I’ve always been a saver. I thank my dad for the habit. When I was about 8 or 9, he marched me — still clutching my birthday money — into Bank of America to open a savings account. Ours was a small town but even so, when I saw the carpeted interior and marble pillars, I was awestruck, as if I’d entered a castle. The occasion had to be important, because my dad had sacrificed his lunch hour to help me open an account.
When the paperwork was finished, the teller handed me a small blue book. It showed I had assets in the amount of $15.00. What’s more, as we stood beneath that vaulted ceiling, my dad told me about a thing called “interest,” an idea so magical, I could scarcely believe my ears.
“Free money, daddy? Really?”
My father tapped the side of his nose as he winked at me. “Remember, honey. A penny saved is a penny earned.”
I think my dad, who died when he was 68, would have been proud to see how well I listened to him. Thanks to his advice, I have a comfortable retirement. But I feel guilty when I think of today’s young people. Their prospects for the future aren’t as good as mine have been. By the time they reach retirement age, Medicare may have vanished and fixed income pensions will be a relic of the past. Working against them, too, is medical science. With life spans increasing, today’s young could easily outlive their money. That means they must look at retirement differently than I do. For them, it will be a two stage process. Saving for retirement won’t be enough. They’ll need a strategy to keep that money growing faster than inflation for number of years.
I regret that not everyone is lucky enough to have a father willing to teach his child the importance of saving. But for anyone young who cares to listen, I’ll repeat my father’s secret because it’s just as true today as it was 70 years ago. A penny saved is a penny earned.
(Courtesy of therapystew.com)