I used to get a kick watching my Grandfather cut “rubber bands” out of old inner tubes or him complaining that it was not worth taking my Grandma to the buffet because she would not eat enough. Like a lot of people my age our Grandparents lived through the Great Depression that had an impact on how they lived and viewed life.
If I ever needed a part for a project or a bolt that I could not find, I knew that I just had to go to my Grandparent’s house and he would have it. His notorious hording of “junk” was just the result from growing up without much money, living through the Great Depression and rationing items during World War II. He worked hard and played harder.
I remember going on fishing trips as a boy with him. He would pack us all up in his van and we would head to Canada for a fishing trip. We would drive for 12 hours to get to the middle of the woods and set up camp. We would sleep in a Army surplus tent, fish out of a leaky boat and eat spam…..spam and eggs, spam and fish and spam and spam. He was teaching me one thing…..to have fun without spending a lot of money.
I had a great childhood going on all these fishing trips. I would go with him, my Dad, Uncles and Cousins and have the time of my life doing it. He taught me many things, some I remember and others in my subconscious. I wonder why one of the greatest lessons he taught me about frugality is not in my bones….or is it?
You see, my Grandpa was not a rich man. I think he chose to live that way. I am sure that I made more money last year than he made in 15 years perhaps 20. My wealth has allowed me to take my family on great vacations all over the world. My boys have walked on the Great Wall, played in the Indian Ocean, explored the streets of Hong Kong and enjoyed looking up at the Eiffel Tower. But, you know what? I have never taken them fishing. Sure, I still go with friends. Now I do it all fancy with guides that cook our meals and bait our hooks. No spam for me. I equate fun with paying for it. Why do I do that? My Grandpa taught me better.
I bet that I spend more, as a percentage of income, on “fun” than he did. I have been trying hard to spend more “time” with my boys. Not at the movies, not on vacation in the Caribbean, not by buying them more junk, but good quality low cost fun. I was thinking back to a few years ago when we where in Hong Kong. I wanted to show them all the attractions that Hong Kong has to offer. A friend of ours asked us to go on the “water hike.” The water hike is a two hour walk up a small stream on one of the outer islands, stopping at pools to swim or jumping off rocks into the water. My older two sons still talk about the fun they had on that hike.
This past weekend, I decided to do a little something different. I took them to the woods near our house and we spent all afternoon exploring. I stopped to tell them about the trees and to watch the animals of the forest. They have been bugging me all week to go back and do it again. I think that I have forgotten to see the world through two young boys eyes. They don’t care or even comprehend about how much something costs. They just want to learn by exploring and experiencing.
I think I will plan our next adventure at the park or catching fire flies at dusk. My Grandpa has taught me well, I just forgot how to do it.
Joe Edward is in pursuit of creating wealth for financial independence. Joe believes the right focus on five key areas are a way to become a Financial Independent:
- Maximize Career
- Save, Save, Save
- Debt Free Living
- Invest, Invest, Invest
- Create Multiple Streams of Income
Joe is well on his way to be an asset millionaire by the time he turns 41. He startedSmartMoneyFocus.com to help others achieve their own paths to financial independence. Follow him on Twitter: @smartmoneyjoe