Most people don't trust their own spouse with their money. This group of four women living in South Minneapolis share every penny they make. They call their home "The W.O.M.B."These four women earn different amounts of money, have different careers, backgrounds, and student loans. But everything they make goes into one account, and what they take out is meticulously budgeted and its use voted on. And a large portion of their money goes back into their community, either through non-profits or small businesses. “The money is never really ours," says Emma, a founding member. "It’s just in our hands for a little bit and we redirect it to where it needs to go.” Although they are not religiously affiliated, they do take some inspiration from faith-based community work, like Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement. They face a lot of confusion around what they do and how they do it. "Some people say 'Oh it’s like Communism right? Everybody gets the same, everything is equal,'" says Emma. But she sees their group differently, a space where "people put in what they have and they take what they need." For Xiaolu, who was born in China, the comparison to Communism hits close to home.
“I was explaining to my grandmother that I live in this house with three other women, and she said ‘No, you do not share things! Yours is yours.’ I can hear from her voice there is such fear and not trusting other people.”
But the four women's goal is to change understanding of what's "mine" or "yours." “What we’re trying to do is not equal our worth with the time we spent making money," Xiaolu and Emma both say.
From left, the members of the W.O.M.B.: Xiaolu, Emma, Hannah and Siri.
To learn more about The W.O.M.B., listen to the episode. You can also visit their website. There, you can read their 'zine and learn about the organizations that they share their income with every month.