Dear Grandkids, Don’t Make the Same Money Mistakes that I Did!
Dear Max, Marvel and Jack – I love you guys so much! I treasure the time we spend together and the conversations we share. I am so grateful for the special friendships that we are developing.
We chat about all kinds of crazy things, but, today, I want to talk about something a bit more serious… money. Trust me, your relationship with money will really matter one day… and since I won’t be around forever, I wanted to share some of what I have learned about money over the years.
So, here’s what Baba Margaret wants you to know about money.
Money CAN Buy Happiness… But, Only if You Shop in the Right Places
How many times have you heard that money can’t buy happiness? Don’t believe a word of it! The truth is that most people just don’t know where to shop for happiness. So, they buy whatever they see advertised on TV or online. Or, they blindly follow their friends’ shopping habits.
So, where CAN you buy happiness? Well, as my old friend Socrates (Just kidding! I’m not THAT old!) said, “First, know thyself.”
What are you passionate about?
Who do you want to become?
What are you good at?
What makes you smile?
If you can answer these questions, you are 90% of the way to buying happiness.
Don’t waste your money trying to please others. Focus on your passions. Explore, grow and learn. Make yourself better. Be kind and compassionate. Make the world better. Invest in things that are beautiful and useful. And, ignore everything else. This is the only way to buy happiness.
For Love AND Money? Who You Marry Matters! So Do Your Friends!
I realize that, no matter what I write here, you will marry the person you love and hang out with the people you like. This is how it should be. But, as you go through your life, looking for love and friendship, I hope that you also consider how the people you meet think about money.
When you are thinking about bringing someone into your life, ask yourself a few questions.
Are they the type of person who spends money without thinking?
Do they know what they want in life and are they willing to invest in their passions?
Do they value saving and investing?
When they shop, are they on a mission, or are they just entertaining themselves?
How do they react when you try to talk to them about money?
Do they think money is “good,” “evil,” or “just a tool?”
In many ways, the way we look at money is a reflection of how we look at life. Our patience or impatience, depth or shallowness, passion or emptiness is reflected in how we earn, save and spend.
Are relationships all about money? Of course not! I’m just encouraging you to see your potential partner’s (or friend’s) perspective on money as an important part of who they are.
This is a lesson that I learned the hard way – more than once. I hope that you find someone who is compatible with you on every level.
Pay Yourself First. Everyone Else Can Wait!
The world is full of people who want to take your money – companies, people, governments and even family members.
The truth is that you will never achieve financial freedom if you are always paying others first. So, before you pay anyone else, take 10% of everything that you earn and save it. Better yet, invest it!
Trust me, if you start investing now, you will never have to worry about money again. Never.
Until very recently, I didn’t understand that investing isn’t about depriving yourself of the things that you want; it is about giving yourself the freedom to live on your own terms.
I don’t want you to have to take a job “for the money.” If you start saving 10% of everything you make now and investing it, you never will. Instead, you’ll be able to choose to live and work the way you want.
Let’s imagine that you decide to be a teacher, changing the world, but, not making the big bucks. Do you know how much would have after 40 years if you invested $500 every month? At 10% interest per year, you would leave your fulfilling, life-changing career with $2.6-million in the bank! How many teachers can say that?
I don’t regret my career choices, but, I hope that this simple wisdom gives you more freedom than I had. You are so special and I can’t wait to see how you will change the world!
Don’t Just Save Your Pennies… Invest Them!
If you learn to save, you will never be poor… but, if you want to be rich, you need to learn to invest.
Don’t get me wrong. Saving for something that you want is way better than putting it on a credit card. But, saving, by itself, will never make you wealthy.
Here’s how I look at investing…
Every investment that I make is like planting a money tree. It may take months, years or even decades for each tree to bear fruit. But, come it will!
And, do you know the best thing about money trees? If you plant their seeds, you will soon have an orchard that will support you no matter which path you take in life.
So, don’t just save your pennies. Invest them!
The Most Important Things in Life Are Worth Waiting for
Here’s a little secret. You don’t need to be a lawyer, doctor, CEO or entrepreneur to become fabulously wealthy. In fact, I know plenty of people who have fancy degrees from prestigious universities that are dead broke. I also have artist and writer friends who have quietly amassed millions. Yes, that’s right – millions!
All you need to do to be rich beyond your wildest dreams is to develop one skill… patience.
The truth is that most things that we buy “in the moment” don’t make us happy. The faster we spend, the sooner we forget.
The truly precious things in life are the ones that we save for. If it is worth buying, it is worth waiting for.
I hope that these words help you on your journey through life. Never forget that baba Margaret loves you and that I am always there for you. I look forward to chatting with you about all this when you are ready.