Father’s Day investment advice for everyone including non-investors
By Dian Vujovich
My father wasn’t an investor. Nope. Not at all. Oh sure, there were the 100 shares of Dayton Hudson stock my mother purchased when she began working at Target in the 1960s. But those shares were soon sold. My dad couldn’t see the value in them. My mother could. But the stock market was pretty much boring back then. There weren’t any 24/7 financial talking heads around. Never mind radio or television stations totally dedicated to yapping endlessly about what was going on in the markets every minute of every day they were open reminding investors of the importance of the chance they’d taken.
Yes, money was important way back then—it just wasn’t all-consuming as it is today.
And that’s one of the beauties of yesterday living.
Like a tidy home where everything has its place, money had its place too. And because the wage gap fifty and sixty years ago was a fraction of what it is today, money circulated more freely: The average non-college educated working man and woman could earn enough money to save for the future, even put their kids through college, own a second car and perhaps a second home. Yesterday’s workers could count on a pension or a government-based retirement plan along with the security of their Social Security checks when reaching retirement age.
Creating a future nest egg for my folks meant working together for similar goals. They each had separate banking accounts and a shared one too. They had savings accounts and bought Certificates of Deposits rolling them over once matured. To juice up their future income my dad built a two-story multi-family home. We lived on the main floor and on the second were two apartments. The income from each helped pay the mortgage and once it was paid off, provided another family source of income.
There weren’t any financial literacy classes back then. Folks like my folks learned about money from their folks. My dad’s parents both immigrated to the United States from Yugoslavia, spoke broken English and made it a point of personal pride for each to become U.S. citizens.
By today’s standards my dad’s parents, my grandparents, would be considered really poor. They were clearly financially challenged but not so poor that they couldn’t dress or feed their kids. Or send them to school.
In their household, when my dad and his siblings began working they’d turn their paychecks over to my grandmother, the keeper and manager of the family’s money. Miraculously, she always had enough food on the table to feed the family— and anyone else in the neighborhood who stopped by— and to send care-boxes of clothes to her family in the old country.
It was a very rich life I had the pleasure of growing up in. A supremely wealthy one, when I really think about it.
Investments may or may not make someone any money in the long run. But, providing a rich quality of life for those you love and care for is as wealthy as one can get. Fortunately for everybody, doing so doesn’t cost a penny. It begins by example.
Happy Father’s Day.
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