Whale’s Budgeting Tips for the Poor, Ctd

Yesterday I talked with you about my father, today I will talk with you about one of my mentors.

I won’t use his name but I will tell you a bit about his upbringing.

It wasn’t flash. Him and his three siblings were brought up in Howick, in a house not far from where I live now. I drive past it most days. They were poor. His father was a mechanic and from all accounts didn’t make good use of his money. His father still is poor, living in a house provided by his son.

My mentor relates often about how they were on first name terms with the local repossessor. How he shared a room with his older brother and how they top and tailed in the single bed. His sisters did the same in their room.

He says you can tell people from poor upbringings by watching them eat fish and chips…if they tuck into the chips and leave the fish to last they were brought up in a household where food was not plentiful, where there were the quick and the hungry…you see everyone was going to get a piece of fish but the chips were a free for all. Tuck into the chips and get as much as you could, then eat the fish last. If you ate the fish first then you got no chips..,. the lessons poverty teaches you.

For warmth at night there were no duvets but they did have coats. He relates a story about one night when the local pastor was visiting and he and his brother were fighting over the coats at bed time. He called out to his mother that his brother was doing one thing or another with the coats. His mother would politely remind the boys that they were duvets…till my mentor called to his mother that his brother now has his legs stuck int he arms of the “duvets”. [It has been pointed out to me that this is similar to a Billy Connelly sketch, and it may well be, but if my mentor says he slept with coats, then he did.]

My mentor’s father used to beat his mother….badly. His older brother would take the kids to one room and tell them that they were a team, that if they stuck together nothing bad would happen to them. This has stuck in their minds to this day, they are all in their 50s now and they still remember it vividly.

His father also used to beat him. Not a smack on the bum mind, or cuts with a switch, I am talking about full punches to the face and the head. my mentor has relayed to me the time he counted as his father punched him in the head, counting each blow…punch, one…punch…two….punch…three…punch…four….and so on until he passed out. I am unsure of the exact number but it was more than 40.

Imagine the terror for those 4 kids, living in poverty, a punch drunk mother, a violent large man beating not only his wife but also his kids to unconsciousness.

When my mentor was around 14 though he had had enough. He leapt onto his fathers back with a kitchen knife in his hand and held it to his fathers throat. He said that if he ever touched his mother again he would kill him. He took a beating for that but his mother was never touched again.

Eventually his father left. He found plenty of other women. My mentor pretty much lived by his wits after that…he used to catch the bus into the city and  try his hand at the eat and bolt trick at city restaurants…the owners took pity on him and then he had regular feeds. He still went to school though…and managed to chat up an older girl who would bring him his lunch each day….he married that girl when he was 18…and is still married to her today.

He also took it upon himself to defend the weak and to smash the bullies. Still he was a feared child at school. Then again anyone who will hold a knife to his bully father’s throat is probably someone who knows very little fear. Certainly no school kid could administer worse beatings than he had at home.

He left school at about age 16 and went to work for the Post Office…he learned a trade. He also sought out mentors to learn from, he has always done this. He bought and sold cars, he owned flats and on his off days would be painting and renovating them….he owned space invader machines and collected the coins and moved the machines using the Post Office truck…he used his wits and his wits taught him well.

The single best thing he learned though was sales….he taught me everything I know in sales and every week I learn more from this man.

He is one of the most generous people I know and people often take advantage of it, but he just smiles and carries on. He has given away millions of dollars in charity and asked for nothing in return. He believes that the more he gives the more he gets and considering he is worth several millions of dollars I think his plan is working.

It is remarkable that with someone who had such an appalling childhood could do so well. But what is remarkable is that every one of his siblings is like him, millionaires. Independently wealthy with multiple streams of income. My mentor now owns his fathers house, pays his father a stipend and visits with him as often as he can…he has a capacity for forgiveness that I haven’t seen too often.

When I was in my darkest days this man reached out to me and gave me a place to spend my days, he kept me busy, he kept my mind active. When I needed a loan, or some help he was there…asking nothing in return. He has been a true friend to me but like my father he had every excuse in the world to be a drop-kick, or a loser.

He has never made excuses for his childhood, he has never complained about it. His favourite saying is “It is what it is”….it is a trusism but so appropriate.

This country is great and can be even better because despite all the issues that socialists like to focus on about what is wrong with this country there is so much more that isn’t wrong. That people like my mentor, from a childhood that was pretty dire can become multi-millionaires, run public companies and retire in their 40s shows just how truly great this country is.

I have heard all week from Simon Collins in the Herald and from assorted vested interests about how life is tough, how the poor should be helped, about how tough life is. I can tell you that for every hard luck story that Simon Collins has used this week my mentor has had it much tougher. You won’t hear him calling for entitlements, life doesn’t owe him a living, he went out and took his living from life, he made his life as it came to him.

One word you will never hear from my mentor is “can’t”…because in his mind for everything he believes that he “can”.

Do you want:

  • Ad-free access?
  • Access to our very popular daily crossword?
  • Access to daily sudoku?
  • Access to Incite Politics magazine articles?
  • Access to podcasts?
  • Access to political polls?

Our subscribers’ financial support is the reason why we have been able to offer our latest service; Audio blogs. 

Click Here  to support us and watch the number of services grow.

As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.