When my kids were preparing to go to college, I made one critical point to them. I said I would support them both emotionally and financially, provided that they had a major subject that would get them a job when they graduated.
I would, not however, support a major in the Anthropological History of the Left-footed, Beige Platypus in the 1700s in Australia ... not unless they were going on to graduate school to teach or study the subject. No, what I meant was a major that would get them a decent position. I saw too easily a friend whose daughter went to a highly prestigious and very expensive Ivy League college and then wound up getting a job for $11,000 a year running errands. Why? Because she had some obscure major that couldn't even get her arrested.
So, they all agreed. My youngest came out of a very fine liberal arts college with a double major: economics and finance. Because he had already completed a summer internship at a major brokerage house at its corporate headquarters in the heart of New York City, and the fact that my wife and I were well-connected with the financial industry, I naturally computed that finance would be his bent. I figured wrong.
He didn't want that. He wanted sports and he wound up taking a temp job filling in for a receptionist at a major sports complex.
I jumped up and down for a while, but he quickly reminded me that he had kept his part of the deal. "I got a degree in an area that would guarantee me a good job, but now I need to do what will make me happy, and Wall Street is not it."
Well, while I was wringing my hands, and asking myself where I went wrong, my son proceeded to segue that temporary job into a part-time position with a major sports association where he stayed full-time for some seven years, rising to a very enviable position. Now he is with another major sports association and doing quite well ... in all aspects.
Just makes a father proud, I guess.
Now, over the years, he would ask my opinion as to investments and what to do with various pensions plans, some money he inherited, and on and on. I dispensed whatever I thought I knew and figured that, like the college episode, he might hear me, but chances are he wasn't really listening. I never harped on him as to what he was doing with his money. After all, it was his money and all I could hope for was that it was heading in the right direction.
After all, be grateful for little things. Once you've ruled out no drugs, no cigarettes, no murder convictions, easy on the booze, and being a decent human being, what more can you ask of yourself as a parent for your children? You're hoping that you've given them the proper roadmaps to grow up to be a responsible, productive and caring person.
Now, we come to the crux of this. An aunt had just passed away and left my offspring with a tidy sum of money, in the mid-five figures. He asked me again what did I think of a certain investment and I readily gave my input backed up by some analysts and experts in the field. All these years, the information coming from me was a kind of financial plan, if it was even being followed.
Just yesterday, as it were, he sent me a listing of where all his money was. My mouth dropped open. He had an almost perfect asset allocation of funds, an extraordinary diversification that just about touched every corner you could find, absent some real estate and some precious metals.
So, you sometimes wonder, don't you? Are they hearing? Are they listening? And I guess what I came away with is this, certainly relating to my son. He hears. He listens. He ingests. He digests. And, finally, he acts.
Heck, I'm too old to have any more, but if I weren't, I'd take another couple, just like him.
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