Best Gift for the Holidays

My sweet little daughter gets the royal treatment all-year round. She is the only granddaughter in the state so every day with grandpa and grandma is like Christmas. 

It is to the point of frustration of my parents literally undoing all the hard work we have tried to do with our daughter to learn the lesson of waiting and earning what you want. The toy collection is outrageous and needs to come to an end.

When I Was Growing Up

I begged and begged my parents to get cable when I was a teenager. I wanted ESPN just like the other kids were getting at their homes. They continually turned me down to the point that I gave up. We were not rich, but my parents were financially smart and even on a single teacher’s salary they paid off their house in just 18 years, so I consider that to be wealthy.

We were very prudent and frugal, but honestly, I don’t feel like I missed out on anything growing up. We still went on nice vacations and did almost everything we wanted to do. My parents also saved to help me through college and I graduated without any debt which is the best present of all.

Why Don’t You Do What You Did With Me

So with all this fiscal responsibility for multiple decades, why has it all of a sudden come to an end? It actually ended the day I moved out. The very next week my dad called and had cable installed. He said they could afford it now that I was gone and not eating everything in the house.

My dad has been retired for 8 years and my mom will retire this year. With zero real expenses, they have saved and grown their money to enjoy a very nice retirement. A lot of people don’t make it to that point with retirement.

When I confronted my mom she said that she lived so conservatively for three-and-a-half decades that she can finally do what she wants. $10-15 here or there is no big deal and it’s not. You save to accomplish the goals you have later in life and now she is there and can do what she wants because she has saved for so long. 

Now she has a sweet granddaughter and she wants to have fun experiences with her. It’s hard to argue when my mom has been working hard for so long and finally can stop and do what she wants. She accomplished her goal so you can’t penalize people for that…not many people accomplish their financial goals.

Toys are Great but You Know What’s Really Great – a 529 plan 

My parents saved $25 a month since the day I was born for my college. They bought bonds because seemed like a good idea in the mid-70 and when they cashed them out when I was 18 they were worth quite a bit of money.

I mentioned how they did that and asked if they would continue the $25 tradition for their granddaughter in a 529 plan instead of buying her so many gifts. My dad scoffed at me and said “that is your job to pay for college now.”

I’ll be honest we already have most of my daughter’s college covered already. We decided early in our marriage that we would not lock up most of our money in a large house and it has made all the difference. So we have her money set aside for whatever she decides to do.

I guess I’m just tired of toys. My house has been taken over. Come on grandpa and grandma…a 529 plan is worth so much more than a new dress, toy, or DVD.

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