10 Things Our Grandparents Did With Money

thFirst off, when I reference Grandparents, I am referencing those who were born in the late 1890’s to early 1900’s. In my opinion, that was the smartest generation.   Actually, I even think my great grandparents were even smarter when it came to money, but for the sake of this post the two can be intertwined.

When it comes to investing money, many people today look at what the super rich do, people like Donald Trump or Warren Buffett.  Instead, I like to focus on how my grandparents lived, and to bring that into modern day, how someone like Dave Ramsey lives rather than those like Warren Buffett.  As a Dave Ramsey coach, I like it when he says: “If you live like no one else now, so later you can live like no one else”.

Sadly, many people today talk about investing in the stock market all the while spending money as fast as they make it. Let’s face it, many of us want to be rich when we retire but most of us, who work for someone else are not living like someone else, we are living like everyone else, meaning you are most likely in debt and not saving at all.

You don’t need to be rich to save money….you just need to be smart.  People I coach do not have an income problem for the most part, they have a spending problem.  If you want to retire “rich” and by the term “rich” I don’t mean mega bucks, I just mean being able to live comfortably, than you need to start now.  Our grandparents didn’t change how they lived once they retired, actually, my grandparents didn’t retire, they worked until the very end….for themselves, not for someone else.  Personally, I think this whole concept of “retirement” is not accurate, sure, there are some people who will work the 30 years in a company, retire and then sit at home the rest of their life and do nothing.  Nope, that is not me.  I plan on always doing something, such as writing blogs, coaching and mentoring people, something.  I will always be working in some fashion.  The goal however, is that when I “retire” I am not working to survive, I am working because I want to. Actually that should be our goal right now.  Working because you want to, not because you have to, but that is really a topic for another blog post.  For now, let’s focus on 10 things our grandparents did with money that we should be doing.

  1. Live Debt Free. That’s right, if you can’t afford it, you shouldn’t buy it. My grandparents never held a mortgage, had a car payment, or owed money to a store. If they couldn’t pay for it in cash, they didn’t get it. Today, we live in a society that encourages, or shames for a better term, us into having the biggest and best now, rather than saving for it. We are in debt with a house that is too big, car that is too expensive and stuff from a store we don’t really need.
  2. Live below what your make. If you are making $65,000 a year, live like you are only making $35,000 a year. It can be done. Then….
  3. Save. Save every dime you can that is above your normal, but limited living expenses.  And I don’t mean in the stock market.  Oh yes, some stock investments in mutual funds are fine say through a ROTH or up to your company match 401k, but save some cash. Our grandparents stashed cash under the mattress, not what I am recommending, but, cash on hand isn’t a bad idea, cash in the bank and hard assets.
  4. Hard assets. Land, property, my grandparents had land and lots of it. They rented it out and that is where their income came from. Everyone needs a place to live, why not be the one who has the land/home to rent?
  5. If you need it don’t buy it, use what you have. Grandparents didn’t have the convenience of shopping on Amazon or running down to Home Depot, they looked what they had on hand and made due.
  6. DIY, do it yourself. We are so quick to pay someone to mow the lawn or fix a pipe. Do it yourself. You have the smarts, and if you don’t just search the internet, there is a YouTube video that will teach you just about anything.
  7. It doesn’t have to be new. Why buy a new car? Used cars are just as good and someone else has paid the upfront depreciation when they drove it off the lot. Same with most appliances, hit up the scratch and dent for a purchase.
  8. Function over fashion.  Grandma and grandpa knew that it was more important and cost worthy to buy something that would last over something than looked good. Today, we are so focused on the looks rather than the durability, why, because we are focused on what the Jones’s may think.  Here is a fact, the Jones’s are not looking at you, they are looking at themselves in how they can impress you, and you are trying to keep up with them….you most likely don’t even like them so why go deeper in debt to impress someone you don’t even like?
  9. Frugal is a badge of honor.   There is big difference between being cheap and being frugal. Frugal means you buy smart, cheap, many times, ends up costing you more in the end, like driving miles out of your way to pay three cents less for gas, that is cheap. Filling your tank up and then driving with the A/C off on a nice day, that is frugal.
  10. Homemade stuff is so much better than store bought. Our grandparents made most everything at home, clothes, food, furniture. Granted, even I won’t make my own clothes, but I do eat home as often as possible and it tastes so much better than sitting in a busy restaurant.

So you see, our grandparents may not have had millions of dollars sitting in the bank or in stocks, but they had enough assets and knowledge to be rich, and it never dawned on them to “retire” because to them, they never really worked, they just lived smart and did what they loved to do and focused on what was really important, family.  Our grandparents had family around all the time, that was what the real investment was in and that is why when they died, they died rich.