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Friday, March 28, 2014

Jake's Tale: Big - The Value of Remembering the Why

Deriving financial insights from today's blockbusters and yesteryear's classics.

You’re not rich… not yet anyway. And even if you were it’s worth it to remember what it’s like to be poor. The best wealthy people I know are those who you can’t even tell are wealthy. They don’t flaunt it. They’re humble. They’re down to earth people. They’re generous and they’re real.

My fear is that as Dani and I build wealth we’ll forget what it’s like to not have a lot of money. There’s danger in that, I think, because when we are out of debt and we do have wealth (Lord willing) I don’t want to lose sight of those people who are still struggling to get ahead. I want Dani and I to be humble. I want us to remember where we’ve come from.

There’s a great lesson from the movie Big, a touching comedy classic starring Tom Hanks at his most endearing. When 13-year-old Josh Baskin gets tired of the limitations of his age, he makes a wish to be “big” and the next morning finds himself trapped in the body of a gangly, 30-year-old adult, (Hanks). The new, older Josh moves to New York City where he finds a job working for a toy company staffed mostly with stuffed-shirt executives who are more interested in spread sheets and marketing reports than they are in their target customers: kids.

Now here comes Josh Baskin who actually IS their target audience. He’s a 13-year-old boy in the body of a grown man, and he begins thriving at the toy company because he knows what kids do and don’t find appealing about toys. He IS a kid. And he LOVES toys! When the company starts listening to his ideas they start making tons of money.

It is in this scenario that Big points out a problem that a lot of adults acquire as they get older: they forget where they’ve come from. When Josh joins the toy company he meets toy makers who seem to have everything on their minds except making toys. Forgetting where you've come from is a surefire way to ruin any endeavor.

When it comes to your finances, you and your spouse need to be intentional about reminding each other of your goals and your values. Encourage each other as you seek to get out of debt and build wealth, but once you're beyond that point remind each other that your purpose now is to give and be generous. By all means, enjoy your success, splurge, dine, vacation, but never forget where you’ve come from. Nobody likes a stuffed-shirt whose out-of-touch with the world they live in.

Keep pinching’ :-)

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