In the theme of Holocaust Remembrance Day, which just passed, we will continue on our theme of investment advice from my grandfather, who was a holocaust survivor AND one of my first clients.
Today’s Practical Planning Tip from my grandfather is Money is a tool, not a scorecard: My grandfather once told me “I’ve been fortunate that I never had to worry about money. If I needed something, I bought it. If I wanted to go on vacation, I went. If family needed money, I was able to give it to them.” Since he was objectively not a rich man, his musing recalled the phrase from Pirkei Avot which states “Who is rich? He who is happy with his lot.” In short, he lived within his means and was very satisfied with what he had.
Most of my grandfather’s happiness was derived from being able to spend time with his family. I remember, even as a young boy, my grandparents came to visit every Wednesday after school. They played with me and my brothers, joined us for dinner, and then went home. Later in life, when I began my professional career, I asked him why he would take off from work every Wednesday afternoon to visit. It meant closing his store early and, undoubtedly, cost him revenue. His response was just two words: “Why not?”
For some people, money serves as a scorecard where the more you accumulate, the better off you are. For my grandfather, money allowed him to pay his bills and gave him the flexibility to spend time on the things he enjoyed most. If money isn’t a concern in your life and you can spend your time as you want, that is the ultimate blessing.