Would You Rather Make More Money Or Be With Family?

June 21, 2007

I met a lady last night that answered this question the hard way.  She came to the US from Honduras three years ago, leaving behind her family in search of a better paying job. Now she’s decided the extra pay is not worth being separated from her kids and parents and is counting down the days until she can return home to her family.

Hard Working Woman
Adela spends 10 AM – 3 PM at a local restaurant then works 3 PM – Midnight cleaning our office building.  As I worked late last night she commented on a picture of my son when she stopped by my desk to empty the trash. Despite her broken English and my ignorance of Spanish we managed to use Google Maps, Babelfish translation, and a whiteboard to communicate.

She works two jobs and is saving up money for her family. She has a two-year old son here in the States with her but left a son and daughter with her parents in Honduras that she sends money to.

Family Over Money
She talks to her kids back home twice a month, every other Monday.  Although she is providing more money for them than she could back home, she misses them dearly.  She’s decided the extra money isn’t worth being separated from family and will return home when she has a chance.

Balancing Blessings & Ambitions
Hearing her story made me a little embarrassed to be complaining about not having enough family time. My job might not be the most enjoyable and might keep me long hours but at least I only have one job to worry about and my family lives in the same country and the same city.

Of course this makes me wonder if I’m being unappreciative of what I do have. I guess I could just be thankful for my blessings and not push so hard for changes in my life.  It is hard, for me at least, to find a balance between enjoying what I have and working hard for what I want.  I’m glad I met Adela, she reminds me to slow down and appreciate the things in my life but to also not be afraid to venture out and attempt to improve it.


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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8 Responses to Would You Rather Make More Money Or Be With Family?

  • Zachary Scheidt

    this story makes me thankful for 1) my wonderful family and 2) this great country of opportunity. It’s always interesting to see how many people are motivated to come to the US for the opportunity but how many of us don’t truly appreciate just how blessed we are to live here. Sure there are many things all of us would change and the great thing about our country is that we are free to work on changing those. But i’m thankful every day for this land, the people who lead it (all of us) and for the young men and women who fight or have fought to keep us free!

  • broknowrchlatr

    To me, there is no question. I’rd rather under the poverty limit and be with my family then a billionnaire away from them.

  • mapgirl

    Ah. That reminds me of my favorite co-worker at my last job. GREAT GUY. He was totally awesome. But during a 3 day weekend while our company was moving offices, he was helping the IT team run cable and set up servers/computers. One Monday he was complaining that he got to spend zero time with his kids that weekend and I just wanted to smack him. It was ONE SINGLE WEEKEND.

    Till I left for college, my folks worked 10-12 hour days to provide for our family the same living he provides by telecommuting on hours 8-12 for his job. (Meaning he works 8 in the office like everyone else and then works from home in the middle of the night if he has most stuff to do. As shopkeepers, my parents have to be in-store and smiling at everybody.)

    He really needed some perspective, but I was so busy controlling my tongue that I ended up saying nothing.

    People really need to grab a clue as to how the rest of the world lives. When I see that my shoe is falling apart, I try to remember that in other places they will repair it because they cannot afford to buy new ones. Who cares if it’s out of ‘style’? At least I have some shoes!! It’s my moral responsibility to fix it before I throw it away.

  • J at Home Finance Freedom

    “Would You Rather Make More Money Or Be With Family?”

    I suppose some people would choose, “C: wish family made more money.”

  • guinness416

    Going home, well good for her. There was a really good cover story in the NY Times a few weeks ago abour Filipinos who leave home for work. It was very interesting, and heartbreaking in parts too. It is so very difficult to emigrate. I left Ireland, a relatively close and easily accessed country, a few years ago. I left no kids behind, and visit very often, but that was tough enough. The usual narrative is those who make good, become good Americans/Canadians/whatever and never look back, but I certainly know plenty of other Irish expats who either dream constantly of returning home or who have already moved back.


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