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Under Beaker’s Microscope: Lessons From My Father

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We know why he lets me shop. We know how he feels being an American in Europe. Now, he offers an insight into his money management, and what he learned from his father about how to achieve your goals, how to quit spending and start saving. You might be in for a surprise.

My brother has a warped sense of humor. Many years ago my father turned 40, and on his birthday my brother wished him a happy birthday, saying “Congratulations, you’re half way to death.” This happened a long time ago, and I vaguely remember him saying this to my father. I also vaguely remember laughing at my brother’s comment. My father, however, smiled, took it all in stride, and ignored it. I am sure he was thinking that both of his sons have a horrible sense of humor.

I believe that my dad was smiling for another reason. He knew that someday he would be able to say that exact same thing to both of his “hilarious” sons. Like I said, it was a long time ago. We have both turned 40 recently. Believe me, it was not funny hearing my father saying, “Congratulations, you’re half way to death.”

I am telling this story because it still makes me laugh. It reminds me that my family is a bit crazy. It also reminds me that all of my siblings and I got our sense of humor from our father.

There are other lessons that I have learned from my father.

I was taught to be very conservative with my hard earned money. We were taught to have a savings account, and stock away money as much as we can.

Work hard and save hard. My father is the hardest worker I know. He does not spend his money frivolously and really pays attention to what he is buying. He does not have fancy cars or expensive clothes. He is very conservative and a common man.

Plain, simple, effective, efficient are the words to express his clothes, cars, house…You name it and these words will apply.

I have a hard time spending money, and I can attribute this to my father. To this day spending money on clothes is not a high priority on my list of things I want to buy. I am not like some people who wait until their socks have holes in them to buy new ones, but I am pretty close.

Honestly, I don’t remember the last time I bought a really nice pair of shoes. I like to separate things into “needs” and “wants”. Shoes fall into the category of neither a want or a need. I look in my closet and think that I have plenty of shoes.

So what am I doing being married to a woman who admits to being a shopping addict?

I believe with my help and the lessons that I have learned from my father we can manage this addiction. Also my wife can help me loosen my purse strings and maybe buy some nice clothes once in a while.

But being the son of my father, I still have a hard time with shopping for myself.

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