Posts Tagged ‘Grandparents’

What your grandma’s smile really means

Monday, June 24th, 2013


You gotta love your grandparents. Sweet wrinkly old people that send you a five dollar bill in a card every holiday. We laugh at their ways… in a loving way. We roll our eyes at them sometimes. It’s hard to imagine your grandparents when they were young. Were they wild or reserved? Did they work hard or were they slackers? Maybe they were just like us? You will never know because you weren’t there to see it. The stories they tell you may have been affected by time and memory, again you will never know.

Sometimes these sweet old people give you advice on life. To which you listen and return a smile and say, “Okay, Grandma.” You think your grandma is smiling back because she loves you.  And she is, but she’s also smiling back at you saying to herself, “Darn fool, I know you are smiling at me and blowing off my advice so I’m gonna fake a smile right back at you!”

Your grandma’s advice may be antiquated and not remotely relevant to your life in 2013, but the fact is that she knows more than you. Maybe not about texting or Call of Duty, but the way her generation lived could be some of the best financial advice you will ever receive.

Your grandparents lived in a time when the only debt incurred would be a mortgage on a house and maybe, and I mean maybe, a car loan. Your grandparents would save up and pay for everything. Simply put, they lived within their means. They spent less than they earned. If they didn’t have the money for something they went without.

Then came your parent’s generation – MY generation. WE grew up with borrowing and debt as the norm. Need a car? Get an auto loan. Need furniture? Take the 0 down, 0% payment plan. And credit cards? Yeah, most of your parents are carrying a pocket full of them, often with big balances. No one saved up to pay for anything ahead of time. We just whip out the credit card and worry about paying for it later when the credit card statement comes. What great role models for their children – YOU!   

Your grandparents have watched their children struggle financially. They see the stress not living within your means will bring. They smile at you because they love you, and they smile at you because they know you don’t really listen to them, but you should.  

My advice:  If you do have a grandparent that is still alive (and many of us don’t), I suggest you sit down with them and talk about money. It will do as much for them as it does for you in terms of spirit and connection… and if you listen carefully and learn, not only will your financial life be less stressful, you will have the satisfaction of knowing your grandmother’s smile is simply full of love for you. Let your cousins have the, “You’re a fool” smile.