My Grandfather, Bob, had an incredible impact on my life and has influenced many of my career decisions as an adult. I was very close to my Grandparents growing up and spent a lot of time with them during summer breaks. After I graduated from high school, I lived with my Grandparents for a few months while I tried to find a job and registered for my first semester of college.
During that time, I half-heartedly looked for a job and spent most of my time playing. Granddad Bob sat me down and said if I wasn’t going to go make money to pay the rent, then I would need to earn it a different way. He put me in charge of the cooking and cleaning at the house in exchange for my room and board.
That fall I moved into the dorms. I did eventually get a job and I needed a more reliable mode of transportation. I didn’t make enough to really afford school and a car payment, so I talked to Bob about a loan. He bought my first car and set me up on monthly interest free payments. When my car was almost half way payed for, I was engaged and was desperate to find a way to save more money for the wedding. I called Bob and asked if a could have a few months off from my car payment so I could put the money toward the wedding and then I would promise to pay more later. He was very kind but stern and refused my offer. He talked to me about responsibility and honoring my commitments. He made sure that I understood that money is to be worked for and that if I borrow money, it is to be repaid. Whomever I borrow money from does not want me to skip payments at my own convenience. That lesson changed my life.
I earned an Associate’s degree before quitting school to be a stay-at-home mom for ten years, and I recently returned and earned a bachelor’s degree in Family Finance. I am currently enrolled in a Consumer Science Master’s program. I have three kids and a very devoted husband who has always worked multiple jobs to provide for our family. My husband lost his job in the housing crisis in 2008, just months after we purchased our first home. We were advised many times to foreclose and file for bankruptcy. I just couldn’t do it. I had my Grandfather’s voice in my head. We both worked multiple jobs while living in a tiny apartment to continue paying the mortgage for a house we could not afford. We ended up selling the home in a short-sale and we re-payed $10,000 to help negotiate the sale. We never defaulted on the loan.
I am currently pursuing a career in financial education and financial counseling to be able to impart the lessons I have learned to others. My Granddad Bob changed my perspective about money and therefore changed the course of my career goals. I will always be grateful that he didn’t give me what I asked for, he gave me what I needed and held me accountable for it.
~ Alana Stowe, AFC®
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