A Transman and His Money

If there’s any group of people on the face of the planet that needs to actively learn how to generate independent income and not rely on conventional businesses to hire them, it’s us.

With a few exceptions, I think I can safely say that finding a job as a transperson – especially in our recent economic crunch – is almost impossible.

I know. I just spent the past 20+ months looking for work. Luckily I finally found a job. I am severely underemployed, but minimum wage is still better than homeless, which I was literally about 2 weeks away from when I got hired.

Now, maybe you’ve seen it somewhere, but I have not seen a discussion of transgender finance anywhere else. Like most people, we don’t like to think about money, talk about money, or give the appearance that we’re even interested in money because, you know, that’s just bad. Greedy. Right?

Money is a nasty thing.

Of course, we’ll discuss our body parts and sexual preferences and practices all day and night with almost anybody who will listen, but can we talk about money like we want it, need it, would love to have it? Noooo way!

Rich people are Evil.

Isn’t that what so many of us believe? That all bad things come from the pursuit of wealth? That people who do manage to get a cushion of cash are bad, selfish people?

But – don’t you wish you were financially secure? Wouldn’t it be nice not to have to worry about money for just a week? A day? To have enough. Would be nice.

Especially for people like us whose livelihood hangs by a tiny thread that can be snapped at any second by a bigoted boss or coworker, or by corporate downsizing in general. If your company decides to start laying people off, who do you think will be solidly on their hit list? Even if it didn’t happen, just the worrying about it, losing sleep and battering your nerves is torture, isn’t it?

You know you’d like to be financially secure. But you can’t envision yourself as an evil rich person.

And that is why you have no money.

But – all affluent people really are evil – aren’t they?

If you really believe that’s true then answer me one simple question as one contrary example:

Who do you think contributes most of the independent funds to charitable organizations? That would include LGBTQ and other civil rights organizations, too. Who can afford the large contributions that most of us can only pony up a mere percentage of?

In fact, who do you think establishes most charitable organizations in the first place?

The only people who can afford to do it, of course: People With Money.

In fact it’s been my experience that most people who have enough to share tend to share it, and do so with heart, soul, warmth and grace.

“Yeah, well, they only do it for the tax breaks,” I hear someone say.

My reply is, even if that’s true, why is this a bad thing? What’s wrong with taking tax deductions? Do you like the idea of handing more money to the IRS than you have to? Of course not!

But you know what? You and I do just that every year, year in and year out. Why? Because we don’t want to think about it.

We leave money on the table for the IRS, for our favorite discount store, for our banks (fees, fees and more fees!), buying gas to drive to places we could walk or ride a bike, buying junk to play with and junk to eat – we do it because we don’t want to think about money.

We don’t want to be bothered with budgets and spending plans, and keeping all those boring records that confuse us and give us headaches, even though when you get right down to it, there really isn’t so much to keep up with if we would just form a habit to do it a little at a time as we go along. Be consistent with it. Take care of it and then put it away.

Really, not thinking about what we spend before we spend it generally results in our having to think about it a whole lot after we run out of cash and have to scrape to get by before the next paycheck.

So why don’t we just deal with it?

Because we don’t like THINKING about MONEY. For lots of reasons. Most of which we don’t even understand and aren’t aware of. And that’s Evil.

But – why do we hate thinking about our finances?

Well, at best we find it mind-numbingly boring. But the worst thing is having to think about the money we should have, but don’t have because we don’t manage what cash we do get our hands on.

We don’t manage our money because we don’t like to think about it, often because, frankly, it’s too painful to face our own financial stupidity.

Many of us channel our disappointment in ourselves into resentment towards the people who have the money we wish we had – money we need just to survive – money we believe on some level we should simply have. Money we feel we deserve.

Here’s a reality smack in the head: We Do Not “Deserve” to have money if we don’t do the things that are necessary to have it.

On the other hand, some of us feel we don’t deserve to have lots of money, or happiness, or fulfillment, or anything else “normal” people have — for a myriad of reasons, some of which may be wrapped up in feelings of inadequacy related to our gender variance, we sabotage ourselves before we even get started.

With few exceptions, people who have enough wealth to be comfortable deserve what they have because they have disciplined themselves to do the things that are necessary to have it.

I’m not one of those people. My parents were not wealthy, but my father made a good living. My parents were afraid of money, though, so they didn’t grow the decent income they did have; they just kept it in the bank, dormant. Their savings account was their “investment.”

I grew up starving for what money could buy. I wanted everything. So I spent my own decent income as fast as I got it. Then I discovered credit cards and everything went spiraling downward from there.

Last year when I got so poor that I lost utilities, lost phone service, lost Internet access, was riding a bike everywhere to save money — started running late on rent and was facing eviction — the dogs and I were getting thin, sharing eggs and oatmeal and not much of it. All because I did not know how to make money.

For the first time in my life I was unemployable. But then, for the first time in my life I was looking for work as a transgender person.

I will never know how much being transgender worked against me, and how much was this wicked economic downturn, but for whatever the reasons might have been I could not get a job. Period.

Meanwhile my freelance income had dropped off to nothing and I did not know how to promote myself. Honestly, I didn’t have the confidence to promote myself. So I wasn’t generating business. No clients, no income. No money.

I began to see my dogs’ ribs sticking out and there was nothing I could do about it.

Now That’s Evil.

For myself, I have decided that the pain of confronting my own financial idiocy is less than the pain of being poor.

Do I want to be rich? You betcha.

Do I know how to do it? Hell no.

But I’m learning. And I’ll be writing what I learn right here.

Because if there’s ANYBODY who needs to know how to generate independent income in this world, it’s us.

BB

image courtesy www.freeimages.co.uk

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4 comments

  1. EvNo Gravatar says:

    So where the hell is the info you nut? lol I’m broke over here. (funnin’ with the nut bit…..but I am broke.)

  2. BroderickNo Gravatar says:

    Heh — The info will come as I figure it out for myself. The first step, though, is to want it and be willing to own that desire — and to do the work to have whatever you want. That part takes time, patience and commitment. The other part is the belief that you deserve what you want and that it must come to you if you will it to. That part is harder than it sounds, but I’ve proven to myself that it works. So well, in fact, that it’s scary.

    Broke is no fun. Let’s all get out of that hole. Other people have done it, so can we!

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