Sometimes the best advice is from those that have already gone down the road we plan to travel on. When it comes to our finances, talking to our parents and grandparents can enlighten us to many ways to accomplish our goals or at least avoid their mistakes. Below are 10 time tested ways that we can learn about wealth from those that came before us.
1. They paid their bills on time
Our grandparents never considered the option to pay bills late. They believed that a man was only as good as his word, a handshake must be honoured, and debt should be paid right away
2. They didn’t have credit, so they paid in cash
Luckily for them there were no credit cards and banks still believed in doing good, sound business. After seeing the effects that borrowing caused the Great Depression they avoided the idea of borrowing like the plague. Taking advantage of financial benefits is a good way to avoid borrowing if you don’t have cash.
3. They saved money
Many of our folks suffered terrible losses of home, possessions, and self-respect. As a result, they learned to set aside funds for “rainy days” to make sure that it never again happened to them or their loved ones. If they could not afford something right away, they set aside money until they could get it free and clear.
4. There was no such thing as junk
Have you ever had your parents ask you, “Why did you throw away that perfectly good toaster? I could have fixed it!” Nothing was ever simply tossed away if it could be fixed. Younger siblings got “hand-me-downs” that were knitted, hemmed, or patched up.
5. They worked hard to make ends meet
They worked hard for their money—really! Many fathers worked a few jobs to make sure the bills got paid every month. Even mothers would take in the wash to help make ends meet. Family time and fun was relegated to the holidays and weekends, otherwise our folks worked hard!
6. Charity was considered a bad word
Back then there was no welfare state. Folks stayed afloat by working hard. Even a hungry man without a job would work for a meal and hard floor to sleep on. Mind you, they did not mind giving to those in need, but they seldom would accept it for themselves.
7. They lived in homes they could afford
The generation after the Great Depression knew what it was like to lose their homes right out from under their feet. When the world started to recover, they played it safe by only buying what they could afford. When they could afford it they would add-on to their homes. They took pride in creating their homes rather than expecting some designer to do it for them in an expensive house.
8. They lived through genuinely tough times
Listen to the stories they tell you about life before, during and after the Great Depression. Learn how they got back up on their feet. They did it by working hard and finding their way by doing what had to be done instead of looking for the easy way out.
9. Community was more than a neighbourhood
Even though folks struggled they did it together. They respected every person the met and helped each other without charity. My grandmother used to tell me that she used to do the wash for her “betters” to earn money for her 4 children. She never felt shame because her “betters” treated her with respect.
10. They created a real legacy
The current generation would do well to learn these time tested ways to gain wealth instead of finding alternative ways to manage their money. Why use credit to buy things you don’t really need to incur debt? Learn to plan for your retirement when you are young so that when you are old you don’t have to look back and look at the money you wasted on stuff.
Learning from others is a great way to gain knowledge without the pain of the experience. Use the information above wisely and a healthy financial picture will follow.