Most people can think back to their childhood and recall an image, a thought or moment that, for whatever reason, sticks out to them.
You know the types of memories I’m talking about. The type of memory that you’ll never forget because it is imprinted on your soul. Maybe it has to do with that loved one that passed away or another traumatic event.
I’d imagine not everyone has a memory they can point to when it comes to personal finance. If you do I hope that it is a positive one. One that drives you to get that firm financial foundation that we all are after.
I have a memory I’ll never forget. While it wasn’t overly traumatic it certainly left an imprint on my soul and the lessons I took away are part of what continues to drive me financially.
My first money memory
I was 18 years old standing in a Kohl’s and was with my mom and of all things we were shopping for dress clothes. I had just landed my first engineering internship!
It was an exciting time for me. In a couple weeks I’d be moving to a city I’ve never been in to work for a company I had only stepped foot in once. While I was prepared on a lot of fronts one that I wasn’t prepared for was abiding by their dress code.
So there I was picking out some slacks and dress shirts so I’d fit in with all my new coworkers. I was young enough (I had just finished my freshman year of college) I had no idea what I was doing so my mom was helping make sure I’d like reasonable at my first “adult” job.
Then the phone rang.
My dad and his white truck
Taking a quick aside I want to tell you a little bit about my dad. He’s in the construction industry (he can do just about anything when it comes to building houses) and has been since he started his own company when he was in his early twenties.
Since that time my dad has braved the heat, the cold (we live in the midwest so I mean cold) and anything else thrown at him to work and provide for our family.
With his hard work he was able to provide a comfortable life for us. In fact he is the motivator behind a post of mine about just putting in the work. We didn’t live in some big fancy house but I never wanted for anything. Even at a relatively young age I realized the work ethic he had and what he sacrificed for my family.
Due to the hard work he put in he valued every dollar.
You see my dad would drive trucks into the ground. Meaning he’d drive it till it had 250,000 miles or more. Around that time it’d usually die or need too much repair and he’d replace it. My dad would wait as long as he possibly could because he was frugal and wanted to get the maximum value out of every dollar.
The miles he was putting on these trucks weren’t highway miles. The miles these trucks experienced were hauling equipment, materials, and anything else he needed to complete the job.
Back to the phone call
My mom picked up the phone, said a few words and then hung up. She proceeded to tell me that my dad’s truck had just died.
The worst part of the entire thing was that he was in the drive thru meaning, therefore, he had to push his dead truck out of line.
My heart sank. I felt like the worst human on the planet.
Here I was spending hundreds of dollars on new clothes for an internship while my dad, the man who set an example in several walks of life, was pushing his broken truck out of a drive thru.
This memory and this phone call are forever stuck in my memory.
The reality of the situation
While that memory is imprinted on my soul I have learned more details about my dad and our financial situation growing up.
I’ve learned things like my dad probably waited way too long to replace trucks. He also had a knack for not taking the most perfect care of cars.
All of that said to pass along that I no longer feel like the worst human in the world.
It still sticks with me though.
The memory of me buying clothes while my dad was, at least at that time, was pushing his dead truck out of a drive thru line.
I’m not sure it will ever leave me. That feeling deep in my soul will forever travel with me. It is also one of the reasons why I’ve dug deep into personal finance to learn everything I can.
It’s why I am doing everything I can to set my family up for financial success. I’m not doing it so we can live in a huge house and drive fancy cars. No, I’m doing it so our lifestyle doesn’t cause us stress and we can enjoy what really matters in life.
Take action in your finances
What I’ve done so far seems to be working. Several years ago I put together a plan and have been executing it ever since. Every year I seem to refine it but it really hasn’t changed much.
I just keep taking action and making progress.
We are far from finished but am proud of the success we’ve had thus far.
All of this from a memory of my dad and his white truck.