I am a very bad grandpa. I admit it. I am also a fair bit of a Scrooge. Throw in Covid and you have the perfect storm.  For the last several years I have tried to instill some financial sanity into the Christmas season.  I have promoted a “small gift” for the kids, with no gifts for the adults. The company of my friends and family is priceless, so, to me, no material gift could ever be as good. (Although I was hoping someone would break the rule and get me the new Obama Book.)  I instigated this rule to make things easier.  I think there is no worse torture than standing in a crowded store trying to think of a good gift for the person who has everything already.  Seriously, I have everything I need. I have health, a great family, wonderful kids, grand kids and great grand kid. I have a dry and warm house.  I have clothes to wear and enough to eat. I have EVERTHING I NEED.

There might be a few things I WANT, but that is a small list. The plans for my new house so I can get a building permit, one of my stock scans to be 75% accurate, to walk around the great pyramid, and stand on the Great wall of China. And our family’s favorite come back, when someone asks what we want, “A million dollars and a Helicopter.”  (My son Matt gets credit for starting that, so ask him why a helicopter.)

Two of my grand daughters have reached the age where they can write/print their names, so in bad grandpa form, their gift was a visit to the local Credit Union, where they could open a savings account, where I, and others, can deposit money for them. Don’t worry, the wife made sure they had a bag of Christmas goodies.

They say you get wiser as you get older. I’m not sure that is the case.  I think it is just that we have made so many choices, that haven’t lead us to where we had hoped to go, we put more thought into the decisions we make now.  I have two great regrets. The first one is that I did not get interested in my finances way sooner than I did, and that I never pushed my dad to tell me more about what he knew, and did, with his finances.  My dad thought that his investing success was just LUCK, and he did not want his sons depending on luck.  So, he never really discussed in detail what, and how, he did his investing.  It was only after he was gone that we found out what he did. By the way, he did almost everything right.

It is because of this that I have realized that the single most important thing you can give your children is a sound understanding of financial basics.  Hence why I try and get my grand children to save.  Saving is the first step.  When you are first starting out it is NOT THE AMOUNT that matters.  It is getting SAVING to be a HABIT.

Once there is some money in the Savings account the next step is to make that money work as hard as it can to make more money.  Kevin O’Leary describes it as sending out his soldiers (Money) to take prisoners (more money) so he can train them to go out and bring back more prisoners. (money) I think it is a very good analogy. It is at this stage that you need to learn how money and investments work.  You will not learn it in school.  The banks don’t teach it.  (They will never tell you anything bad, they just won’t tell you anything that is better for you, than for them.) So where do you learn it?? From places like this website, and the thousands of others out there. From taking courses on investing, and reading tons of books. But the best way is to talk to people who are interested in money. The best way, is by doing.

Most people do not know what the greatest investment tool is.  It is something very simple, it is free, and we all have it to some extent or another.  The younger you are, the more of it you have. It has been the greatest investment tool since the beginning of time. It is not new. You have probably figured it out by now. The Tool is TIME.

If I had of spent more time interested in my money, or talking to my dad about investing, or reading just one more book on investing, I would have much more freedom.  That is what investing gets you.  Freedom and Choices.  Not just for you, but for your whole family.

I will gladly wear the name “Bad Grandpa” so that my grand children can have the choice of where they go to school and what they want to become, without a student loan, or a ton of credit card debt. You are never too young (or old) to start learning and investing. Have a question? Ask me. diywealtheducation@gmail.com.  It is that easy.