The Legacy of Grandpa’s Money

My grandpa, my mom’s dad, was a hoarder.

He was a straight up, legitimate hoarder.

I’m sure much of this stemmed from him growing up in the middle of the Great Depression. It left quite an imprint on his concept of abundance. While it was hard on our family to see him accumulate so much stuff and a pain to clear it all out when he died in 1992, his hoarding left a positive legacy.

In addition to the magazines he kept stacked too high and whatever he filled that 3 car garage full with, he also hoarded money. When driving cross country, he’d stop along the way to open a new bank account. After he died, the family kept receiving bank statements from around the country and finding books with money hidden inside.

His primary account was, of course, in our hometown. He opened it in 1947, 2 years after he came home from the War. Along the way, he added my mom as a joint account holder and she still has that checking account today.

The business of banking has changed a lot in 69 years. The name of the bank has changed many times, eventually settling on Wells Fargo. But my mom still has that account because it was her dad’s. Even though the interest rate sucks, even though they charge her the occasional fee. She has so much pride when she holds up her card and it shows its been open longer than she’s been alive. That’s Gramps’ account and that means something.

And I can’t say that I blame her. I too have Grandpa money. For all the kid’s birthdays every year, we got savings bonds, back when those paid interest. Much of it covered my expenses to go to college. Without my Grandpa money, I wouldn’t have been able to graduate debt free with my undergraduate degree.

He also started a whole life insurance policy for me and my siblings when we were born. My sister cashed hers out to cover the down payment for her house. I still have mine. I’ve kept it as a safety net, just in case, but also because its Grandpa money. It’s what I have left.

My mom and I aren’t making rational financial decisions with this money. It is Grandpa/Dad money and that’s why we keep it. I know whole life isn’t a good investment. My mom knows that keeping her money at Wells Fargo isn’t the best for her money. The only reason we keep it is because of him.

But to honor him, we shouldn’t squander this legacy. After all, what we are cherishing are an expensive account and an inefficient savings vehicle. Grandpa wouldn’t have tolerated that. It is time to cash in and close down these accounts.

Nothing about these accounts can bring him back. The best I can do is do him proud.

Miss you, Gramps!


August 2016 Net Worth


August was a month of different and it came just in time.

I’ve been struggling lately with a lot of things and it was time for something different. Thankfully, that fit right into what life had planned.

My grandpa passed earlier this year, but his funeral was this month. We had a party planned for his 90th birthday and no one wanted to cancel it.  I was asked to sing during the memorial service and at first I was hesitant, but I agreed. It was wonderful to sing again. It felt so good to see so much of the family together. To laugh, to cry and to remember.

Hubs broke his phone mid-month. It should have been a simple frustrating event, followed by the purchase of a new phone. Instead of something run-of-the-mill, I spiraled out of control. I’ve struggled with my mental health for 20 years and this was one of the worst episodes I’ve had in a while. I’m still learning to take care of myself, but I’m getting much better at realizing when I need to slow down. This lead to some radio silence and a lot of repetitive motions to try to reset the rhythm of my brain. {Note: He bought an LG Stylo 2. So far, so good!}

Speaking of repetitive motions, I took to cross stitching! It was the perfect activity to enjoy during the Olympics. Boy, did I watch a lot of Olympics. The swimming did not disappoint! My stitching also allowed me to zone out during the crappy commentary and only pay attention to the action. I propose we make swimming a mainstream sport. Whose with me!?


August 2015: I broke through $10k in the house fund and had my first nasty month in the market. It was the closest I’ve been to having my investments go down since I started tracking.  I also skipped my grandpa’s 89th birthday because Hubs and I were both battling a nasty chest infection. As life would happen, I would never see him again.

August 2014: Hubs and I left for a birthday trip to London! I had $27,594 in debt. I paid off my third loan and said goodbye with an obituary. I was hoping to pay off my debt by December 2015. {Spoiler Alert: I finished 9 months ahead of schedule!}

August 2013: I started looking for a job outside of the traditional legal world. So many coffee dates! Hubs and I celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary.



Retirement: $45,781 (+2,084) $45,000! Look at that! Included is this awesomeness, my 401k is now bigger than my IRA. I contributed $1,895 so there was only a hair of growth here. I still hope I can make it to $50k by the end of next month for my birthday, but that is looking like more and more of a pipe dream. I will hold out hope until the end. $50k or bust!

Taxable: $9,181 NC I’m back to waiting on this account until December. 

Auto Value: $11,619 (-150)  The depreciating asset keeps depreciating.

House Fund: $33,128 (+908) Saving! But gone are the days of major increases here. Summer is expensive! Hubs also upped his 401k contribution so there is less to go around. We had a joint hustle in July and we got paid in August. That counts for most of this. 

HSA: $7,388 (+160) I paid my medical bills! I am not a deadbeat! Somehow, I still managed to log an increase here. In addition to being a deadbeat, perhaps I am also a wizard. This account is starting to throw its weight around. It’s getting so beautiful and big! 

Car Fund: $778 (+50) I had some semi-significant maintenance on my car this month. I went in expecting only ~$80 and I left paying $350! I didn’t see that coming! This whole not owning a brand new car thing is different. I’ve never paid much of anything for maintenance. This time I pulled the cash to cover it out of our cash flow, but I was happy to have this account at the ready. I still think I’m going to use this money to buy out Hubs’ car, but its nice to have the back up. Keep on saving on. 


Car Loan: $5,707 ($377)  The progress is slow and steady here. Nothing to report except FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS! Woot! This is the minimum payment on a cheap loan.


Net worth: $102,168. Up $3,431 from last month. 

$100,000!! $100,000!! $100,000!!!

I will be subtle with my celebrating, so I will sit and clap while the confetti rains down on me. It didn’t take me nearly as long to get here as I thought. It’s difficult to comprehend that my initial plan was to have my loans paid off by next month, but here I am with all that paid off, $45k in my retirement accounts and a sizable down payment saved. It feels pretty gosh darn fabulous to have my student loan kick-assery pay off. It provided some incredible momentum.

How was your August?  Ups, downs, confetti?