Author Topic: Who started the lowest?  (Read 2671 times)

Tom Bri

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Who started the lowest?
« on: May 14, 2018, 11:34:57 AM »
Interested in life stories.

In my case, I was one of 5 kids in a lower middle class home. So, not really that far down. We lived on a farm about 5 miles from the nearest small town, and 20 miles from a mid-sized city in the Mid-west. My dad purchased one brand-new vehicle in his life, a truck for the business. Otherwise we had decent older cars. Never short of food, but wore a lot of second-hand clothing. My folks paid for my and my sibling's college, if we wanted to go, and at the time I never thought much of it. I now know they were carrying a fair bit of debt most of the time.

I suspect some here started a lot further down, and I'd like to hear your stories.

simonsez

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Re: Who started the lowest?
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2018, 08:42:48 AM »
Lower middle class gets college paid for by mom and pop?

fell-like-rain

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Re: Who started the lowest?
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2018, 11:41:54 AM »
Lower middle class gets college paid for by mom and pop?

There was a time when college was affordable (or so they tell me).

TheWifeHalf

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Re: Who started the lowest?
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2018, 12:36:22 PM »
In my case, I was one of 5 kids in a lower middle class home. So, not really that far down.
My dad was the son of a farmer, one of 13 kids, and we lived in a trailer on the farm my first 4-5 years. While there, he was building (actually building) a ranch home and owned a very small company that made and put in (later just put in when plastic came along) field tile for drainage - I'm in the Black Swamp area of Ohio so it's necessary. My 2 brothers, at an early age, went with him to work and learned the business then.

We lived about 3 miles from the nearest small town, and 20 miles from a mid-sized city in the Mid-west.

My dad purchased one brand-new car in his life, and a pickup for the business. That is the only car we had until he finished restoring classics. My 3 brothers each got an old car ('57 Chevy, ?yr Ford, and one I can't remember) in awful shape, that Dad taught them to restore and was drive-able when they got their license. He had to sell his '56 Crown Victoria when he bought his new car (family got bigger) but in the 90's was able to finally get another, and damn, if it wasn't the same one - worse shape though.
Mom had to go to work so he bought a '64 Mustang and restored it for her to drive.

Never short of food, but we raised a lot of our own, and canned and froze a lot. They would buy a steer to freeze each year.

My folks paid for my sister's college, and mine for a year - my choice to quit, not theirs. We were raised knowing we needed scholarships, and acted like that in high school.  I remember I owed the college $600 in 1976 - so yes, it was very inexpensive.

Looking back ,the debt they had was a lot to them, but they were frugal, as was the farmer way. But, my mother will never have to borrow from her kids to live.

For entertainment, the family went camping, PRACTICALLY EVERY SINGLE WEEKEND!  I grew to not like camping at all, though we did visit some places I'm glad we went to.
We also went to Cedar Point every summer as a family. I'm sure the $20 admission was not cheap to them.

I remember most years we went to my Dad's family's family reunion. That was always another form of entertainment because there were so many kids near my age. (Though they weren't all there, I have 85 first cousin, only 5 on my Mom's side!)

It was a very family based life. I was shown how important it was to do things for myself when possible, and though it wasn't a conscious thought, that's probably one of the reasons why I fell in love the TheHusbandHalf.

Forgot to add that there were a couple of years when  I was in elem/jr high that wee were eligible for free lunches. My Dad was adament that his kids would never get those?
« Last Edit: May 15, 2018, 12:38:16 PM by TheWifeHalf »

Tom Bri

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Re: Who started the lowest?
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2018, 02:01:02 PM »
Lower middle class gets college paid for by mom and pop?

Sure, in the 1970s. My brother and I went 4 years, and my sisters went a year or two each then quit for non-financial reasons.

My dad and mom, both from farm families, also went 4 years of college in the 1950s, and both of my grandmothers in the 1920s and one great-grandmother also graduated from college in, I believe, the 1890s.

My dad claims that in the 1950s college was cheap enough that it wasn't much of a financial struggle. Several of his siblings also went to a 4-year university.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Who started the lowest?
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2018, 02:03:41 PM »
Ha. Calling @WhiteTrashCash Have you seen his journal? Incredibly well written and well thought out. @economista explores similar themes in hers, although she posts less.

OtherJen

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Re: Who started the lowest?
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2018, 02:48:36 PM »
Lower middle class gets college paid for by mom and pop?

Well, my working class parents paid what my undergrad scholarships didnt (still possible in the mid/late 90s). But I was an only child, dad made good money in a unionized factory job between lay-offs, and we lived with my grandparents for 7 years of my childhood. All of those things helped financially.

My dad barely finished high school (a lot of pressure to work and support his mom after his dad died), and my mom dropped out to work and later got a GED. Three of my grandparents were immigrants, and I dont think any of my grandparents finished high school. My parents prioritized my education, so they saved heavily for it. We always had small houses and utilitarian cars, with minimal electronics, fancy clothes, etc. Vacations were almost always to my grandparents cabin (although they did save up to visit Toronto one year and Chicago another). My mom is a great cook so we always, always ate well.

I am beyond grateful for their work and sacrifice. I did well in undergrad, which meant that I had a full scholarship for my PhD. Since I had no student debt, I could live comfortably on a grad student stipend. Im now the first doctorate holder on either side of the family.

OtherJen

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Re: Who started the lowest?
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2018, 02:52:23 PM »
@TheWifeHalf , wow! I cant imagine trying to keep track of 85 cousins. I have 28 and that feels like a LOT most days (my parents are both from 7-kid families).

And yes, Cedar Point! I dont think we did a family trip there. My first visit was with my 8th grade class. I havent been since the Millennium Force was new. Im looking forward to taking my niece and nephew in a few years.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Who started the lowest?
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2018, 03:13:03 PM »
I started in Plato's cave......

Not many will get the reference, but I hope a few do.

WhiteTrashCash

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Re: Who started the lowest?
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2018, 04:51:19 PM »
Ha. Calling @WhiteTrashCash Have you seen his journal? Incredibly well written and well thought out. @economista explores similar themes in hers, although she posts less.

Thanks for the shoutout. Following Mustachian principles, it's possible to go really, really far. I'm very pleased with the progress I've made and I'm glad I have the opportunity to tell my story. I hope it humanizes the poor just a bit.

economista

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Re: Who started the lowest?
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2018, 05:57:00 PM »
I love that we have bat signals now!

I can honestly say I started pretty low. Oldest of four kids and my parents are divorced - grew up living in trailers (also in the black swamp area of Ohio) with free meals and all new things came from goodwill or Walmart. My mom dropped out of high school to marry my dad and have me. I was the first person in my entire extended family to go to college and I was out on my own when I turned 18. Since then parents havent given me a cent - no help with rent in college, no help paying for college, not even transportation help when I turned 16. At that point I was responsible for getting myself around by purchasing my own car ($500 beater), having insurance, and paying for gas.

economista

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Re: Who started the lowest?
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2018, 06:54:03 PM »
However, I will say that I think Im better off and much more responsible of a person because I wasnt given any help

Malkynn

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Re: Who started the lowest?
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2018, 05:15:21 AM »
Lol.

...oh boy...um...well shit...

I tried writing a post that would make sense, but my story is a bit too dark for me to be willing to share with strangers on the internet, but lets just say that considering my history, its insane that I ended up a high end professional with a doctorate.

Im pretty lucky to be alive, and very very lucky to not have ended up homeless.
Digging out of over 400K of debt is a small price to pay for the life I have now compared to what it was and what it could have been.


craiglepaige

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Re: Who started the lowest?
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2018, 09:01:11 PM »
I hate tuna. I absolutely fucking hate tuna.

Why you may ask?

Because tuna reminds me of being dirt poor and going to the local churches for their free pantry food. Plenty of canned tuna and green beans. My big family (6 kids plus parents) ate plenty of fucking tuna for years.

Fuck being poor and being made to believe that it's the norm and that there isn't really anything you can do to change it. It's a vicious cycle of depression.p

I remember one of my high school teachers, a piece of shit drunkard, who would tell the whole class, mainly Hispanics, blacks and eastern Europeans, that we needed not worry about jobs after school since we were all going to be collecting welfare and food vouchers.

At that time it was the actual Monopoly money type of vouchers and he would bring a whole booklet and pass it around the class for us to see and remind us what "our money" would look like. He was a total piece of shit.

Tom Bri

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Re: Who started the lowest?
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2018, 08:12:57 PM »


I remember one of my high school teachers, a piece of shit drunkard, who would tell the whole class, mainly Hispanics, blacks and eastern Europeans, that we needed not worry about jobs after school since we were all going to be collecting welfare and food vouchers.

At that time it was the actual Monopoly money type of vouchers and he would bring a whole booklet and pass it around the class for us to see and remind us what "our money" would look like. He was a total piece of shit.

Wonder what his motivation was. Just to yank chains?

JLee

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Re: Who started the lowest?
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2018, 02:30:29 PM »
Oldest of 5, raised with periods below the poverty line (government assistance, charity meals at a local restaurant, etc).  I have been working since I was 11, loaned my parents money when I was a kid, gave my first car to a family member after I bought my first pickup, put myself through school, etc.

It was normal to me. It's still kinda weird hearing about people who were able to just go to college without simultaneously working.

Tom Bri

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Re: Who started the lowest?
« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2018, 07:52:49 PM »
It was normal to me. It's still kinda weird hearing about people who were able to just go to college without simultaneously working.

Agreed. Pretty much always worked since early teens, mowing lawns, farm work for neighbors. We were not poor, never lacking food or clothing, but not a lot of new stuff. In that era and place, this was normal.

Jaguar Paw

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Re: Who started the lowest?
« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2018, 09:48:15 PM »
My wifey is number 4 of 6, grew up in a crappy ghetto of Houston. Nobody, nobody in her family had over a high school education, and even graduating was an accomplishment. She realized in high school that education was her way out so she started being awesome at school. She got full scholarships to a bunch of great schools around the country, got a 4 year degree in 3 years and started working. She then got a sweet job and then we got our Master's degrees. We both grew up broke so really have no problem not spending all of our money. We really just don't want that much. She has made it a long way and we  will have a pretty cake retirement after 46.

CindyBS

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Re: Who started the lowest?
« Reply #18 on: June 14, 2018, 10:45:54 AM »
I started in Plato's cave......

Not many will get the reference, but I hope a few do.

got it.

ematicic

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Re: Who started the lowest?
« Reply #19 on: June 14, 2018, 11:02:55 AM »
My Father was a drunk but he stuck around and still accepted responsibility for his decisions, the good and the bad. Financially, he made very horrible decisions. I first started to hunt at the age of 9 and it wasn't just for sport, we actually depended of the meat. This was early to mid 80s. So starting off low, financially yes. But I learned such an expansive set of life lessons from growing up I would be oblivious to otherwise. I hate to read about poverty being root cause in people's lives when they fail to prosper. It is not the lack of money but the lack of caring, and lack of effort.

I am in a much better place than my father and my kids are 4 and 5. I hope to pass on many lessons I learned, just in different ways.

Not Your Monkey

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Re: Who started the lowest?
« Reply #20 on: June 15, 2018, 08:15:42 PM »
Much respect goes to my father, who moved to the US as a refugee with 6 dependents, 3 pairs of underwear, and the kindness of strangers.

Despite several years of poverty and prejudice, dad never complained, kept his head down and worked hard. He ended up in a high paying profession and put my brother and I though college. He's now quite comfortably off but won't quit working because he cannot forget those times when he was hungry.

BlueMR2

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Re: Who started the lowest?
« Reply #21 on: June 17, 2018, 06:50:40 AM »
Lower middle class myself.  Didn't see my Dad much when I was young as he was working as many as 3 jobs at a time.  Mom would also pick up part time work when she could.  We were only on foodstamps once though.  Amazing how much they gave you.  It was way more than we needed and were used to when paying for our own.  Never considered ourselves poor though as we always got by somehow.

fuzzy math

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Re: Who started the lowest?
« Reply #22 on: June 18, 2018, 04:13:18 PM »
My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low-grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was a 15 year old French prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet. My father would womanize, he would drink, he would make outrageous claims, like he invented the question mark. Sometimes, he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy the sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament. My childhood was typical: summers in Rangoon, luge lessons. In the spring, wed make meat helmets. When I was insolent, I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds.

CowboyAndIndian

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Re: Who started the lowest?
« Reply #23 on: June 19, 2018, 06:58:41 AM »
My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low-grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was a 15 year old French prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet. My father would womanize, he would drink, he would make outrageous claims, like he invented the question mark. Sometimes, he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy the sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament. My childhood was typical: summers in Rangoon, luge lessons. In the spring, wed make meat helmets. When I was insolent, I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds.

Damn, we have Dr. Evil on site!!
http://quotegeek.com/quotes-from-movies/austin-powers-international-m/98/

Tom Bri

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Re: Who started the lowest?
« Reply #24 on: June 20, 2018, 10:54:12 PM »
My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low-grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was a 15 year old French prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet. My father would womanize, he would drink, he would make outrageous claims, like he invented the question mark. Sometimes, he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy the sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament. My childhood was typical: summers in Rangoon, luge lessons. In the spring, wed make meat helmets. When I was insolent, I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds.

Damn, we have Dr. Evil on site!!
http://quotegeek.com/quotes-from-movies/austin-powers-international-m/98/

Got me beat.

accolay

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Re: Who started the lowest?
« Reply #25 on: June 23, 2018, 07:22:52 AM »
I used to walk 20 miles barefoot uphill in the snow to school bothways, even in the summers.

Padonak

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Re: Who started the lowest?
« Reply #26 on: June 23, 2018, 08:08:21 AM »
I grew up in a poor country during an economic crisis, and a poor family (no father). Grandparents had a small farm, so our family relied on subsistence farming for food. Luckily we had free housing (shitty small apartment provided by the local government), free healthcare (poor quality) and free education (quality varied but at least the school curriculum and textbooks  were pretty good, provided by the government before the crisis). I don't speak what is currently the official language of the country where I grew up. Not that I care because I moved to the US.

As s result of my upbringing, I am frugal, motivated and resilient but also too risk averse.



« Last Edit: June 23, 2018, 08:10:56 AM by Padonak »

pecunia

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Re: Who started the lowest?
« Reply #27 on: June 23, 2018, 08:15:08 AM »
These seem to give a pretty good pattern of what works to be successful.  If there are enough of these are written, they could be put into one of those motivation books. 


Tom Bri

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Re: Who started the lowest?
« Reply #28 on: June 23, 2018, 03:49:39 PM »
As s result of my upbringing, I am frugal, motivated and resilient but also too risk averse.

Too risk-averse as well, though it makes me calmer and happier. For example, I avoid debt with a near-religious fervor. No mortgage, no car payments, no student loans for my kids. Everything is 'save and pay cash' even though some very smart people on this forum can explain in detail why borrowing the money and carrying debt is actually 'better'. Better for smart, meticulous people, perhaps. Not better for my peace of mind. I do use a credit card for convenience, but never carry over a balance.

pbkmaine

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Re: Who started the lowest?
« Reply #29 on: June 23, 2018, 06:12:58 PM »

Padonak

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Re: Who started the lowest?
« Reply #30 on: June 23, 2018, 08:36:52 PM »
As s result of my upbringing, I am frugal, motivated and resilient but also too risk averse.

Too risk-averse as well, though it makes me calmer and happier. For example, I avoid debt with a near-religious fervor. No mortgage, no car payments, no student loans for my kids. Everything is 'save and pay cash' even though some very smart people on this forum can explain in detail why borrowing the money and carrying debt is actually 'better'. Better for smart, meticulous people, perhaps. Not better for my peace of mind. I do use a credit card for convenience, but never carry over a balance.

I'm exactly the same. I would be richer if I got a mortgage and bought a house at the right time, but I just hate debt. Never borrowed a significant amount of money in my life.