. Most of us here are Black women so most of the men we discuss are Black. But you knew this, you just wanted to type something.

          • anti galleta

            nbw can you visualize a site that is run by black women that let comment after comment disrespect black men (yeah me either).

            Comment after comment, that i left was deleted by Jezebel the head nbws.

            I knew you would respond so i had to come back and check, now i done with this mutt site.Beta males and overly aggressive women can have each other, and then most of you wonder why you and your children are fatherless.

            • MsCee

              Your grammar explains everything I needed to know. Have a nice day. ;)

              • Yay Radley

                “i KNew yOu wOuLd ReSpoNd, sO i Had tO coMe bAck aNd cHecK…”

                • MsCee

                  LMFAOOOOOOO…my point exactly. Like, gone on somewhere with this. No one was male bashing.

        • Yay Radley

          First of all, nobody even said these men were black. STFU and go.

    • blueevey

      I don’t check my bank act either. Because there’s nothing in it :/ lol

      • I actually laughed out loud. Staph it.

      • TCB

        #allfacts

      • Tlholohelo Makatu

        I know the exact balance, down to the decimal places.

      • Hadassah

        You made MY MORNING. Thanks for the laugh.

      • HOLLA

    • grownandsexy2

      Hope you’re continuing to heal. **hugs**

    • anti galleta

      check that account because scammers are out here heavy……..now what was that account number again (grasp pen).

  • I felt this way when my wife and I bought our house. For years, I sucked at money management, racking up debt on cards. When we finally wed and she looked at my account, she signed and said we had to get to work.

    We own a home. We no longer live paycheck to paycheck. Yet I still nervously check ny account just to make sure my money’s there.

    • Same. I check it before I go to lunch some days because I just know I forgot that I wrote some imaginary check last week.

      • I’m glad the Bank of America app makes it easy to check my balance. It’s something I force myself to do several times a week.

    • Wise Old Owl

      Many Brothers in our 30’s and 40’s have similar stories…always appreciate your openness and honesty…congrats on your house!

    • Zil Nabu

      What’s that account number again?

      • 231-330-8004

        Account holder: M. Jones

        • Zil Nabu

          You win.

    • Dougie

      Every. Single. Day.

      At this point it’s an irrational fear, but I just check to make sure the money is still there (and that my wife didn’t spend it all on shoes/bags lol)

  • Giantstepp

    You’re a very talented and creative writer, Damon. The cream always rises to the top. You’re struggle was simply a part of the process. Enjoy your success.

  • Alessandro De Medici

    Good luck with the health man.

    As long as you’re making money, and you’re not cheating or defrauding people, you shouldn’t have an ounce of guilt for it, because you earned it by hooking up and providing something valuable to those who gave you their time/money. And for the record, there’s 7 billion plus people on the earth, simply being American and alive, should make you guilty, if you’re willing to entertain such a perspective and take it to it’s logical conclusion.

    Every dime of the money spent or saved ends up meaning something overtime: it can be an investment, a vice, a loan for a friend or family member, an education for your child, a miracle in a health situation, you don’t know until the time comes.

    We don’t know the future and we don’t know when all that extra change is going to mean something, so we should just be glad when we have it, and understand the struggles of those who don’t, something that doesn’t require us to feel guilt, unless of course we contributed to that person’s struggle.

  • Stanley

    Can’t say enough how happy I am for your and Panama’s success. And as a struggling writer this makes me feel good to see another brother succeed.

  • Matt S

    “Of course, things are different now. And barring some unforeseen calamity, this will be my new normal. Now, I just look forward to the day where it actually feels normal. I won’t hold my breath for that though. Especially since I can actually breathe now.”

    I have had a similar uptick in income a few years ago. I also came from a humble background financially. That last paragraph hits home. It still does not feel normal for two entirely different reasons. It still feels weird to spend money on “luxury” items (an expensive vacation or pricey gift). It still feels like I live on the edge of being poor – like I could be in completely different position if I make one or two mistakes.

    I guess that is a part of being a first generation well off person: i) feeling awkward that you have the loot and ii) knowing there is no one who can ‘fix’ a significant financial error/ downturn.

    • raul

      True story man. Not quite Damon level baller, but even 10-15 years ago my income now would have been all the money in the world to me. Now it’s my new normal and I still can’t shake the feeling that I’m one misstep away from being sent back to the trailer park.

      I’m starting to wonder if anybody really ever feels like they made it.

      • MsCee

        I’m so glad to see that I’m not the only one who feels this way. I would even go so far as to say it causes me mild anxiety. I hoard money and literally only buy what my daughter and I need. I need to relax the purse strings a little and accept the fact that I worked hard to get us here.

      • Zil Nabu

        In the words of Mike Jack…You are not alone. I am here with you.

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