For the first time in a long while, we have been getting rain here in Sedona. It is much needed and appreciated, I might add. Allowing an atmosphere for quiet and reflective in my thoughts, I was propelled backwards in time, and recalled a saying my dad emphasized on numerous occasions. “Save for a rainy day” he would advise. Financial planning was something in which he excelled.
Dad took me to the bank when I was about 10 or 11 in order to open my first savings account. Excitement was evident in both of us. Me, because it signaled that I was a “big” girl now and would have my own money, and Dad, because he was teaching me something of value. The savings book was navy blue and the woman behind the counter typed into it the amount of my deposit. (This was before computers, on-line banking and credit cards.) She handed it to me and I was in awe! There were about a dozen pages that could be filled with deposit and withdrawal transactions and I was going to use every one of those pages!
Over time I accumulated what was considered a good amount of money for someone my age in the 1960’s. I had babysitting jobs, an allowance and my first job at the age of sixteen. I monitored the ebb and flow of the sum of numbers in that book, always focusing on making them grow. I was learning lessons about planning for the future.
When I first became a teacher, there was a payment plan option that allowed you to have less money in your checks throughout the school year. The district would take that money and then pay you in what was called a “balloon” check as your last check before summer began. It sounded reasonable at the time, so I chose that option. I happened to mention it to my dad sometime during that school year and he was stunned! He informed me that by doing this, I was not using my money wisely. If I took that same amount of money and invested it, I could make money on it and end up with more. Additionally, he believed the idea of letting the organization have my money was to their benefit and why would I even consider doing that? As a result, I chose the option of getting every penny I earned up front during the next school year and every year afterward. It went right into the bank to earn interest!
Years later, when my dad was ill and couldn’t leave the house, I would visit him every day. During these visits I was educated about the stock market and investing and techniques to make my money grow. Saving wasn’t enough, I needed to have my investments working for me. One purchase I made under my dads guidance was Walt Disney stock. Years later it has grown dramatically and I have tapped into that amount it when necessary. The majority is still in my investment account as a reminder of my dad’s wisdom. I also knew he wouldn’t be around forever, so with his encouragement, I sought out a financial advisor/planner who has been with my husband and I now for many years.
Dad taught me to invest for my future and never spend more than you have. When it was necessary to spend I was a always instructed to ask myself, “is it a want or a need?” If it was a need, then I had the savings to spend and if it was a want I had to decide if I wanted to part with the money. I know too many people who are in debt up to their eyeballs. They buy at whim and do not plan for the future. They cannot afford basic essentials or health care, yet they purchase clothes, expensive technology and eat out all of the time, amassing gigantic credit card debt.
Not me! Suffice it to say the words “save for a rainy day” paid off. Retired and enjoying the rain of Sedona and other blessings at a relatively young age, I am fortunate that my dad instilled the values of financial security and planning within me.