My colleague Doc G has written about his financial pedigree. He claims 3rd gen FI! Your attitude toward money comes out of your family at a very basic level, like at a breathing air kind of basic. There is probably a lot that is sorta known in the broader family about Finance, like Alcoholism or Robbery is sorta known. It’s not something really dwelt upon and kind of ignored if it’s not in your face or kicking your patootie.
His bravery at posting got me to thinking about my own financial family history. So I sat down and journeled me up a far reaching family financial history going back 4 generations as far as I knew, about back to great grand parents who lived in the late 1800’s. There was a family farm back then for some aspect of the family, and all the uncles and aunts would gather at the farm for reunion! and the women would bake pie and Blatz beer and Pabst Blue Ribbon drinkin men would get out the 10Ga shotgun and laugh as we pip squeak kids would set off a blast toward the sky and get kicked like hell in the shoulder. That 10G was no joke! Rite of passage. The farm smelled of manure. I’m not exactly sure where it was located, somewhere south of Gary IN.
My grandparents were born at the turn of the 20th century. If you trace it, their jobs, their education, their success at raising a family in the face of things like WW1 and WW2, Korea, Viet Nam (reached into my generation) and the great depression, and various layoffs, unions. rotten offspring, successful cousins etc you have lain before you an understanding of the American economy for a century or more and how your personal family dealt with making it in America. You understand the constraints of retirement. Did Grandpa have a retirement? If so what was he invested in? (a way to understand risk). Did he advance at work? Was he a Union man? How did he survive the great depression? What did his kids (your aunts and uncles) wind up doing? What was their retirement like? Did they save? What about cousins? What about cousins’ kids? All of these people somehow survived with a real story, not just a blogosphere projection. A real story that is the life you lived the financial air you breathed as a youngster.
From that you can also look at your relationship with money under that light and see what insight that provides. It’s actually fascinating. A quick example: My Dad was an engineer. A professional engineer which means he was like board certified and could stamp jobs as sound design from an engineering perspective. A valuable credential. It means a project can get financed and insured. Prior to certification he was subject to getting laid off. Engineers are in high demand in the good times but dead weight in the recession. So that was my story, living in the house of an engineer with 4 kids who got laid off every so often and required a job change and possibly a move. My Dad lived through 6 moves in his career. The 7th was his retirement move to my town where he could be near me and watch his grand kids grow along with my Mom, who is still alive. He knew I would take care of Mom if anything happened, the ultimate in risk management, so I’m familiar with the finances and have seen how my Dad handled those. He was a star. My Dad handled my Nana’s finances once gramps died and he also handled my Aunt (gramps sis) who had no kids but was married to an entrepreneur back in the 40’s and semi retired to FL in the 50’s. The guy was hell on wheels on the organ. I was very familiar with those financial histories and their successes and relative failures. (Word to the wise a CD ladder is a poor investment strategy in a 1973 stagflation, and 1980 raging inflation environment).
I discovered much more, likely too personal to relate, but the point is the point. You are sitting on a treasure trove of personal insight and righteous systems analysis if you bother to look. If you bother to look, Suze O won’t have anything on you. You will have personal history of success and failure far beyond some 4 x25 blog snot.