Veteran Money Advice {from my Favorite Veteran}

by Sami

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Memorial Day and Veterans Days are times to remember and thank veterans who have served our country so that we could have freedom.

My favorite veteran: My dad, Jerry Strauss

In a day and age where we want what we want and we want it now, it’s very rare that we take time to not only reflect on the past, but also learn from it.

My father was born during the Great Depression, served our country in World War II, worked his way through law school, became a law partner in Chicago, helped raise four children and continues to live a life without compromise: I’d say he has a few things to share with the world.

Since my parents got divorced when I was 7, I didn’t get to live life each day around my dad. So in an effort to capture some of his wisdom, I recently asked him a few questions with regards to money.

Some of the answers may seem basic, but some I’d never heard before, much less from his mouth! So in honor of my dad, I thought I’d share this veteran money advice with you in hopes that his wisdom will continue to be passed down for generations to come.

1. What’s the most important piece of advice you could give someone when it comes to money?
-Avoid debt.  Pay cash whenever possible.  Save 10% of your net income.  Interest compounds.  Be an equity investor, even if only $10 per month.

2. How do people view money differently today compared to when you grew up?
People have a sense of entitlement today.  If they want something they just purchase it whether they can afford it or not, without regard to how long it will take them to pay it off;  rather than waiting until they can pay cash for it.

3. What’s more important?:

-Pay off Debt or save or invest?
—By paying off debt you stop the interest hemorrhage.
-Get a Job or go to school?
—Education is the foremost asset.  Despite the horror stories today about college graduates being unable to get employment a degree is bankable.
-Rent or own?
—Wait until you can afford to buy before your own.  Rent and accumulate capital.  People with liquidity today can pick up great bargains.

4. What one characteristic do we need to embrace that used to be more prevalent 50 years ago?

-Loyalty.  Work ethic.  Avoid a sense of entitlement.

5. What would you tell/teach your grandchildren that you learned from your parents/grandparents?
-Stay true to yourself.  There are no shortcuts.  No substitution for hard work and diligence.

6. What would you teach them that you wish you would have learned from your parents/grandparents, but didn’t?
-There are no limits to accomplishments.  Set your goals high and work hard to achieve them.  Do not get discouraged.  Keep stepping forward.

Human nature is very funny.  People tend to get discouraged easily.  Most people today want instant gratification without the hard work necessary to achieve success.  The old adage that success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration was absolutely correct.

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1 comment

Happy Father's Day | Sami Cone June 20, 2010 - 7:50 pm

[…] My father is one of the wisest men I know. As a child, his logic used to drive me nuts; now, it’s one of the things I appreciate most about him. A first-generation American born during the Great Depression who also served during WWII, I will never experience half of the hardships he’s endured, but I can learn from his wisdom. […]

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