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Staff Notes: Not Good With Money

My dad was not good with money. Born in the Mississippi Delta, he told us about “the take,” which was how the sharecropping system was rigged against sharecroppers, my family and others. It was essentially a captive credit dependency structure. I learned many valuable lessons from my father. He had a strong work ethic and instilled in me and my brother many admirable traits. But he was not perfect. One thing I observed him do was be very generous when it was payday. Then, in between paychecks, he would ask to borrow money from me that I had saved from my teenage job. When he was on strike, my savings account was regularly depleted to help the family. He also played the numbers every day saying, “You can’t win, if you don’t play.” I never saw that as a wealth-building exercise.

For better or worse, we mimic what we see, and we learn by watching and seeing.

I am on a pathway to doing better and helping others do better by unlearning bad money behaviors and learning new ones. After a lengthy divorce and ongoing legal fees to remain in my sons’ lives, I continue the struggle to be a good example and teach my children how to cultivate good money habits and a healthy relationship with money.

What I fundamentally appreciate about the vision of On the Road Lending is that we believe in people and do not judge. For people to seek help when they are embarrassed by making bad money choices, they need a safe place, respect, and grace—a second chance or even a third chance.

I do not hold anger toward my dad. I know that structural inequities impeded his ability to live stress-free and leave a legacy of wealth-building tools for his family. Our journeys had stumbles, but I’m thankful that those missteps have given me a fundamental understanding of the challenges and barriers our clients face.

Thank you for your support in providing a no judgement zone so we can meet clients where they are. We appreciate the trust you have put in us.