While spending some mindless time on Facebook™ the other night looking for an old friend, I stumbled on a group site for people who grew up in Clearview Gardens, in Whitestone, NY. I was immediately fascinated and taken in by this, as I grew up there, on 19th avenue and 157th Street. There were 956 people in the group, obviously active for years with pictures upon pictures of my youth- Jerry's Candy Store, the schools and temple I had gone to, Clearview Bakery where my father sent me every Sunday to get bagels and cream cheese for breakfast, and pictures upon pictures of children in the customary class pictures of which I found not me but my brother in his cub scout uniform in his 3rd grade class picture, smiling proudly. Here were all these children, unknowingly getting ready for life- without a care in the world. We rode our Stingray, banana seated, monkey barred 20' Schwinn bikes for miles and miles, searching for places unknown- with a nickel in our pocket in case we got into trouble to call our parents from a pay phone to bail us out... but we never did. We always seemed to find out way home, unharmed, with tales we could only share amongst ourselves.
And now- here I am writing stories and lessons for you about life and money. Olivia, my right hand here at Chestnut asked me a very pointed question: "how did you get from there to here, and did you ever think at the time that you'd be doing this?" It got me to thinking about the different mindset that we all had as kids, and somehow got entangles with this thing called life. In a Star Trek™ episode we were called "Grups," a contraction of the word grownups. Did we put much thinking into the formulation of life as an adult... probably not? We were more focused on playing "skelly" and "Johnny on the pony." But yet, we grew up, and made something of ourselves, many of us very far from where we thought we might have been, or ended up.
Most people are of the feeling that they want their children and grandchildren to do better than we did- each progressive generation doing better than the previous one. The questions are, how much guidance do we give to them that really, helps them to find their direction, and how much is setting them in the direction we think they would go without utilizing the efforts of digging deeply into what they want, or are really suited for. I know many people who never went to college, or finished high school who are very financially stable- to whatever your definition of success is... it truly is different for everybody. Success is not just about money- no my friends. Quality of life comes first. All the money in the world isn't worth it if you are miserable. How do you factor this into advising your children on the college to pick, or a path to occupational success? The bigger question is, are the children we try so hard to protect and guide even aware of how quality of life should be combined with the quest to find work, and is our generation doing all that we can to teach them that life is not just about money, it's about happiness... and truly how to find "the good life." The younger generation has their own thoughts and processes for getting ready for the future: many feel living for today is more important than getting ready for tomorrow. Surveys have shown that their version of getting ready for retirement is waiting to inherit from our generation, or winning the lottery. As a "grup" I can't say that their plan is either better or less efficient than good ‘ole saving and preparing, but- if you live the good life, rock on... just make sure you have a way to get from here to there.
For more information on Neal's take on Life, Love and Money, just call the office to get his book, "Tales From the Chestnut Tree" at a discounted rate for all our readers. Just call the below number and we'll hook you up... happy reading!