If you’ve followed the blog for several years, you know I’ve spoken about my grandfather. The end of June marks his birthday and it is a time I always wind up reflecting on his life, the things he taught me, and the imprint he left on so many people’s lives. He was someone who was smart with money and level-headed about, well, everything. Anyone looking for solid, non-biased advice could always look to my Pawpaw. Where finances were concerned, people could stand to take notes. Here are a few lessons he taught me.
Take Time to Think
One of the biggest things my Pawpaw taught me was that you need to take time to think about big decisions. While spontaneity is good (and he had plenty of that), he would take a moment to think about any life-altering decision that needed to be made. Case in point: when he and my Nana decided to adopt my mom, he took a few days to consider all of the factors and make an educated choice. He looked at their finances, learned a little more about adoption, and that had a baby girl in their arms later that year.
Leave It to the Pros
There are some things better left to the professionals. My Pawpaw hired people to help with the things he wasn’t good at because, chances are, if he tried doing them it would just cost more money. For instance, he hired landscapers to come and do the yard. He also hired an advisor to handle some of his investing. When it came to tax time, he was the professional everyone came to. This is just a good reminder that just because you can DIY doesn’t mean you should.
Find a Supportive Partner
Another thing my Pawpaw taught me is that you need to have a supportive spouse/partner in your corner. When he approached my Meemaw, his second wife, about wanting to retire early she went out and bought him a retirement mug. “Go for it,” was her response. They were such a great team and understood each other well.
Secure the Life You Want to Live
My grandfather knew that he wanted to retire to Florida and he did just that. It took hard work and planning, but he made it happen. Around the time I was five years old, they moved from North Carolina to Florida. He and Meemaw purchased a beautiful new home in a 65+ community. They lived out some of their best years together there and it is where she still resides.
Have a Plan
Securing the life you want to live isn’t possible without a plan. Every step of the way, he knew what the end goal was. He wanted to be able to have financial freedom and enjoy his life on his terms. We would always joke around that Sinatra’s “My Way” was really about him.
His planning didn’t stop with his life either. Pawpaw had a plan up to the very minute he died. He didn’t leave anybody holding the bag after he passed away. Instead, everything was already handled. The will had been written, money where it needed to be, and everyone was able to process their grief.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Last, but certainly not least, something my Pawpaw always said to us was this: “Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it is all small.”
That is the truth! There isn’t anything in the world you can’t come back from. In the grand scheme of things, it is all small stuff. When he lost a sizable amount of money in 2008, he kept moving forward. It sucked, but he recovered from it. At the end of the day, even the market crash was small stuff. If you keep that mentality, you can overcome anxiety and reach your goals.
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Amanda Blankenship is the Director of Social Media for District Media. In addition to her duties handling everything social media, she frequently writes for a handful of blogs and loves to share her own personal finance story with others. When she isn’t typing away at her desk, she enjoys spending time with her daughter, husband, and dog. During her free time, you’re likely to find her with her nose in a book, hiking, or playing RPG video games.
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