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Lessons Learned from the Great Depression: Timeless Financial Wisdom

My dad grew up during the Great Depression when a lifestyle of frugality and financial discipline was a requirement for survival. During his adult life, he continued to live frugally and passed this lifestyle on to me. It has been a rock-solid force in my life which has guided me through financial decisions that ultimately have proven to be wise choices. These financial principles have appeared to be old-fashioned during various economic booms over the years; however, over time they have proven to remain sound financial wisdom.

Dad did not spend money mindlessly. He was very resourceful and used whatever he had on hand before he considered buying anything. He grew vegetables and planted fruit trees. He repaired his own car, mowed his own lawn, and maintained his own house. He knew that the less he spent, the more he could save. When Dad did buy something, he bought quality and maintained it well.

Saving was as much a part of the financial discipline as spending carefully. Dad saved a portion of every check he ever earned, even if it meant doing without elsewhere. He never looked at savings as money being removed from the budget; he saw it as priority, not even included in the budget.

While large-ticket items such as a home and a car required taking on debt, use of any other credit was not even considered. Owing someone meant they owned you, and Dad valued his financial freedom more than any material possession.

The financial principles Dad instilled in me have been the basis for my own financial security in periods of economic uncertainty. As a result, I have remained unscathed during the inevitable cyclical downturns. Dad was not a wealthy man, but he was a rich man. What he owned was his. He owed no one. He did not have to worry about finances. He lived simply with great passion for life and love for his family. He was rich in wisdom, and the financial lessons he taught me have proven to be timeless.

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