Explore Your Financial History
So let's get started. Lesson number one, which is exploring your financial history. So most of the time, we think that our relationship with money is just like, we wake up, we're born, we go to school, we get a job, and then boom, money appears in our life. And we just have this relationship with it, whether it's good or bad, right? You don't really think about why am I doing this when it comes to my money? Or who taught me how to do this when it comes to my money. I think that in life, we don't think about how did I learn to do things in this specific way. And what I found is that, a lot of times when we're working with our money, it comes from our experiences with people who are closest to us, which is our family. And so during this next exercise, I want you guys to create a family tree. Those of you at home, I want you to take a piece of paper and we're gonna draw out a family tree. This is my family tree, but I will fill it in over here, I'll kind of walk you guys through this beca...
use there's an inner artist in all of us and I'm taking you through grade school and I want you to take out a piece of paper and just draw a tree. It doesn't have to be fancy. But this will be your family tree. And what we'll do with this tree, is starting with your most recent, well, actually, let's just get the tree base done. I never claimed to be an artist, guys, so... Okay, so at the base, at the bottom of your tree, I want you to put the family member that's closest to you. That could be your sibling, the person who's closest to you in age. If you don't have any siblings or any cousins or anything like that, it can just be you. But then above that, you'll put your parents. So for me, that person closest to me is my sister Nicole, who's amazing. And then probably my cousin, I have a cousin named Donnie. I don't have a brother but he's like a brother to me. So those are my, those are the ones closest to me. And then above that, put your mother and father. If you have a bonus parent, feel free to put them there as well because they probably have impacted your life as well. So for me, that's my mom and dad. Then from there, we'll go up with your grandparents. If you don't know the names of all your grandparents, that is okay, but, you know, try to put as many, put your mother and father's parents, and your mother's parents and then your father's parents on there as welL. So as you can see on my slide, I have my Grandma Vivian and my Grandpa Sonny. And then above them, I have my grandfather on my father's side, which is my Grandpa Joseph and my Grandma Sara, which is my mother's mother. And then from there, if you know your great grandparents, put your great grandparents. Or your great aunt or great uncle. And if you have any aunts and uncles as well, you can put them on the side. When I was thinking about this I was thinking about any family member that I spend enough time with that they actually impacted the way I perceived life or perceived money. So for me, that was my Uncle Mitchell who, my mother's from South Carolina and I would spend my summers with him in South Carolina, him and his wife. Also my Uncle Ernest who lived in New York but he has a whole bunch of different philosophies about life and money. And then my Aunt Terri who, and I'll get into how I began to, kind of explore, how each of these people impacted my money story. So great grandparents at the top. And if you're fortunate enough, you might know your great great grandparents. I couldn't go back that far, but if you had experiences with your great great grandparents, and they impacted you or stories about them impacted you, it doesn't necessarily have to be that they were in your life. It could be stories about them impacted how you, or influenced how you went along in your life. Once you've done that, I want you to circle anyone who you could say that they essentially affected how you relate to money. So now that you've written out your family tree, I want you to circle anyone that particularly, that impacted how you manage money or view money, or view life. So next what I want you to do, after you've circled them, is start to explore your family financial history. And so, with me, the people who I ended up circling, were my Great Grandpa General. So my great grandfather's name was General Shambley. And I was lucky enough to spend time with him but his name came from, his parents were sharecroppers. They grew up in the deep south in Ahoskie, North Carolina. And when they named him, they decided, they said, we don't want anyone to call our son boy. They have to respect him when they talk to him. So they named him General. And so my great grandfather's name is General. And my great grandfather also decided to go back and get his high school diploma at 80 years old. And so he went back to the local high school, was taking classes and graduated from high school at 80 years old. So what I learned from him was not necessarily just hard work, the value of education but it was that it's never too late. And he positively impacted my relationship with money because, and here's a thing about someone impacting your relationship with money. It doesn't have to be bad. I think a lot of times, we're like, whoa let me think about the negative impacts. But it can also be positive too. And so positively, it's never too late. So when I'm working with clients and they feel like, you know, I'm just in too deep Tonya, it's, I've done everything that I'm not supposed to do and I don't even know where to start. It's never too late to get back on track. So he's impacted me positively. Grandpa Joseph is my father's father. And, um, he was a tough cookie. But his whole, one of his life mantras and one of the things that he lived by, he called it his first law of nature was self-preservation is a first law of nature. And so, if anything, my grandfather's gonna make sure that his needs and the needs of his family were met. That was positive but it also was kind of selfish because it made me feel like well, if I'm not taking care of my family or if my family isn't taken care of, nothing is good. Nothing is well and it doesn't leave room to do anything else for anybody because my family comes first and that's all I can focus on. But that was his first, and he did teach me, when I was thinking about my financial future, one of the things that he did do, is that he left a significant amount of money to my grandmother so that when he passed, she was able to continue living life as she had when he was alive. And so, I witnessing how he managed money and how he set her up financially was inspiring to me. My Grandma Vivian, who is my father's mother, she brought my first stock when I was in elementary school. And so, here I was at the table, on Christmas Day, opening up all my gifts, and I get this stock certificate, I'm like what is this? And I think I was probably about eight or nine years old. And she bought me Disney stock. And at that time Disney stock was worth $15 a share. And since then, it split multiple times and it's worth significantly more, I know it's more than a hundred dollars a share now. But my grandmother, little did I know this, she was showing me that you can give gifts that will build and build on people's life experience. And that, while they might not be able to use them now, they actually contribute to their life. So she also, she inspired me to ensure that I was giving gifts that might not be immediately appreciated, but will be appreciated in a long run. But also, just, my grandmother and how she's lived her life, there's a few money lessons that I've learned from her and I'll get into some of the other lessons that I've learned. But I want you to think about how each of these people has impacted you the way I broke out them. So you can feel free to write some notes along the side within how those people and what you think you gathered from them. My Aunt Terri, I'll just continue, my Aunt Terri was one of the richest women I knew. She still is alive, but my Aunt Terri, her and her husband were very successful and she owned her own business. But she also made me fearful of owning a business because when the government shut down happened, she had a home healthcare business that relied on Medicaid and Medicare funding and when the government shut down happened, their bill, she was not able to pay the bills and ended up having to sell her company. And so, as I thought about moving into entrepreneurship I had a lot of fear about, well what about the unexpected? You know, one thing you think is for sure is the government money is going to be plentiful. But, you know, that wasn't plenty enough for her to sustain her business. But she also taught me the joy in experiencing finer things. I come from very humble beginnings. My parents were both in the military. And my aunt was the first person who took me into a luxury store and took me to a restaurant to have an expensive lavish lunch. And that also reshaped my idea of what was possible and what I deserved. And then my Uncle Mitchell. My Uncle Mitchell is born in South Carolina, that's my mother's brother, worked at a paper mill factory, pretty much since he's been in his 20's. He taught me the value of work ethic. And finding the joy in little things. So while my Aunt Terri taught me about experiencing the finer things, my uncle taught me about experiencing the joy in the little things, because we didn't have a lot of money when I was at his house. But we always had fun as children and those are some of my fondest memories, is making a lot with a little. And then my mom. I have them at the bottom not because they matter the least but because they probably matter the most. Because I spent the most time with my mom and my dad. My mom, saving. My mother taught me the importance of saving. When I was in college, I decided I wanted to go to college in Miami, Florida. My mother, and I gave up a full scholarship to go to college in Florida. And my mother said, well I'm not gonna help you. And I said, well, I don't need your help. I've been saving money all summer. And I got to college. The first day I had to go to financial aid. They said, we need you to pay 1800 dollars before you can register for your classes. And I had to call my mom. (laughs) And my mom was like, she, you know, she was just like, um hm, yeah you need me. And she transferred the money over immediately. But it was the fact my mother had it to do and she was able to help me when I needed and she taught me the importance of saving. And as I grew as a woman, she's taught me the importance of saving and she's making sure that I have money on the side because you never know what will happen. And then your circumstances do not define you. I learned that from my mother because my mother did come from a small, single family household. Well, a large single family household, she was one of five. Her mother was a single mother, on welfare. And my mother has gone to become a property owner, a real estate investor and has traveled to all of the continents, except for one, in her life. And so, she really did not allow her circumstances to define her. And image is important. That is something that I learned from my mom which is good and bad. We'll get into that. And then pay your responsibilities first. So that is one of the things that I learned from her is that no matter what, make sure your responsibilities are paid first. And then my dad. My dad also is amazing and has taught me a lot of money lessons. Credit, the importance of maintaining good credit. But side hustling. And here's the thing. When I talk to people about money management, sometimes your job just doesn't pay you enough. Sometimes you're not doing well with your money, your money isn't, you don't have as much money as you want. Because you're just under-earning. And especially in, we're here in San Francisco today, especially in places like this, New York City where I lived and side hustling was really important to me and that's something that I learned from my father, was no matter what, always have a side hustle, because you don't know what the circumstances will be with your employer. And then return on energy. I get into return on energy in this class and I also get into return on energy in my next class, the other class that I'm teaching, but that was, my father was the first person who taught me the importance of not return on investment but actual return on energy. So I would love for you think back and reflect on the people and their perceptions of money and work ethic and if there's anything they said or did, unsaid, that taught you about money. Is there anything that came up for you when you were thinking about the people in your life and how they've showed you to relate to money? Yeah?
Um, I would say my father, just being frugal. He felt like his father, my grandfather, was cheap. So for him, being frugal was important, like, you know, set a limit but still enjoy your money a bit.
And that's good, that's good and we'll get into money personalities soon. That's one of the money personalities I touch on. Anybody else?
My grandpa taught me the importance of giving. So all of the grandkids, he either bought a car for us or helped us buy a car. And he also helped me with college, so, giving back, leaving a legacy, and giving to future generations.
Wow, is grandpa adopting any other grandkids? (laughter) No, that's amazing. And so, when I was exploring mine, I didn't wanna attribute this to anyone in particular because, one thing I found and being very transparent about my financial history, is that sometimes people can take offense to, you know, and people in our lives do the best they can. A lot of times they don't have negative motives or they don't have ill motives. But sometimes they do teach us poor money ideas, mindsets or behaviors, so I didn't personally attribute to, this to anyone. But, here are some of the negative things that my observations or experiences with my family members taught me about money. The fear of not having enough. And so that scarcity mindset, the fear that, you know, no matter what, you know, I always have to be looking over my shoulder because I could run out at any given time. So that fear of not having enough. Sacrifice happiness for years of security. I think that sometimes we've been sold that, you know, work hard right now so you can enjoy life later, instead of enjoying life now responsibly instead of waiting until later because you don't know how much time you have here. And that you don't want to live with regrets. And so really, the idea of, well, maybe you'll be miserable for the next 20, 30 years working this job, but then you'll be financially secure down the line. But that's not always a given either. And then you've been unhappy for no reason. Safe to spend, work to spend. So, safe to spend or save to spend is you know, saving money to spend it. So I had an allowance growing up, you know I get holiday money, but I would always save money to spend it. I never saved money to save. So for me it was, I equated that if I saved it, I had to spend it. Like, I only saved for the purpose of spending rather than saving for the purpose of saving so that I would just have money on the side if I needed it in the case of emergency. And when I started My Fab Finance, I had zero amount of money in my savings account because I was living the save to spend life. And the working to spend because a lot of times we're told, I work hard, I deserve it, I'm gonna spend my money. And then, financial dependence on a man. So that was something that really concerned me. Or financial dependence on a partner, it doesn't have to be a man, or you know, whatever type of relationship you're in. Financial dependence on that partner and ensuring that, or believing that your partner's gonna be your financial plan or your financial security. And as we know, that doesn't always work out. The appearance of financial security is more important than financial security. I don't know if anyone else can identify with this, but looking like we have it all together instead of actually having it together, that was a big thing that I realized that I had to untangle because I looked on the surface, I look like I had my life together. But my bank account was in shambles. I didn't have any money in savings. I didn't have investments. I didn't have a plan. And so that appearance of financial security was more important than actually being financially secure because it's more about what people thought about me and thought about my position in life, my standing, than what my actual standing was. You're always in competition and can't trust others. And so that was another thing. And that relates to money because if we feel like we're always in competition, whether it's related to our money or the things that we have, our possessions, our positions in life, our accomplishments in life, we can't really celebrate what we have because we're always looking over shoulder watching what everybody else has. And then that also drives financial decisions because you try to outdo other people when you believe that you're in competition with others. Cost over quality. And so, one thing I've learned is that just because something is expensive, doesn't mean that it's of value or of quality. And you know, we equate expensive things, expensive luxury cars, expensive luggage, I have to say, I have a very expensive luggage case, suitcase that I bought, and out of all my suitcases that are broke, that was the only one that broke. It was expensive, and I had to send it back. Luckily they have a good warranty policy, but cost doesn't necessarily equate to quality. And I think growing up, I assumed and I was taught that if it's expensive, it's good. And that doesn't necessarily equal out. And the American dream should be your dream. That was one that I was taught is that, you know, the house with the picket fence the two and a half children, that should be the dream that you obtain , not the dream that you have for yourself. Don't even worry about dreaming for yourself because the American dream makes everybody happy and you'll be happy as long as you achieve that. So what about everybody else, did anything kind of negative come up when you were thinking about what you've learned from people about money?
Thank you so much everybody who is putting in their personal experiences and sharing so I'm just gonna work through some of them. So for example, Chelsea says, I've been blessed to see a variety of financial views. My dad was a small business owner, my mother was a teacher, grandparents held a variety of blue, white collar jobs. I've settled in a spot of saving for the future but sure to be able to live and enjoy it while you're able. So she feels kind of lucky that she's got the balance going on. And then other people, not so much feeling that balance for example. So Sharon said, my parents always stressed about savings, so, that they were prepared, always wanting to be prepared for the unexpected which has its downfall, as you say, in terms of living in the moment and enjoying what you might have. Carson says, what if nobody has taught you financial literacy, and you just didn't have that, that experience. And then Bob says, my mom is a saver, yet doesn't spend any money on herself. So that's come up a couple of times actually, that like saving but not actually spending on yourself. Yeah, so lots of different things coming through from kind of different areas.
And I love that question about what if no one taught you anything about money. Because even when we're not teaching people about money, we're teaching people about money. Avoiding that conversation and avoiding money conversations is teaching people like, avoid money. Or it's teaching them that money may be unimportant or that you don't need to learn these life skills because it is a life skill that is valuable. And so, I want you to really think about those unsaid things that you've learned when it comes to money because avoiding those money conversations is a money personality and we'll get into that. Now that we kind of have a better understanding, I want you to think about, as you progress through this class, I want you to think about some of the things that you do with your money. And who that is reflective of in your life. Good and bad. Because you know, giving, I learned giving, my father just, I was home in Charlotte, North Carolina where my parents are from, I was riding in the car, my father was taking me to the airport, and there was a homeless gentleman on the side of the road, and my father reached into his wallet and gave him ten dollars and like, I'm gonna do my part today. But like, I realize that I get my giving nature from my father. He didn't think twice, he didn't look for the smallest bill, he said, okay, this is what comes up, here's yours. I learned my giving nature from him, but just continue to watch people around you, because this class is, it really is a start of you becoming familiar with your money mindset. And what I hope is that domino, so that you become more mindful about your money because I always say, a mindful consumer is a marketing company's worst nightmare. Because you then, you start to ask all these questions and the marketing tactics that they use don't necessarily work on you because you're more familiar with why you're motivated to do certain things with your money.