Merry Christmas Eve everyone. For today’s post, I wanted to share with you a great story that I think holds a lot of merit for the end of the year here, and into the next, as many start to think about New Year’s resolutions.
One of my earliest financial lessons came from a family friend – a very amiable fellow who could relate to children as well as adults. I grew up in a suburb of Washington, D.C., and he used to enjoy teaching youngsters about life as much as he enjoyed debating with my parents and other adults about political affairs. One Friday evening he came to the door to take my sister to a party along with his young daughter. I answered the doorbell, but my sister wasn’t quite ready. While he was standing at the door, he said (I can remember it as if it happened last night, although I must have been seven or eight at the time): “Jonathan, life is upside down. I’m busy with my career, but I have no money and have to spend Friday night driving my kids to parties. When I’m older, I’m going to have more money, and I’ll even have a chauffeur to drive me around. But you know what? I won’t need the money or the chauffeur then. I could sure use them now, though. Life is upside down. When you’re young and could use some money, you’re poor. When you’re older and don’t need as much money, that’s when you’ve got it.” You won’t be surprised that I have remembered that message when I tell you who the messenger was. He was Hubert Humphrey, then a young member of Congress, later called “the Happy Warrior.” He did what he said he was going to do: earn more money and have a chauffeur. And he also spent a lifetime in public service dispensing his timeless wisdom to young and old alike.
His remarks to me decades ago are just as accurate today as they were then. Our financial lives are, in many ways, upside down. There’s not a lot we can do about it, but it doesn’t prevent us from being able to achieve our financial aspirations. Simply take positive steps toward accomplishing your financial goals. You can’t do everything at once, but you can do some things now and more later on.
Really good food for thought. Just taking steps toward your financial goals is always going to be a step in the right direction.