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Memories All Round

Dennis Friedman, 1:50 am ET

MY WIFE AND I ARE traveling to the U.K. This will be my first time in England, Wales and Scotland. We’ll spend a week in London before taking a train to Cambridge, where we’ll rent a car for the balance of the vacation.

My wife planned the trip, doing an enormous amount of research. It took her a couple of months to put this adventure together. I thought we’d be staying mostly in major cities with well-known attractions. But my wife has us visiting a lot of small towns I’ve never heard of.

She insists each of these small towns will provide us with a memorable experience. For instance, my wife points out that the Porch House in Stow-on-the-Wold is the oldest inn in England, dating back more than a millennium, to the year 947.

But I also know there’s another reason she wants to visit these small, beautiful towns. It’s the bare wall behind our living room couch. My wife wants to take a gorgeous photo that she can hang on that wall. She thinks one of these small towns will give her that opportunity.

I’m really excited about our upcoming trip. But I’m not the only one. No, I’m not talking about my wife. It’s Michael, our 14-year-old neighbor. He’s excited because we hired him to water our plants and get our mail while we’re gone. It’ll be his first job.

Of course, I asked his mother first. She was on board with the idea. I think Michael’s father—who is quiet and reserved—is, too. The other day, he gave me a rare smile, as if he was telling me it was a good idea.

We’ll be gone for five weeks. My wife and I decided $50 a week would be a fair wage for Michael. I thought I would pay him $125 before we left. That way, he doesn’t have to wait until we return to get all his money.

I remember my first job. I delivered newspapers. It was a good money experience for me. I was confronted for the first time with the question: What should I do with the money I earned? Should I save it or spend it? I decided to spend it all.

I spent my earnings on a small television and record player for my bedroom. I bought comic books and junk food at the neighborhood market. I walked away broke from that job—just the way I started it.

Who knew years later I would become a saver who lived well below his means? Maybe my old paper route taught me an important lesson about money, after all. Hopefully, Michael will learn some lessons about money from his first job. At the very least, he’ll have to answer the same question I did: What should I do with the money I earn, spend it or save it?

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Linda Grady
Linda Grady
10 days ago

Thanks, Dennis, for your always interesting articles. My 15-year-old grandson came to live with me from a non-English speaking country. I struggled to find reading material that would interest him and improve his skills. Recently, neighbors have hired him to do yard work, take out trash and wash dishes in a restaurant one neighbor owns. What to do with his earnings? He read Jonathan’s book “How to think about money,” and then immediately asked me to purchase several other short, simple investment guides. We opened a custodial account at Schwab and he’s working on his first million – lol. He’s got a ways to go. Hope your neighbor Michael enjoys deciding how to spend his money.

Harry Crawford
Harry Crawford
11 days ago

While in Cambridge, be sure to see the American Cemetery on the outskirts of the city. It’s very beautiful, especially if it’s sunny and the flowers are in bloom. I’ve been to the cemetery twice and Cambridge is my favorite city in England.

Richard Ladd
Richard Ladd
10 days ago
Reply to  Harry Crawford

I agree with Harry, it’s just a few minutes from town in the country. Also, it’s just as nice, if not better than Normandy. The other landmark I’d suggest is the Eagle pub on Corn Exchange for its historical significance. And, if you have time, the Duxford air museum.

Jonathan Clements
Admin
Jonathan Clements
10 days ago
Reply to  Richard Ladd

And don’t forget Emmanuel College, with its wonderful duck pond and Christopher Wren chapel — the best college at the world’s greatest university. But I may be biased.

Rick Connor
Rick Connor
11 days ago

What a great trip. The British Museum and the Treasures Gallery at the British Library in London are great.

We have hired young neighbors to water our tomato plants and get the mail. They loved it.

Kari Lorch
Kari Lorch
12 days ago

Have a great trip! I recently hired my neighbors daughter (13) as her first job to check in on our cats during a few week vacation. In addition to it being her first job her Mom liked the idea as well since she said the kids are pestering her for a pet and this way she was introduced to the work involved, or just living vicariously through our pets. It worked out great, she sent me photos of our happy cats! I also paid her ahead of time. She said she would have done this for free but I was more than happy to pay her. One thing I did make sure to stress was that she bore no responsibility if the cats should get sick or other unforeseen issue, my kids were on the hook to come home from college for something like that. After all they pestered us to get the cats in the first place!

mytimetotravel
mytimetotravel
12 days ago

Have a wonderful trip! If you’re going to Cambridge, make sure to visit the cathedral at Ely, nearby, it’s one of my favorites. Agree with Bath and Chester, and would add Worcester.

BTW, repeating my comment on Details, Details, you do have medical coverage, and medical evacuation and repatriation coverage, right? (Evacuation gets you to the nearest “suitable” medical facility, probably not needed for the UK, but repatriation gets you home.) Also, coverage in case you test positive before your flight home? The UK used to treat visitors for free, but not any more.

Last edited 12 days ago by mytimetotravel
David Sayler
David Sayler
12 days ago

Enjoy the trip! It sounds fantastic!

Guest
Guest
12 days ago

If you’re not yet a Scotch whisky fan, tour a couple of their distilleries and you’ll likely become one. We toured Scotland 30 years ago and have enjoyed them ever since. And on the drive back to the airport my wife clipped some heather from a field and when we got home she made a wreath out of it which still hangs at the head of our bed. A stunningly beautiful country.
The first time I drove in the UK and got to a roundabout I had to keep going around it a few times before I figured out how to get out! But then I got the hang of it.
5 weeks – outstanding! Safe travels Mr. Friedman!

Last edited 12 days ago by Guest
Will
Will
10 days ago
Reply to  Guest

Oh, yes, the Driving! I’d hire one of their teenagers to drive before I did that again!

R Quinn
R Quinn
12 days ago

Make sure you keep to the left, watch your head in those old village inns and be sure and visit Bath and Chester if you can.

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