And on that note, let's get to our topic of the day. So today we're talking about financial fitness, right. It must be the money, it must be the money in connection with our health, in connection to stress. This is a big thing on people's minds today. And so I wanted to offer up some very practical advice, but also this is coming from a deep place of experience.
I had multiple environments that I grew up in and living in poverty and also living in a really kind of safe and certain, in a feeling of abundance as well early in life.
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So I've shared this on the show before but up until the age of about 7, I lived with my grandmother, going to school, kindergarten, first grade, second grade. And it's not that they were wealthy, my grandfather my grandmother actually worked at a factory but they worked hard and they got themselves a home in a good neighborhood and they always had enough.
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And they made experiences magical for me. So growing up, when Christmas came around, listen, first grade Christmas, I got Voltron. Not one Lion, all 5 lions. Do you know what that does to a kid? I just felt like I was the richest kid in the world. And those kind of experiences were normal in that household, I had a lot of the things that I would ask for that I thought was kind of on my radar.
I've got to share this too. Christmas second grade, ThunderCats. Lion-O, Thundercats Ho, the whole thing. All right, she got me all these different characters with the stocking stuff with little gifts and candy and this kind of thing, it was just such a really beautiful rich experience.
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And holidays and my birthday, she made such a big deal out of me, and just really investing in me and showing me what this kind of beautiful life for a child. And just to be clear, life is not all about this stuff and material things, it's just when you're a child, that's kind of the things that you know, you want these particular toys you see on the cartoons, it's kind of these borrowed desires.
But it was a thing that was kind of the template for me, and what to expect from life, until I moved in with my mom when my grandfather got sick and they moved back to the country where he grew up in Piedmont, Missouri. And so I moved back in with my mom. My mom was trying to give me a better opportunity of staying with my grandmother because you know she could provide for me at a different level. And so living or mom, when I go stay with her on the weekends sometimes, I slept on the floor, I didn't even have a bed.
And there's roaches and rats and that was just kind of the norm. My mom and my stepfather worked hard but they were just there trying to survive. And once I moved in full time, things progressively we got better in some instances, we'd find safe housing, I have my own bed at least to share a room, my brother, we had bunk beds at one point. And eventually I had my own room, it was a size of a closet, literally, I could walk a couple of feet into the room and then walk out the door but I had my own room at one point. But when I had my own room for the first time, our two family flat was right next door to a crack house.
And so the people in the neighborhood who were my idols and the people that were my role models were in gangs, like the guy who I thought was the coolest person in the world was a drug dealer. I wanted to have a car like him and to have the system in my car and to have cool shoes. I wasn't thinking in terms of what he was doing in order to make that happen and the people that he was hurting. And so so many people who are in those positions, they're not thinking about the ramifications of their activities. This is one of the reasons that we push wealth away, is because we attach negative things to accumulating wealth.
And so once I started to understand what he was doing via my mother telling me to stay away from him, and for him to also stay away from me because my mom was kind of like this cool, weird lady that people, that would talk to around the neighborhood.
And so, fortunately, even though I would go some places with him this kind of thing, I never got into that world full-on. But I was in a lot of sketchy situations growing up. And at this point, and this is very clear in my mind, so this is right around you know the seventh grade and sixth and seventh grade, but we couldn't afford Christmas toys.
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And this is just an example that I'm giving for you, and also we couldn't afford food either. But for Christmas, since I started with that example, we would get gifts from this charity house, that is called the Hosea house and they would give gifts for poor kids. And one Christmas, me and my little brother went on a trip for poor kids and we went to like this random building and we were just with all these other kids and we were giving gifts and this kind of thing and we got to ride in the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile I don't know if you've ever seen it before but it was cool.
But the gifts that I got for two to three years in a row was the same exact gifts from the Hosea House. I kept getting Yahtzee. To this day, I still don't know how to play Yahtzee. All right we take the dice, play craps or something, but I never even learned how to play.
And it was just like, of course, I was complaining and nagging my mom like, "Why can't I have this," we just couldn't afford it. We couldn't afford it. We had food stamps when food stamps hit, that was Christmas, it was Christmas every month because my mom would give me a book of food stamps and I can go in like buying all the stuff that I wanted as candy and different things like that. And we also had WIC, which is like women and infants program, we get free milk like the worst cereal ever, it was like it wasn't Captain Crunch, it was King Vitamin.
So it was King Vitamin and then you get the cheese, you get the government cheese, and the government cheese never quite melted right. So if you try to make a grilled cheese sandwich it just didn't do its thing properly but it was still good, it was still good. And so that's how I grew up. And so through my life, I got this blueprint, especially my formative years that money was hard to get, there's an incredible amount of lack and I had these messages fed to me daily from my mother if I asked her for something she would say things like, "Do I look like I'm made of money.
Money doesn't grow on trees. I'm broke as a joke. These are things I would hear on a daily basis. And so I thought that money was just like very, very hard to come by. Guess what my first job was— a lot of common first jobs, I want you to guess what was my first job? Fast food. Fast food, I'm the antithesis of fast food. Today fast food is a joke around Batman. But then I was all for it, I was there McDonald's first job, all right so I'm back there flipping the burgers, I know about the secret sauce, you don't want to know— I'm just kidding, well, maybe. But for me, that experience of like going clocking in, making my own money, it was just the name of the game.
And I was indoctrinated with the idea because of what I grew up around, that I am going to trade my time in order to make money. I'm going to trade my time and try to get as many hours as I can, come back smelling like flame-grilled booty and that was terrible, I am sorry.
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But not smelling great and I did come up with my own burger that I made when the MC Rib came back out and then I take the bun— nevermind, it doesn't matter. Bottom line is I was indoctrinated with that idea. And also trying to find hustles, right free stuff. But not in an ethical way so like when the day's over at McDonald's you get to take everything. So I would just like rack up any place that I can get perks like that because that's how I saw my mom do, she hustled, right, she hustled. And so anywhere she can get something for free, that's what she got.
Get bills paid for free, taking advantage of the credit. I had bad credit before I had credit because my mom was using my name, all right. When I first got my first apartment I couldn't get my gas turned on because my mom hustled and used my name. That's how I grew up.
And so next job, each job progressively you try to get better, that's one of the psychological things that we do, right, we try to make a little bit more money as we go through the process. So the next job gets paid a little bit more— that was Target. You come to my line, you are going to have a good time. So I went from there to working at a stadium, sports arena was my next job, I got paid a little bit more.
Louis Blues play.
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Shout out to the Blues. So that was my next job. Then from there, I had a couple of little things here or there but the longer-term things was another jump in pay and this is kind of where really things started to change for me and becoming the person that I am today.