Blast to the Past: The beginnings of my financial world

I have always been a fairly frugal person… okay that may be an understatement. I grew up in a small(er) town where I could bike most places and most of my “fun” was had at no cost whatsoever; so what little income I did make, I generally saved nearly all of it (If only it were that easy to have a 90% savings rate nowadays!).

My intro to the financial world came from two different people (no – not a Rich Dad Poor Dad situation): my Godmother and my dad (and mom). My Godmother (Mimi from this point forward) introduced me to these things called stocks at an early age by occasionally buying my sister and I those as presents instead of a GI Joe or new football or something. I can tell you this, my appreciation for her doing that is much greater now than it was back then!

But, that was about the extent of it. I never had an explanation of why Mimi gave us stocks as presents, and too be completely honest, I don’t think I even really knew what they were. I couldn’t see it, feel it, or eat it, so did it exist? Nonetheless, that was a start.

My parents, on the other hand, introduced me to real estate… by this I mean, I was able to be free labor for my dad by carrying his tools, hammering nails, or tightening screws under the sweltering Florida sun. My parents were the quintessential “mom and pop” landlords – doing all of the work themselves (some credit here, my dad is extremely handy – something I have grown to respect tremendously over the years of myself being significantly less so). They worked hard, they cared for their properties and their tenants, and the couple properties and tenants that they had treated them well in return.

Now during this time, my dad did try to show me the power of investing, particularly in real estate, but as a kid and a teen, playing basketball or tennis or going biking with my friends was a much more attractive expenditure of my time.

So, fast-forward through my juvenile years, and I had briefly learned these concepts of frugality, investing, and real estate; but I had no idea how important of a role they would play within the next decade of my life.

How about you?

Where did you first learn of any these concepts? Are you a saver or a spender?

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