The Money Compass

Nadine Robinson's Money Journey

April 15, 2021 The Money Compass
The Money Compass
Nadine Robinson's Money Journey
Show Notes Transcript

In this weeks Money Journey episode, Julie is talking to Nadine who shares her story of ups and downs in her relationship with money, and how these experiences have shaped her life.

Visit themoneycompass.co.uk for more information on this topic, news and more episodes.

Julie Hunt  

Thank you so much for joining me today Nadine.

 

Nadine  

Hi, Julie, thank you so much for having me today.

 

Julie Hunt  

I'm really excited to be hearing all about your money journey today. So to start us off, do you want to just tell the audience a little bit about yourself?

 

Nadine  

So I was a midwife for almost 20 years, and I'm a mother of four daughters and my husband also has three children. So we are a step family blended of seven. Now I have a wellness practice where I really mentor and support and nourish women, just to you know, live your life on fire and be filled with passion. Its a little bit woohooo and it's also a little bit normal.

 

Julie Hunt  

A little bit of a combination of the two woo and not. I think I'm a bit woo adjacent to be honest I think is kind of a phrase that sort of gets bandied around so I'm intrigued but I don't really know enough about it I feel to be 'woo' if that makes sense. So, to start off, can you tell me what your earliest money memory is?

 

Nadine  

I loved it when you told me that you were going to ask me that in our email exchange because I needed to sit with it for a little bit and I realised that my very first money memory that is strong, was that my grandpa used to smoke cigarettes, and he used to give me $5, and I could walk to the corner store and buy him two packs of cigarettes, and I got to spend the rest of the money on whatever I wanted at the corner store. And I just thought this was the best thing ever. I was probably seven, you know, maybe six or seven, I was a little, but boy that was exciting because I had all this free money, I was like, I can't believe I get all this free money to buy whatever crap I want. There was no adults around to tell me what to spend it on, I could get the biggest wad of gum if I wanted to, or the or the candy cigarettes. Did you guys have candy cigarettes in the UK when you were little?

 

Julie Hunt  

Yes I remember candy cigarettes! Yes, definitely. And they used to have the paper around them as well so it actually felt like they were real.

 

Nadine  

I would buy those and I just thought I was so cool, so that was like a real moment of freedom and joy, just to have that kind of opportunity to do what I wanted to with my money, well my grandpa's money really!

 

Julie Hunt  

Fantastic so do you think the seven year old you always bought sweets with that money?

 

Nadine  

Always.

 

Julie Hunt  

I guess depending on how much money you had left over decided how many sweets you could have. 

 

Nadine  

Exactly, yeah, yeah. 

 

Julie Hunt  

Oh, fantastic. Right, so I'm going to ask you to tell me about your money journey so I'm going to let you tell your story in your own words, if you'd like to start from the beginning.

 

Nadine  

Yeah. I grew up in a small town on the prairies in Canada. So, it was very white, very middle class. And of course you don't realise those things when you're growing up because you just think everybody's normal. Everybody was sort of the same, it was all pretty vanilla, and so I lived in a small town, maybe 30,000 people. And I just thought that our life was normal. I thought all my friends had probably about the same amount of money as we did, I never felt really rich, and I didn't feel very poor. I was the oldest of three kids, my mom stayed at home. My dad worked so very traditional, very Christian, very 'white', you know, all of the stereotypes, I was it, I was living it. And I didn't realise that we had a little more money maybe than some families did until we bought a new home. I was turning into going into grade seven, and there was quite a bit of buzz in my community this house, and I just thought we were normal so I look back and I have a fascination because I think my parents actually did a pretty good job of not having this kind of 'spoiled brat' reality. My family owned a home in Hawaii. I thought everybody just got to go to Hawaii every once in a while - everyone got vacations, right? It didn't occur to me, that it was like fancy or elaborate right? My grandparents owned this home and we would go two or three times a year. Our whole family would go and I just thought that was a normal middle class thing. Then I hit grade seven. And I realised that it was not normal middle class, and I had this realisation. And then I turned into a brat Julie. I remember my dad had this car, he bought this real fancy sports car, and it had a computer in it so let's put this into context, this is like 1987. He had a computer in his car. Okay, he had the sports car that he drove to work my dad was an entrepreneur, he owned his own business, he was very successful again, I had no idea at the time, I just thought every dad went to work,  and so I programmed in the computer "take Nadine shopping at my favourite boutique store every Saturday morning" and that would pop up on my dad's computer. Well, being the only daughter, you can imagine my dad did spoil me, so I ended up getting a spending account at the store so I had x amount of dollars I could spend at the store and I just would charge it to my account. But, you know it's funny because from the outside looking in, everyone would have thought, wow, this is great. Look at your life. I was working, I worked part time with my dad and I actually ended up contracting to my dance instructor as a young girl, so I had these two full time jobs, but my parents were giving me all kinds of spending money, like I have a spending account. We're taking all the trips. And so when I turned 16 I was able to buy my own car. So here I had all of these perks you know we were travelling, I had nice clothes. We lived in this beautiful home. But things are not okay. And it's really funny because we look at people who we think are wealthy or successful and it's so common to think "oh yeah, they've got it going on", but things were really going off the rails. I started getting bullied really severely in grade seven and things were not good at home. My parents relationship was starting to unravel, I didn't really know that at the time but I think you know how emotionally we pick up on those things. And so, I needed to get out and so I got pregnant at 17. My mom was devoutly Roman Catholic, and so I knew if I got pregnant, I knew what the rule was - to get married.

 

Julie Hunt  

Oooh at 17? Married at 17?

 

Nadine  

Yeah, so married but my boyfriend, he was a year ahead of me so he was a smarty pants so he went off to university. But again, the strange reinforcement of money and how we function with it. I had a lavish wedding. I don't know how much it cost, I have no idea, my parents paid, with the huge reception and the dance and the blah blah blah. We didn't really take a honeymoon, I think we went to the family reunion that year because I was pregnant. And my then husband was starting school and we got a brand new car as a wedding gift. So it was strange because we ended up just moving away to university. We were poor as church mice, and I use that term loosely, because we were living on student loans. And yet, we had a car that was paid for, the insurance was paid for, we had a gas card that we could use as much as we wanted. And we would drive home to our family every weekend and they would feed us and fill us with food and, you know, "oh, here's some new clothes" or "here's some stuff for the baby" or whatever. So it felt like we were independent and responsible. I remember we used to eat out at McDonald's, once a week. That was our big treat, because that was all we could afford. But I look back at that now and I think the safety net we had was gigantic, there was no trouble here. Oh, you know, and then that was hard.

 

Julie Hunt  

No, no, you're fine. I was going to say so what happened next? What was the next step?

 

Nadine  

Well, we have our baby, and she is sick. So she needed surgery within 24 hours so here we are these two young parents, I was 17 and he was 18. Our baby's sick, she gets surgery, and we're just kind of trudging along but really you know we're not happy. Things are not good. He's trying to live a university life, we end up having another baby together and by the time that second baby was born, I mean, things were just awful. But in the meantime, I'd had sort of this rift with my family. So, they were still supporting us and his family was supporting us, but it wasn't good. And so things were really bad, and that's when I really started to struggle so I had these two little girls. I was a high school drop-out who had no education. He was going to school, and things were getting bad and I'm not sure. You know it's funny when I think back about this because I'm not sure what was happening with my family at that time but for some reason I really didn't think that I could talk to them about what was going on in the marriage. So I ended up spending a lot of time in women’s shelters. I ended up spending a week at one of those kind of motel hotels that sort of, you know $20 a day. I spent some time on and off social assistance, and the relationship was just falling apart, and my family was having their own troubles, my parents were now getting divorced. That was messy. I had two younger brothers. I was alone. I was really not functioning well, and it was the first time that I actually experienced poverty. I really had to look at this and think okay, so I'm going to feed the kids, and I probably just won't eat for a day or two. Those were the kind of decisions I was making, and so had gone from this nice, normal - I'm going to use the word 'normal' life, to realising that we were wealthy or better off with us having this beautiful supportive wedding and support you know our parents really wanted to support us so that we were successful because they didn't want us to fail, but then we had this complete shattering and I was just alone living in Skid Row hotels with two little girls, and then I would go back to the relationship. Then we'd be unhappy and it would be awful. And, you know, we just kept kind of easing in and out, and there was a period of time where I was pretty much homeless, it was over a month. And the girls and I were just trying to kind of find somewhere to stay we'd stay at a friend's for a couple days, then social services would give me some money and I'd go there and then I stay at a women's shelter for a bit. And my oldest daughter does have a few memories so she would have been three, maybe four, and she has memories because she said "mum, I remember one day walking in, I was excited because I saw the toy room, and I knew I could play with the toys there". And I remember thinking, yeah. wow. That was a really, really hard time. And of course you can imagine, not only was I living in extreme poverty. I had these two little girls, and I was very very vulnerable. I ended up in a relationship with someone else. Because of course I needed a knight in shining armour . I don't think that his intentions were bad if I can use that word, but his relationship to money, was that he was the knight in shining armour. And so that became a huge theme and again at the time you're so desperate and you're so raw and looking at these little girls and spending time living with my mom or spending time living with their dads Mum and Dad, and, I'm trying to find a place to live. I don't have somewhere to live, I mean it was chaos. So when this relationship aligned it was sort of like well maybe this is the way through, maybe this is okay. But if you're a knight in shining armour, there's usually some baggage that goes along with that. I ended up pregnant, and away we went again. We moved, and he had a good job, but the money 'language' was horrific. He controlled the money. It was his money. When we first moved to Calgary he really thought I should lie about being a single mum and try and get on social assistance. So I did that, I went and applied, and they called me back and said well we called your landlord and your landlord thinks that you and him are together. And so that just tells you my relationship with money, I was in this real 'victim' kind of place you know, you thought you were owed. I wasn't taking responsibility for my own decisions, or my own life, and the relationship with money was just reflective of that. I put myself in this ridiculous position. And I knew how to manage money, like I say I saved all my money and bought my first car at 16 years old with cash. You know, I bought a $15,000 car with cash in 1990, so I knew how to work with money, it wasn't that but somehow, something had got shifted in my brain and my relationship to money was just broke and I abdicated all responsibility to it. Why was I accepting this relationship where he made the money so that means it was his money. So I was really, really struggling in that dynamic, and that was when I started feeling really vulnerable, and so we had our baby so I now have three little girls. And I started to be woken up to Midwifery, and thought that maybe this was my calling, maybe this is where I wanted to go. And so, in Canada at that time, there was no education. There was nowhere for me to go to school so I was like, what am I going to do?, how am I going to do this so I needed to figure out a way to find a midwifery programme to find some midwives that would train me and it was a real kind of piecemeal dynamic, but I realised that I needed to start taking responsibility for myself, and taking responsibility for my own money, so I could also take responsibility for my daughters. So, I go back to school, and my husband at the time was supportive about so he was willing to pay for midwifery school so it was very good, but again it was this real bizarre kind of love, hate, as long as he could be the knight in shining armour, my money choices were okay, and that's how it felt to me, it always felt like, "well, sure I'll pay for your school". But it wasn't the relationship where we were in this together. Let's find a solution! At that point he was making a lot of money, and I was given an allowance every single month, and that was all I was allowed to spend, so I had to pay for the mortgage and buy all the food and pay for all of the children's needs, and there was no other money for me. We were living in a nice home and I had a nice car and we were travelling, but again, none of these choices were necessarily without payment if I can use that word. So there was this expectation that, yes, he might be willing to do all these things but we also needed to know how important it was that he was doing it and that he was the saviour and he's the one who did all the work and he was the one who was doing all this stuff so it was really difficult. That's when, and I thought I don't know if it's a woman thing. Is this our journey with money that we're not expected to manage it? I'm almost 50 now so I think, was that part of the programming, that women aren't expected to manage the money, women are expected to have a strong relationship with their finances. I still feel like I was a bit of that era where men manage the money, women take care of the home. So I think that there was still those cultural narratives. 

 

Julie Hunt  

And I think that's still something that we see certainly in older people we see it but then also then where do you learn from you learn from what your family do before you so it kind of comes down to how you're taught about it. It's like breaking those boundaries.

 

Nadine  

So it was very strange and so I did get my midwifery degree. The relationship was not good we were spending time together and apart. I'd moved away to practice midwifery for a period of time. But again, in Canada, midwifery was not paid for by the government, it was not part of the National Health System. So at that time, families were paying us cash. So I was lucky if I was making sort of $8,000 or $10,000 a year, so I had no money. And it was interesting because, again, you just see how the different relationship with money and so I realised that if I was actually going to get out of this I needed to get a secret credit card, because he had a credit card, but he really controlled what was allowed on that, and you know there was all of this really ridiculously controlling kind of narrative. And like I say there was times where he was so gregarious and generous. But at the end of the day, it was really clear about who was running the money and how. So I realised if I was going to get out of this relationship I needed to start building a pathway to do that, because it was very emotionally abusive and financially abusive. I thought I need to do this, what am I going to do. So I got a credit card, just in my name. And if I think I only qualified for $500 or $1,000 limit. I had no credit. I hadn't had a job, as a midwife I was self employed so there was nothing about what I was doing that was that was healthy and gave me that financial autonomy so that I can do that. And finally, I called my dad and I said to him I need a loan. I need to talk to a lawyer because I need to get divorced. And he was like "no problem. Got it". So my dad had lent me the money so that I could engage with good legal counsel, and I moved out. And that's where it really got fun, because when you're dealing with someone who's financially so controlling, you can imagine what happened next. So I was right back to where I was eight years before, with two little kids. Thankfully I had a house. And we rented a home, and I was living with the four little girls, I was practising midwifery. But again, I was not making any money doing it. It was difficult to get clients sometimes because a lot of people don't have $2,000 to pay someone to catch the baby when they can go to the hospital and get it done for them there for free. I was very very poor but you can imagine what happened next. So, money was getting hidden, child support was sporadic at best, spousal support was terrible. And, I mean this was 20 years ago now but I'm still good friends with my lawyer. And she says to me that guy never did disclose his true financial situation. He lied he steals, he hid and I said yeah he did. But I don't know why I was expecting anything different. He was doing it through the whole marriage. Why would I expect anything different? Why would I expect integrity? Why would expect him to be honest? And it didn't matter if he was hurting the kids, he didn't care. It was his ploy so that he could take the children away from me, he wanted to destroy me. Because if you're the knight in shining armour, you can't dare unmask him for what someone might see and so that was a huge learning lesson because I just remember thinking to myself, look at what I've abdicated look at where I've placed myself. Look at what I'm teaching my kids, four daughters at this point. Oh, okay, great. This is a great example and of course it's  horrible.

 

Julie Hunt  

Yeah, absolutely, it's a really important way of looking at it as well.

 

Nadine  

We went through a number of very, very difficult years. And again I was back to not eating, I was back to.... I used to laugh I didn't go out for coffee for probably three years. The only time I had a coffee like a Starbucks or something was, if a friend bought one for me. I couldn't afford it. I used to drink, I always tell this story. I didn't have a lot of money for food so I'd buy food for the children and I would mostly drink coffee with cream. And my big splurge, would be buying the good cream. When I went to the grocery store for my coffee, it might have been 35 cents more, but boy, I felt posh. That was my only treat. I wasn't eating, I'm five foot nine at that point I weighed 120 pounds. I was so skinny. And it was a really horrible time. And, you know, there was a lot of suffering, to this day the kids tell me that they didn't really know how poor we were. They didn't really understand and again, I think back to my parents, I didn't understand that we were really wealthy. And I feel really proud about that because I think you know that's not a burden that we really want on our children is it? None of us want our kids to know how horribly we're struggling or those kinds of things but I remember thinking this is my chance. How do I want to show up to money. How do I want to relate to money. And it was, it was hard. So at the same time, I'm single, I'm dealing with the kids and I've met my husband, my now husband. Third time's the charm I tell everybody! What the heck woman?!  My husband and I were madly in love, I've got four kids, he's got three so we kind of did the Brady Bunch thing and we all moved in together. But again, so by this time midwifery is just barely funded. He's working. I'm working but we've got massive expenses. And so I said to him, "look, I'm not doing this again". We need to be really clear about our agreement with money, our relationship to money how we're going to show up to money, and Richard went to a lot of therapy and marriage counselling, to talk about how to object. So third time, getting married, first time going to marriage counselling - it's a really good choice by the way. I really really wanted to have a really good clean healthy relationship with money, because I realised that I didn't appreciate what I had when I was young and it's hard for us to appreciate when we're little, I just took it for granted that my parents would just help me out, and then moved into the space of disastrous relationship with money absolutely disastrous. So we went to marriage counselling we were budgeted down to a tee. We had an allowance for each child every month so that we could spend on what we needed to for the kids, it was perfection. And, of course, once we finally cleaned up, he was getting divorced, I was I was divorced, once we cleaned all that up, and we got rid of all of those negative nasty yucky patterns. Gross beliefs, really unhealthy relationships with money because to me, I love money. And what's money to me, freedom! And freedom is just about an energy. It's not about, you know, the physical stuff, I just love that freedom. So I was practising as a midwife, I was making a lot of money. He was working in his business, he was making a lot of money. And suddenly, we just kind of looked each other and we're like, "hey, what's our relationship to money". We still have very different relationships to money, right, he's got a bit of a different relationship than I do. We both have our own experiences of learning. We both have our own ways of being in the world, but I really realised that we needed to work together, and we needed to kind of clean up each of our relationship with money, I for sure like money more than Michael does. And I value it more. He likes other things but I like I say that freedom for me it's critical. And when we finally cleaned up our relationship to money and cleaned up the relationship with ourselves, that's when our businesses started to flourish. So he was making tonnes of money, I'm making tonnes of money, and we just suddenly have the lifestyle, and the joy and the passion that we want, and we don't fight about money, we know how people say, most couples fight about sex and money. Yeah, we don't fight about either. Maybe that's the marriage counselling, I don't know. But it really changed everything when I started to realise what my responsibilities were, how I wanted to show up, and you know people talk about worthiness, this is the wooo part, Julie, you know, we don't have to believe that we're worthy. But when you understand what your relationship is to money, it gives you that freedom to heal the wounding, heal the beliefs, heal the family stories that are there, so that you can have the relationship you want. That is where it's taken us so we really are living the life that we want, exactly how we want. My priority is to travel, we were sharing about travelling earlier so travelling is a top shelf priority including with our family. We love taking the children with us. And even if I'm gone for six weeks, can you come for two weeks in the middle? That kind of stuff is where we're really plugged into, if that makes sense. So that's  mostly the journey!

 

Julie Hunt  

That is absolutely fantastic, thank you so much for sharing it. It is interesting how, as you say you started off with money but not realising you had money and not really appreciating it to suddenly having no money but having a safety net to really kind of fall back on, then finding someone who basically controlled you really and then you've come out of it all through the other side. Then you've got to a position where you are and actually I thinking about having counselling about money. I think when we say  couples always argue about money, it's normally the lack of money, rather than having too much money. I think that is definitely where the issue there lies. But actually if you haven't got a lot of money, having a plan of what you're going to do about it. I love the idea of an allowance per child, that's really good, because that must be something that people struggle with, especially when you've got lots of them, what do you do respect? I think it was really, really interesting. So what would you say if someone asked you, what do you think from your journey, what would be your learning points for somebody else listening?

 

Nadine  

Don't ever abdicate your responsibility to your money and to your relationship with your money. I really think I gave that up, I gave it up to my parents and then I gave it up to my partners, then I gave it back up to my parents again, and it really taught me the importance of women having that financial literacy, even if I don't need to control the money. My husband now is way better at managing the money than I am. So he manages it, but I sit down every morning with him and we go through our money, whether its our investments, what are we spending, what are we doing with this and how do you feel about that - because I will never put myself in that position of not knowing. And also have some autonomy, I keep my credit card, it's in my name. I have a $50,000 limit on it now. And if I call the bank that I need it to be 75, they'll be like, OK!  I'm going to keep that forever, because that's going to remind me that I cannot allocate out my relationship with money.

 

Julie Hunt  

A long way away from your $500 limit when you first got your first credit card. That's a really interesting journey that you've had and also the learning points that you've had throughout it have been fascinating and how you've made those changes. And that I think is a testament to you as a person. That you are strong enough to do that so its absolutely fantastic. They're really really good, especially with four children and I'm guessing they weren't old were they say they're all under a certain age. So, the other question I've got obviously we talked about the money journey, and obviously we love travel and you love travel which is a definite plus point. What is your favourite holiday destination?

 

Nadine  

Anywhere with hot sandy beach, and a gorgeous ocean. That's generally, how I spend two or three vacations a year, obviously not during COVID but that is that is top shelf for me, and I can do the swankiest place anywhere in the world, but I also love Nicaragua, Costa Rica too, all of those different places, Cuba too. There's so many beautiful places in the world. But that is definitely my favourite place to go.

 

Julie Hunt  

And so you still have the house in Hawaii?

 

 No, again, back to the money journey - so it was a crazy tax put in by the federal government, and my grandfather owned this huge steel company and was very wealthy he owned a house, and his best friend committed suicide, because they lost everything. And so they had to sell the house. So I learned very early about the evils of taxes. Of course now I wouldn't say it's evil at all. But again, that was the narrative in my family, so we don't have the house in Hawaii, but I still generally go at least once a year.

 

I've not made it to Hawaii but it's definitely on my list of places I'd like to visit. If I ever get there, I'll have to find out what I need to check out from you. So, would you like to just share with everybody a little bit about your business and where they can find you?

 

Nadine  

I like to teach wild women to live their life on fire so that's what I do and like I say a little Woo, and also very practical too. You can jump over into Facebook, and check out my free group, it's Wild Woman Healing Circle. And that's on Facebook or you can pop to my webpage. It's wildmedicinewoman.ca. That's what I do! Thank you Julie.

 

Julie Hunt  

That's absolute fantastic thank you so much for joining me today and I've really enjoyed listen to your journey I'm sure our listeners will as well. 

 

Nadine  

Thanks, Julie!