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The Last Dollar Lesson

By Craig Floyd

My parents were children of the depression and adults during World War II.  They worked hard, were thrifty and knew the value of a dollar. That meant saving and scraping for every item that they needed.  It was a time of canning your own food, sewing and mending, and doing without.  My brother and sisters even recall that often my one brother had to wear his sister’s clean underwear since money for new boys clothing was not possible. (He was little of course, and mortified at that story now.)  It was during this time that my father who had just graduated from a college in civil engineering decided to return home to live with my grandparents in a small “stinky” apartment. Dad’s name was on the top of the draft list and he wanted my mom to be where she could access help from family when he left for the war.  Times were hard and uncertain.  Money was especially scarce since he had left a good job for farm work that was not paying at all.  My brothers and sisters were little and didn’t realize the stress that was around them.  To them life was great surrounded by cousins, grandparents, uncles and aunts.   One day when my mom was alone in the stinky little apartment, a door to door salesman came by asking her to buy a magazine subscription. I do not know why she let him in her home and eventually gave him her last dollar for a magazine.  Maybe she just wanted to have something to enjoy or maybe she felt sorry for the man.  I have no idea but it was literally her LAST dollar.  Unfortunately she never saw the man again or her magazine that was to be sent in the mail.  And.. she never got over that experience.  My father died a few years later and mom was left to raise four children.  The lesson of the last dollar was told many times and she was forever careful and frugal with her money.  She worked twelve hour days for many years to provide for her family.  Mom was especially careful with whom she trusted with her finances.  And I guess that’s my point today.  Who do you trust?  Mixed messages and every financial institution and financial wizard tells you that they can give you the best deal and help you make the most interest on your dollar.  Makes you want to hide under a mattress with your money.  But…I think that the best person to control your money is YOU.  That’s what my mom decided.  It only took her once to learn from that magazine salesman. She controlled her money.  Now how you go about that is a topic for another day.  But I think that I want to be in control and not give that to anyone else.

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