Going (for) Broke | #MyFridayStory №313

Frans Nel
3 min readDec 1, 2023


Jean | Pexels

Living in poverty is different than being poor. And being poor is not the same as being broke.

Poverty is beyond hardship and struggle; it’s worse than being poor. Poverty is closer to life or death. It’s about survival day by day. You rarely escape from poverty. Being poor is less life-threatening and less tragic. Unlike living in poverty, being poor is almost always by choice, even if not a conscious one. When you’re born into poverty, the chances of living a financially secure life are small. Sometimes, individuals from poor families overcome obstacles and achieve success with determination and luck.

Being broke, however, is often seen negatively by people who know how to work with their money. And the strange thing about those people is they don’t even know that what they are doing is a skill — a skill the broke folks wish they also could master. But it is a skill that often eludes them for their entire life. Being broke is as tough a cycle to break out of as it is to break out of poverty.

A lot of people are always broke, not by choice, but because they have habits that keep them broke. The repeated habits become character, almost like DNA in how hard they are to change.

In the home where I grew up, we never discussed money or anything to do with money. My parents both worked the same jobs their entire lives — my dad for 54 years at South African Airways, my mom as a nurse for 53. Financial stability was built into their way of life. Together, their monthly salaries supported our household of six.

I recall as a kid, my Dad and Mom buying a fancy double-door fridge with a built-in ice maker. A visiting friend said we must be rich. That night I asked my Dad if we were. He laughed loudly and proudly said yes. He asked if I’d ever been denied anything reasonable I’d asked for, even if I had to wait sometimes. I realized I never had. He explained how their hard work and dedication made our life comfortable and luxurious.

“By the sweat of your brow, you will eat your food until you return to the ground since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return” ~ Genesis 3:19.

I’ve never respected money, viewing it as something evil that can corrupt you. You shouldn’t let it rule or raise your ego. We should use money to help others, not for self-gain. It comes and goes; you get used to it.

Money management is one area my older Brother never advised me on, also struggling with it himself. We often blamed our parents for not giving us the necessary instructions.

I’m fortunate my kids have broken my cycle of always being broke, watching and learning from a young age what not to do. They adopted survival techniques to successfully navigate money, always having some for whatever comes up.

Today, like my Dad said years ago, we are rich — in more ways than being financially stable. As a family, we broke the cycle by never being broke in love. Together we’ve faced and overcome the challenges of my bad money management.

You can break the cycle of being broke, but only with the help of loving, supportive people to guide you to financial stability.

Have an awesome weekend and please remember to be generous! 😄

As always, thanks for reading 🙏

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