How Come I’m Broke and You’re Not?

One of the questions I’m asked most frequently is, “How did you learn so much about finance?” The subtext to the question is usually along the lines of, “I know you aren’t a genius or good with numbers, so how come you have a handle on this stuff and I don’t? How come I’m broke and you’re not?”

It’s true I’m not a genius. A bit of a nerd maybe, but not a genius. I don’t have a formal financial education. I struggled through the two economics classes I was required to take in college and avoided anything to do with math like the plague. Throughout most of my education, I had a serious aversion to numbers. Give me history


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5 Responses to How Come I’m Broke and You’re Not?

  1. Christina says:

    I’m beginning to recognize this phenomena among my more open friends: some of us who started with several disadvantages have caught up or surpassed those who grew up with stable middle-class families. Maybe because we knew not to take anything for granted, and to protect what we earned.

  2. Lori says:

    Different upbringings can also make you better at certain situations. My husband is very good at living on a shoestring budget since he grew up in a lower-income family, but doesn’t know how to save. I learned investing early, but never had to live paycheck-to-paycheck until late in college, so didn’t learn how to cut costs in basic areas. Together we’re a pretty good financial team though!

  3. Amy L:) says:

    Thank you for the advice. I am so frustrated and just googled, “I’m broke, I need help” and your blog popped up. Can you recommend any books for someone like me who owns a small business that is upside down in major debt? Im not sure if I should bankrupt the business or not? It’s doing okay now but the debt is so depressing I feel like I am on a never ending hampster wheel. I have personally guaranteed a lot of the debts but I own a house so I need to take the first step to my financial freedom but not sure where to start. Do you have time to write back to me? You can write directly to my email if you are comfortable dong that. :) Thanks wise friend. Amy.

  4. pfadvice says:


    If you aren’t sure what to do, what you need to do is go to a small business accountant and let him/her see all your numbers. Each business is so different that rarely will generic advice work. The accountant should als tell you exactly what you will need to do to make the business work financially.

  5. Nice article Jennifer!

    After getting financial knowledge it can be useless, IF we don’t put that knowledge into fruitful action.

    If we go to the store and ‘save’ $175 on a flat screen with a coupon and then go out the door and buy a new CPU with the $175? We haven’t SAVED anything.

    Instead, go home, open an online savings account and move that $175 over to it. Keep doing similarly in various buying situations. Budget to purchase items. Watch for sales. Limit our wants. Live below our means. Look toward & plan for the future. Over time we’ll have a nice nest egg and other people will ask how we did it.

    One step at a time.

    Knowing is good.

    But putting that knowledge into action? …is better.

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