My dad left school when he was 16.
It was 1935. His father was very ill and could no longer work. So Dad found work at a potato house, sewing that thick string into the tops of 5-lb. bags of potatoes. But when he heard that a local earthmoving company was hiring, he quickly put in an application.
He was hired (the youngest ever to be hired there at the time) and began moving up in the company, while earning his high school diploma and two engineering degrees at night. He worked there for 43 years before he retired.
My dad was (and still is) my hero. He took on problems and responsibilities without complaint. He worked hard for what he wanted. He never looked down on himself or others. His family was always first – when he had to move to a different city for his career, he took his parents with him, buying a house for himself and the one next door for his mother and father. He could whistle loud enough for us to hear him a mile away. He could fix anything. And he had a great smile.
Financial Mindsets are a Family Affair
I think that I am like my dad in many ways, but I don’t mirror his love for working at a 9 to 5 job. I prefer projects that I can begin and finish. Like Dad, I focus completely on the task, but I also want an end result, variety, and the ability to make my own decisions about my business. I enjoy the adventure of being self-employed. Yes, it is risky. But really, did we jump on this ride to sit with our hands and legs tucked safely inside the vehicle? I didn’t.
We often take on beliefs or values of our parents – or we reject them and move in a different direction. My parents gave me so many great lessons when it came to money. By learning which ones to imitate – and which ones to reject – I am forming a better financial future for myself. I still hold onto their “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” philosophy, but I am adding “wisdom and willpower equals wealth” to my money blueprint.
Life isn’t the same for every person. We have to find our happiness inside ourselves and discover ways to express it. If happiness could actually take on a form, Dad’s probably looked like a big yellow earthmover. My happiness? I think it is a shapeshifter, a big, shimmering ball of energy that moves easily from one shape to another.
What did your parents teach you about money? If your happiness could take on a form, what would it be?