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I go to strip clubs once a month.
On the second Friday of every month, I go out with a group of ladies who bring gifts, baked goods, and prayer to dancers in strip clubs.
It’s not a Friday-night activity for everyone but I feel like it’s a small thing I can do to make the world a little lighter for a few people.
The women I’ve met over four years of doing this are all vastly different. Some come from a long line of women objectified by men. Some haven’t told their families what they do. Some can’t speak English. Some are pastor’s daughters.
A lot of the girls have other jobs; others can’t put stripping on their resumes.
They do have a few things they have in common. One of those is a lack of financial health.
As a personal finance blogger and millennial who’s paid off over $68,000 in debt over the last 2 years, I can’t help but think about the financial situation that brings a girl to a club for the first time.
With the exception of a few, no girl wants to be working in a strip club. Yet these girls come back night after night like some people head into 9-5 desk jobs they hate. I guess it’s not that different, but why is it so common?
The overwhelming reality for most Americans is that they don’t have a choice, or they think they don’t. When all you know is living paycheck-to-paycheck and spending money as fast as you can make it then there’s no room for thinking about the future or what life could be.
Financial Health Means Freedom
Whether you’re stuck in a cycle of poverty or a habit of binge spending, you can’t experience true freedom without knowing what it means to be financially healthy.
Good financial health means having the freedom to say no the unhealthy and yes to the productive. It gives calm in the financial storm and helps others out of the overflow.
Financial health has nothing to do with wealth. But sometimes we confuse the two. Ignorance traps people in mindsets that keep them in jobs that are stressful or dangerous and manipulated by companies out to exploit them.
Financial Health Starts With Us
It could be any one of us living in a destructive pattern if we weren’t taught what we know about money. That’s why I think it’s vital to have the compassion and patience to teach others how to have good financial health.
Every month we go out we provide alternative financial resources and support for girls trying to break free. We’re even selling the shirts of a former dancer who bought a T-Shirt press!
After years of research, the Center for Financial Services Innovation concluded that the foundation to establishing financial health is “individual persistence, a supportive economic environment, availability of robust social services, and access to high-quality financial products and services.”
Basically, it takes a village.
For now, this blog is my little (tiny) corner of the Internet to do my part. One day we’d like to foster children and I’d like to adapt my free email course to better serve the girls in the club. Whatever I do, if I can help a few people improve their financial health I’ll be a happy camper.