Generational Wealth, It Only Gets Better

Jul 13, 2021 | Blog Post, Real World Financial Series

By: Marie from PA

If you believe the financial media they would lead you to believe that you need millions and millions of dollars for retirement. Let’s look back on my prior two generations and see how they did it.

My grandparents were married for more than 50 years and had five children. Early on in the marriage my grandfather worked on a farm and then after having children he moved his family into town and worked in a factory until he retired. My grandmother was a homemaker and cared for the children. Her method of savings for her children was to buy them savings bonds. Every birthday and Christmas she would hand my father and his siblings each $100 worth of savings bonds. This continued on to her grandchildren. I also remember getting savings bonds every birthday and Christmas. From my recollection my grandparents stayed in their home until they passed approximately at 70 or 80 years old.

My father was discharged from the Army and soon after married my mother. My mother told me a story about buying their first home in 1950. They didn’t have much money so they purchased a home that was in need of repair and was close to work (the same factory that his father worked at). The home was less than $10,000 mostly due to the fact that there was no heating system in the house. Over the next months my father and his father and brothers worked on the house and added a heating system. The heating system was purchased from the savings bonds that his mother gave him when he was a child. He also worked at the factory for 39 years. My father worked in a union and later on in his career he became a union boss and helped negotiate contracts for the union. In doing so he negotiated pay raises for his coworkers and income for retirement years.Those were the years when the unions were very influential and were able to negotiate a good pension for retirees. He also worked a second job in the summertime washing windows. This money was used for vacations for the family, a trip to the beach and a fishing trip to Canada every year. 

My mother was a teller at a local bank.  I remember being asked if I had any extra money in my bank account? Back in the 1970s and 1980s CDs had high Interest rates. I remember squirreling away any extra money I had into CDs and locking the rates in for a one or two year period. 

Education was important to my parents. My brother chose a four-year degree and I chose a two-year degree. Since I graduated two years prior than my brother I was given two years free room and board. I was also told to save that money for the future. My parents stayed in the same house until they passed away in 2003. 

My brother and I were surprised to find out that my parents saved over $100,000 over the years. We were surprised because we lived a simple life and took yearly vacations and they also paid for our education.

With my portion of the inheritance I put a down payment on a house and started a Roth IRA. I also worked for a company for 40 years starting in 1981 and ending in 2001. Shortly after starting I was offered a 401(k) retirement plan with a 3% match. It was auto deducted from my paycheck every week. Sounds great – but life happens and I got distracted from saving money.

Charging things on credit cards that had high interest rates was one distraction and the other  was continuing to buy a new car every 2 to 3 years. I called that my lost decade. Luckily I found Dave Ramsey who helped me get out of debt. I am now refocused on retirement savings. 

This leads me to several years ago when I was looking on YouTube for financial help. Learning about the type of mutual funds for pre-retirement and then retirement. Also how to estimate retirement income that is REALLY needed. That’s where I found Heritage Wealth Planning and Josh. He is the most down to earth financial dude on YouTube with many years of experience!

He has just reaffirmed what my past two generations has taught me is to live simple, stay out of debt and live below your means. Compounding interest well benefit you in the long run for retirement savings. Looking at my 401(k) now I would’ve never realized how much it’s grown.