Money

Financial Lessons to Be Thankful For

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I always look forward to Thanksgiving, but it will be extra special for my wife and me this year because both of our kids will be home. That’s not always the case. One of them is in college and another lives 3,000 miles away, so the four of us don’t get to spend a lot of time all together.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. With several extended family members having dealt with health issues over the past few years, I cherish the time we all spend together eating incredible homemade food, laughing at old stories and making new memories.

Without a doubt, that’s what I’m most thankful for.

When it comes to my financial life, I also have an awful lot to be thankful for. The fact that I found a profession and job that I love has had a very positive effect on my family’s finances. It’s hard to thrive when you’re just punching a clock waiting for quittin’ time.

I’m thankful that I live in a country that, despite its problems and current divisiveness, still offers opportunities to people who are willing to work hard and take risks – whether that’s starting a new business or investing in an existing one.

I’m thankful that I stumbled on the power of compounding when I was 22 years old.

Back then, I read a statistic that floored me: If I invested $2,000 a year starting at age 21 (I was a year late) and stopped at age 31, I’d have more money at 65 than I would if I were to start at 31 and invest all the way up until 65.

In other words, if I started right away, I could invest a total of $20,000 and end up with more than I would have if I were to wait 10 years and invest $70,000.

That was a real eye-opener, and it inspired me to save as much as I could for retirement as early as I could.

Today, after letting my investments compound for over three decades (with at least another one to go), I can confidently say that was the best financial decision I’ve ever made.

But I would say what I’m most thankful for in my financial life are the lessons that I learned from my parents.

They never sat me down and explained Wall Street to me, and they never went over many other financial concepts. But like most kids, I learned a lot from observing my parents’ behavior.

I grew up solidly middle class. My dad was an assistant principal. My mom was a homemaker until I was in high school.

We never went without – but we didn’t live in luxury either, as many of my friends did. I saw that my parents never bought anything they couldn’t afford.

Their best friends, who are like family (my brother calls them aunt and uncle), are very wealthy. And many of their other friends drove Cadillacs and Mercedes-Benzes.

But my folks never felt the need to try to keep up.

Even though they may not have even realized it, they taught me the value of a dollar and hard work.

And for that, I’m truly thankful.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with lots of great food, great people and great stories.

Good investing,

Marc

P.S. What are you thankful for (either in your financial life or in general)? Let me know in the comments.

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