DON’T BE TOO IMPRESSED with the magnificent chandelier hanging from the ceiling or the tastefully furnished lobby. A nursing home is a nursing home. It’s not the best answer, but sometimes it’s the only answer.
Mom grew very frail when she entered her 90s. She’d already been diagnosed with late onset Alzheimer’s. At age 91, she fell and broke her right hip and shoulder. At 93, she broke her left hip and, at 95,
MY FATHER HAD FOUR brothers: Bob, Jack, Don and Dick. Born in 1918, Dad was the oldest. Bob was next, born the following year. Jack came along in 1922 and Don in 1926. Dick, born in 1931, brought up the rear.
I never met my Uncle Bob. By the time I was born, he and his wife lived more than 1,000 miles away, and my parents were never close to them. Uncle Don was my favorite.
SUMMERTIME HOLDS great memories for me. I’m reminded of my upbringing in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn. We were average folks living in a modest house. But our home was just outside a private gated community called Sea Gate, at the westernmost point of the island. It was formerly called Norton’s Point.
There, you could find mansions from the Gilded Age, some designed by the noted architect Stanford White. It was also home to the famous opera singer Beverly Sills.
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU wish for: Your kid may grow up to be too much like you.
Many parents do an exemplary job raising their children. The rest of us bumble along, knowing we aren’t perfect but praying we’ve been good enough. I believe I fall into the “good enough” category. But I also believe I went overboard expressing approval for the ways my son Ryan was becoming like me—or the person I once desired to be.
MY WIFE IS OUT OF town for a while, so I have a lot of free time on my hands. I asked Carl, an old schoolmate, if he’d like to have lunch. I thought it would be a chance to give Carl a couple of copies of the HumbleDollar book, My Money Journey.
I didn’t think Carl would actually read the essay I wrote, let alone the whole book.
WHEN WE’RE YOUNG, WE simplistically view our family’s money journey as one long road with clear signs that tell us to “speed up,” “change lanes” or “get off.” It’s only later, as we gain wisdom, that we can discern how messy the journey is—and how each of us ended up turning onto a different street to pursue financial freedom in our own unique way.
By exploring the money stories of three family members, I have come to better understand my own financial journey.
I GOT OUT OF THE ARMY in August 1969. In the months prior, my wife and I discussed our financial plans. Simply put, if I was given a raise to $160 a week when I returned to work, we could buy some furniture for our small apartment. Bingo—we made it. I was earning $8,300 a year.
The other part of our plan was to save my wife’s salary toward a house down payment. She left the job market for good the following July,
I WROTE MY ESSAY for My Money Journey 14 months ago. Since then, our family’s journey has continued apace—including rethinking where we live.
The highlight of the past 14 months was the addition of another grandchild. We now have four grandsons, ranging in age from five months to 10 years old. Last summer, our younger son and his wife purchased a home in Monmouth County, New Jersey, roughly an 80-minute drive north of us.
THIS IS MY FIRST article for HumbleDollar. I’m new to the site, but not new to writing for the public and, indeed, I’ve contributed regular columns to some small newspapers.
My life has had more twists and turns than going down a Kentucky country back road filled with hillbillies, of which I am one. Kentucky is either the poorest state in the country or next to it by any measure you want to look at.
I DON’T TRACK MY finances that closely and I don’t make big financial moves very often. Partly, it’s because I’m so busy with other things. But partly, it’s because I’ve come to see the virtue in benign neglect.
Still, this is shaping up to be a surprisingly busy year. I’ve taken a handful of financial steps—with three key goals in mind:
No. 1: Prepaying retirement. Like many others as they approach retirement,
I WAS AT WORK WHEN my daughter called. “Grandpa was taken to the hospital in an ambulance, and you need to meet Mom and Grandma there as soon as you can.”
I entered the hospital room 45 minutes later, and I saw my mom in tears standing next to my dad’s lifeless body. Dad’s hair and face were spotted with wood chips and dirt, and he was wearing a torn flannel shirt and old blue jeans.
IT WAS PROBABLY THE last time I would see my brother. I’m 78 and ravaged by a chronic but controlled cancer, a stroke warning and a stent. Rich is 74, with a health profile only a little less foreboding. Both of our parents died at 81.
Always cordial but not always close, we’ve worked through his resentment about how I abdicated my role as an older brother and my jealousy about his close relationship with our explosive father.
HAVE YOU THOUGHT about what made you the person you are—the way you think about money, life, your behaviors, your likes and dislikes? When I look at my own life, I can clearly see the impact of my childhood.
My mother and grandmother made a lot of my and my sister’s clothes. I recall those paper dress patterns all over the apartment. Is that why I dislike shopping for clothes? I’m happy to let my wife and daughter decide what I should wear.
IN SOME FAMILIES, adult siblings work together to take care of their aging parents. But many times, one adult child ends up doing most, if not all, of the work—which is how things have played out in my family.
I’m the oldest sibling, and my wife and I took on the task of caring for my octogenarian mother and stepfather after they moved to Georgia from Colorado in 2017. I have a brother and stepbrother who live in other states.
HI RYAN, DON’T FREAK out because I’ve written an actual letter rather than an email. No big news here, no emergency, we’re fine. I just have something that’s been percolating and I want to share it with you.
Ry, it’s become clear learning about investing is not where you’re at right now. I’ve tried to think of what I might have done to turn you off. We know I was depressed and withdrawn for much of your childhood,