Under Beaker’s Microscope: Lessons From My Father

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.

14 thoughts on “Under Beaker’s Microscope: Lessons From My Father”

  1. Hey Beaker, nice to hear from you again. I’ll be turning 40 pretty soon and I’m not looking forward to that congratulation either. I also believe in work hard save hard, but I have learned to loosen my purse string a bit. Mrs. RB40 is the same way. She was a huge cheapo when she was a kid. 😉

    1. That’s where I come in, Joe! I am teaching him how to spend. Spending is really not that bad if it is done right.

  2. Your father sounds like a good guy 🙂

    I would argue with you about the importance of good shoes though — it’s good to take care of your feet, they will thank you as you get older.

  3. If your fathers wisdom was used by everyone on a daily basis, I seriously don’t think people would have forgotten how to fix their own cars or keep a car for five years. How would he view the “throw away” society we seem to have now?

    1. Beaker says: “My Dad mostly worries about what he is doing. He doesn’t focus on what society is doing.”

  4. Sounds like your father was a great role model. You also have a great dynamic of saver and shopper. On most days, my guess is you two balance each other. Yin and Yang!

  5. Sounds like your father new what was important made sure he raised you to know the same. I am always happy when parents make an effort with their children. Like Y and T said though, your wife rocks and should be spoiled.

    1. Thank you for all the kind and sweet words, I will let Beaker know that he needs to spoil me. Honesty, he is pretty good at it as it is. 🙂

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