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How to Remove the Shame from Your Financial Struggles

Out of your hat

My grandfather used to tell the story of an abusive bill collector.

The faceless man on the other end of the phone seemed harsh and demanding. My grandfather's struggling friend listened. When the caller finished his rant, the poor man replied,"That's it. You're out of the hat."

Confused, the caller asked what he meant. He answered: "There's just not enough money to go around. So each week I put all my bills in a hat. Then I pull out one and pay it in full. But if you're going to call me and be so nasty and rude, next month I'm not even going to put you in the hat!"

Grandpa would always chuckle and say that the young man became a bit more polite from then on -- and his name remained in the hat.

In last week's installment of this series,"Poor in Kenya Is a Lot Different Than Poor in American, Isn't it?" many of my commenters brought up the point that dignity and contentment are key factors for a full life -- no matter what your income status.

They were right. My grandparents modeled dignity, hard work, and contentment in the face of real poverty. I had all but forgotten the lessons learned a few years back when a debt collector began calling me.