One of my favorite parts of working with clients is their stories of how they share financial wisdom with others. A favorite is this one story about a Grandma teaching her grandkids about delayed gratification:
A Simple Life
Mary Ann was neither rich nor poor. She lived a simple life. Her basic living expenses were taken care of. Like many whoâ€™ve lived a full life, the one thing Mary Ann really wanted more than anything else was to spend time with her grandkids, Tommy and Becky.
Tommy and Becky enjoyed spending time with Grandma now, but Mary Ann feared that when they grew older, it would be more and more difficult to keep their attention. This was especially true because she didnâ€™t follow trends.
Like most other kids, Tommy and Becky enjoyed playing video games, surfing the net, and watching TV. Mary Ann couldnâ€™t accommodate any of these needs. She didnâ€™t even have cable, let alone internet.
One day, while helping Tommy with a school project, Mary Ann had an idea. They were going to plan a trip. She wanted to show Tommy and Becky how to plan and save for a trip. So she told them that she would take them to any place in Michigan of their choosingÂ when they turned 8 and 7 years old. Being that Tommy and Becky were only 6 and 5, they had a couple years to plan and save for their trip.
Grandma saved. Tommy saved. Becky saved. Each weekend at Grandmaâ€™s house, they would visit the library or pull out the encyclopedias, and research different places in Michigan. From Holland to Tahquamenon Falls, they sought the absolute best place to vacation. Both Tommy and Becky saved half of their allowances in order to have spending money for their trip. Then it happened. They went to Sault Ste. Marie, the oldest European settlement in the US Midwest. They watched the boats travel the Soo Locks and went to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. They had a grand time.
United States Trip
After that, Mary Ann decided that she wanted to teach her grandkids another lesson: Dream Big!. This time, when they turned 12 and 11, she was going to take them anywhere they wanted to go in the whole United States. Imagine their excitement when they finally saw the Grand Canyon in all its majesty.
At 17 and 16 Tommy and Becky visited Paris. They paid for much of their own trip, and before becoming adults, they could say they were world travelers.
All this was possible because someone wanted to teach them the lesson of delayed gratification. As you can imagine, it gave Mary Ann plenty of time with her grandkids. It also taught them that you donâ€™t have to spend a lot of money to have fun because researching the different places to visit was almost as fun as going there. But learning to save over the course of several years taught them a skill theyâ€™ll carry throughout their lifetime.
The truth is that it doesnâ€™t have to be your kids or grandkids. Many of us have nieces and nephews, and even friends that struggle with money. They simply donâ€™t understand that in order for you to have success with money, you have to sacrifice today for tomorrow. And sometimes, that sacrifice is fun.
Share, or live this story with someone you care about. I know I will.