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BROKE: THE NEW AUSTERITY & FAUX FAMILIAL IDYLL

Posted in Life with tags , , , , on May 22, 2013 by Nnena@NordicBLACK

Being single isn’t easy.  Especially in today’s recessionary dating economic climate.

I realised my new Austerity at Home program wasn’t going according to plan when I overheard my son tell a playdate that we didn’t have an X Box because his mum was poor now. “Is that why you live in a flat?” his friend asked.  My son nodded sagely.

I like writing for a living.  Especially in investment management where I get paid to write about debt, risk and the prevailing economic environment.  It’s a challenge to write convincingly about complex  investment strategies designed to persuade a sceptic public of investor skill and human decision-making in an age of technology that frankly, suggests otherwise.

Creative work environments help me formulate my thoughts and crystallise ideas. Writing can be solitary. I enjoy a team dynamic.

It’s not easy being a mum, especially if you try to be a good one.  Being shamed back into your old job by a 7 year old’s perception of your finances is one of my all time top comedic family moments.  It’s also much more prevalent than you’d think.

I started reading Broke by economist David Boyle by chance. The tagline is Who killed the Middle classes?

I once wrote a letter to King’s College Cambridge, requesting a bursary at the end of my first year of university.  I kept my begging letter short and for impact wrote “I am black and working class”.  Five days later I received a cheque for £500 (an enormous sum for someone in my situation).  I subsequently wrote myself out of poverty the hard way enjoying equal helpings of tragedy, luck and tremendous good fortune. I’m still black and working class, but thanks to my own mum’s endeavours I’m also very well educated.

Money earned in a single generation skips the middle classes and so I’m richer than I need to be, but not as wealthy as my children would like.

Broke analyses how affluent middle class families were afflicted by a new austerity for which they only have themselves to blame.  It can’t end well, so it’s up to me to change my narrative.

I don’t know when or how my life became so dramatic – a tragi-comedy of errors and sudden bid for independence that ruined faux, familial idyll, changing everything for the better.  But as a writer I have more perspective now: on other people’s lives not just my own.  I also have funnier anecdotes (every writer’s bread and butter).

I thought it would be healthier for me to write and work from home. Apparently, my kids don’t need me healthier.  They need me wealthier.

Please share this with your network if you think they might enjoy it.

THIS IS NOT MY FLAT

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EVERYTHING BUT THE GIRL

Posted in Interiors with tags , , , , , on April 26, 2013 by Nnena@NordicBLACK

Hard work rarely leads to riches.  But all work no matter how tedious helps pass the time of day.

I used to know a lot of wealthy people.  None of them did anything you’d call hard let alone work so this week I put my trust in human agency, forgot I’m technically insolvent and booked the best interiors photographer in Scotland to shoot my home.  The chat alone was money well spent.

If I were rich I’d be discreet about it. I’d own one small apartment, have little else that needed upkeep, work less, take off more and go on adventures with my children. I’d also be generous.  Anonymously.  So I could sleep at night.

Anonymity is hugely underrated.  So is generosity.

In my experience people either inherit vast wealth or steal it.  But then I used to work in financial services and briefly worked for Russian oligarchs.

Neither of these scenarios make for well adjusted individuals or families happy with their lot.  Blatent latent familial discontent amongst relations carving up ancestral wealth makes tense dinner conversation.  So does working in financial services when you feel the sly and the privileged somehow privatised imaginary wealth that led to crippling public debt.

Most people expect others to have more than them.  Few posses the grace or generosity to smile at anothers gain.

I applaud creative entrepreneurship and the guilt selflessness that leads to charitable donations.  But sometimes the only generosity needed is a smile or casual ‘Hello”.

I’ve never understood celebrity attention seeking.  I love the Curb Your Enthusiasm episode showcasing Ted Danson’s fake philanthropy/faux anonymity in The Anonymous Donor.

It’s hard not to judge those you once loved harshly and unfairly. Harder still taking responsibility for your follies, past mistakes and loved one’s woes.

This week I learnt reluctantly that rich men often cheat.  Apparently their wives put up with it because they have too good a deal.  I don’t know why I wasn’t like that.  Or why I’d rather be alone and broke working for a living with crippling debts than married to a wealthy man that controls and pays for everything.  I guess when freedom’s more important to you, money gets you everything but the girl.

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