Last month, when I came back after having my hair cut and colored, Georgie, our grandson, looked at me quizzically and said, "Gigi, did you have your hair painted again?"
I was telling this to Amanda, the young woman washing my hair at the salon the other day. She's adorable, talkative and massages a scalp well enough to believe it grows brain cells!
She told me about her 88 year old grandmother, Mary, who helped bring her up. Grandma Mary was a caterer and still works as a cook for her elderly former clients. She came to America from Ireland at the age of 17 with $17.00. Now, she's a millionaire.
Amanda spent a lot of time with Grandma Mary when she was little, and speaks about their relationship with great love and respect. I asked her about the most important thing that her grandmother taught her and without hesitation, she said it was about how to get rich. Grandma Mary worked very hard but became rich because she knew how to save what she earned.
"She only bought what she needed," Amanda said. "And she taught me that if you can't buy 2 of what you want, you shouldn't buy it at all."
Hmmm... that seemed like such a simple, concrete formula.
I asked Amanda if she follows that advice and she said that she does all the time. A couple of years ago she got a credit card in order to establish credit, but still faithfully follows her grandmother's rule when using her card.
"Have you saved money?" I asked her, not expecting her to answer directly.
"Oh yes," she replied. "Enough for the downpayment on a tiny house. But not two. At least not yet!" Somehow, as she massaged my head with her strong fingers, i could feel Grandma Mary's Rule washing through my capillaries. Maybe she was right.
I wondered about the spending habits of our own grandkids and how they're managing . For the most part, they've had thrifty role models. But some of the grandkids had to take on college debt and others will face those challenges in the future. Could any of them actually be able to follow Grandma Mary's Rule and not buy something unless they had the money for 2?
All the research says that parents (and apparently grandparents!) can have a direct impact on their children's future spending habits. Maybe Dan and I should talk to our grandchildren more about money. We were sensible but never had a formula... other than "don't spend what you don't have," which is just Economics 101.
Meantime, Georgie recently got a new pretend hair dryer and is on his way to fixing hair. I try to stay away from him when he has a comb and a paintbrush!
Do you have financial advice that you've passed on to your grandchildren? And if so, did they follow it? We'd love to hear about anything that might help the millennial grandkids have brighter futures!