I’m grateful for my money heroes
I know. No word is more overplayed than hero. I mean, who doesn’t think of the Bette Midler song whenever they hear it? Don’t worry, I won’t start singing. But with Thanksgiving here, it’s time to sing the praises of the heroes who’ve guided us in life, helping shape the people we’ve become.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that my biggest heroes, especially when it comes to all things financial, are Harold and Shirley Kobliner of Queens, N.Y. That’s right—they’re my parents.
Harold and Shirley were both born in 1929, the first year of the Great Depression. Both were also educators: Shirley was a high school chemistry teacher, and Harold rose through the ranks to become a junior high school principal—and eventually the chairman of the city agency that ensured teachers were well-trained and able to teach their subject matter. No matter the political or social climate of the times, my father never overlooked his most important constituents: children.
He and my mother conducted home life in the same way: Children and family always came first. And that often meant making tough decisions and delaying gratification, too, for the sake of saving for the future. One of my favorite personal finance stories—doesn’t everyone have one of those?—was when my father, then an assistant principal, came home and told my mother that New York City had introduced a new retirement savings plan for educators. If he signed up, our family could sock away up to 50% of his salary tax-free. Shirley, by that point a stay-at-home mother, naturally wondered how they’d make do with three kids and a house in Queens on half an assistant principal’s salary. They simply couldn’t afford to put away that much, she told him. Harold replied: “Shirley, we can’t afford not to.”
Overhearing those open money conversations, I believe, led me to love what I do: Write and talk about personal finance to help people, in whatever small way possible, understand their financial lives and help reduce the stress around money matters as much as possible.
Now, it’s your turn: Who taught you the most about money? And what particular lessons are you especially grateful for learning? Pass the gravy this Turkey Day and share your story with me on Facebook or Twitter. And don’t worry, you can use the H word as much as you want. As The Divine Miss M sang, you, Dear Reader, are the wind beneath my wings.