Here's a conversation Rick and I had Sunday evening:
Me (upstairs on the computer and talking to Rick over the balcony): What are you watching down there that is so entertaining?
Rick (walking upstairs to visit): You've got to come watch this show with me. It's an interview with Warren Buffett and it's really interesting. You would like it.
Me (Raising my eyebrows): Warren Buffet huh? Okay...whatever. No thanks.
Rick: No really, it's really funny. He still drives this old car, and loves McDonalds and Cherry Coke, even though he's a billionaire.
Me: Warren Buffett is a billionaire?
Rick: Well yeah. That's why they are interviewing him.
Me (confused): His music is that popular that he's a billionaire?
Rick (confused): What are you talking about?
Me: Warren Buffett is the guy that sings "Wasting away in margaritaville,"right?
Rick (laughing): No....that's Jimmy Buffett!
How could you not confuse the two? They are just so similar in so many ways. They both are men, white, way older than me, and have the same last name.
So I ended up going downstairs and watching it with him, and it was interesting. I remember watching an interview with his granddaughter on Oprah a while ago. She's just a regular girl, who is an artist, and cleans houses for a living. Oprah asked her if it upset her that she had the richest person in the world as a grandfather and she cleaned other people's homes for a living. I thought her response was wonderful. She said that no, she was grateful because her grandfather had paid for all of her education and her expenses for school, and that was something that most people didn't have. I remember thinking-- wow, now that is the mark of great character expressing gratitude for what she's been given, instead of dwelling on what she hasn't been given. She probably wouldn't have that if she had been crippled by having everything handed to her on a silver platter.
I know I will never be a billionaire, but I do think about this quite a bit. How much is too much to give your children? Warren Buffett is the richest man in the world, lives in the first home he bought in Omaha for $31,000, and is notorious for not giving a penny to his children and grandchildren, except for paying for any schooling that they would like.
It's hard as a parent not to want to give you children the latest and greatest, which honestly is quite ridiculous, since they are just as entertained with a cardboard box and Tupperware set as they are with the latest "educational" toy they are selling at Target. I must admit I do get sucked in though.
In the interview on Sunday evening one of the questions given to Warren was from someone in a very poor country with a very weak dollar. He was asking about how to invest his money in that kind of market. Warren said that the best investment is always in yourself. Be the best that you can be in what you do, and you will always have value. I love that. It's another thing I think quite a bit about. We hear so much about the weakened economy, the housing market, etc...and I worry sometimes about what I can do as a Mom to provide a good environment for my children. I agree with Warren-- that the best I can do is to invest in myself-- to further my education and skills and make myself the best I can be. I grew up with parents who lived this principle. They were both well educated, worked hard, never spoiled us, and I'm extremely grateful for that. It paved the path for the opportunity of a great future to me and my siblings and all of their grandkids.