Lauren’s Story: Money Won’t Make You Happy

Meet Lauren, a mother of four daughters (including a two-month-old baby!) who lives with her husband in Conway, South Carolina.

What do you and your husband do?

My husband is a produce manager at our neighborhood market. I am current filing for disability.

What did your upbringing teach you about finances?

Money doesn’t grow on trees. I wish it did, but it doesn’t. You have to work hard for everything you want in life.

I had to work for everything I’ve gotten in my life. I was a hard worker. Even as a 13-year-old, I started a babysitting service, and by 16 I was cleaning houses.

What are your highest and lowest financial points?

My highest was when I was working like crazy – a day job, a night job, and a weekend job, right after high school.

At my lowest, I was living on the streets. I never want to go back to that. It happened because I’m a very friendly person, and I believe in everyone.

How did you get out of that situation?

I got out of homelessness by moving back in with my dad, then I got tired of that and went to Job Corps. I didn’t end up doing anything with that degree, business occupational skills.

But then I did what I said I’d never do – I got pregnant, got married to some idiot, then he put a knife to my throat. Twenty years later, he overdosed. But by that point he was out of my life.

What’s the best piece of financial advice you’ve received?

When you get a nice chunk of money, don’t blow it. Put some aside, save it. Out of every little amount you get, if you put a bit away, it’ll add up. Don’t mess with it, save it for the rainy days or the moment when you don’t have anything. They come rapidly.

Three of Lauren’s four daughters relax after a day at the pool.

What are your goals for the future?

My goal is to keep my house because on April 2 we closed on our first house, and then April 6 I had my daughter. Things always happen in triples, and the third thing was that my daughter’s birth had some complications.

I want to raise my daughters well, with love and the church. And I need to finally get my disability, because it’s been taking forever.

What does money mean to you in your life?

Not much, it’s just a dollar. Money won’t make you happy. It will for a moment, but if you didn’t have money, you could still be happy, as long as you’ve got love and family and friends.