“So where have we retired? The local airport is our retirement home and will be for the next 10-years,” wrote my new friend Nancy in response to my “Your Retirement Life” series. “My husband just retired at 70 from pastoring a local small church for 35 years. For many years it was full time work, on a part time salary. I still work part time as a nurse locally and we homeschooled 6 of the 7 children K-12. We now have 23 grandchildren in 4 far away states. Ideally we’d ALL like to live closer…but those jobs!!!!”
I emailed Nancy, to thank her for sharing her story, and asked if she would have a few minutes to talk with me. When I called her Tuesday morning her sincerity and warmth struck me. She certainly didn’t sound like a grandmother of 23. She was so enthusiastic and warm. I told her I had to laugh about her airport comment and then I asked, “How did you homeschool six kids, work part-time, AND keep your sanity?” She laughed.
Nancy said her husband had a home office and was able to work and teach the children through elementary school while she worked the night shift as a nurse. They shared teaching junior high school and she did high school. It wasn’t easy. But, and this is what I hear all of the time from successful people, “We never felt poor.” Being rich is never about the money. It doesn’t take a lot of money when you’re happily living together under one roof.
It wasn’t all easy street though. Each one of their children was required to work and play a musical instrument and be “marketable,” as Nancy put it. When their oldest was about to attend Liberty University he chose not to go. He wanted to stay home and be part of his two youngest siblings childhood—he wanted to watch them grow. Today, he’s an entrepreneur running a video consulting business for Fortune 500 clients and some famous names you would know.
It occurred to Nancy that most of her children are entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurialism is another trait that tends to follow successful people. Self-reliance, and the survival instinct create a certain can-do attitude that isn’t easily deterred by life.
Nancy refers to herself as the extrovert and her husband as the introvert. But she said something that has stayed with me for the last few days that I can’t stop thinking about from our conversation. She was getting emotional now because looking back at how far they’ve come does that to you. She said, “You know E.J., as my husband and I were talking about our life, he said that he’s always been a good plodder.” He has always been able to put his head down and plod along and keep working on something. “Being able to plod along has been his key to success.” Plodding along is a phrase my father-in-law Richard Young says all the time. When I ask Dick how he figured something out when he surprises me with some nugget of information he often says, “I just plod along.”
There’s a lot of similarities between just plodding along, compound interest, and Jeff Bezos’, founder of Amazon, “Gradatim Ferociter,” Latin for “step by step, ferociously.” In Nancy and her husband’s case it has given them the freedom, or the money, to spend on airline tickets to visit their family busy homeschooling the next generation for success.
P.S. Tell me your story. Did you grow up without a lot of money, but never felt poor? (Email me your story at firstname.lastname@example.org)
P.P.S. If you want to teach your family about the investment success that can come from “just plodding along,” share with them our most recent client letter, and get a reminder when the next letter is released by signing up below.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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