The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
A chip off the ol’ block.
Like father like son.
There are several ways to say it, but these old proverbs all mean the same thing – children often grow up to be like their parents and sons often grow up to be like their father.
Fortunately my Dad didn’t grow up to be like his father.
My Dad grew up in a broken home. His father abused alcohol and abused his family. When my Dad grew old enough to leave home, he joined the military in hopes of fighting in the Vietnam War. He served in the Army for four years in the 101st airborne division. Luckily, he never got the opportunity to go oversees and somehow made it out of the service in one piece.
Back home in Ohio, my Dad had been accepted to the Art Academy of Cincinnati. He weighed his options, but ultimately decided that it was time for him to strike out on his own and leave the memories of a rough childhood behind.
He bought a bicycle and set out to ride from Ohio to Washington State.
He had fond memories of Seattle from his childhood, and decided it would be a good place to start fresh. As you can imagine, riding a bicycle 2000 miles in the summer heat is a little exhausting, and he almost didn’t make it. To give you the short version, it was thanks to the generosity of several strangers that he survived and eventually arrived in Seattle to begin a new life.
I’ll fast forward to the part where I come in.
Eventually my Dad met a woman (my mom), fell in love, got married, and they started a family together. My Dad worked his day job as a technician for an aerospace company and went to night-school to get his GED and college degree. He worked hard to provide for our family, no matter the circumstances.
Despite layoffs and unstable jobs, we always lived comfortably.
My parents both worked very hard, day in and day out. They taught me to have a good work ethic, and the importance of managing money responsibly. They practiced frugality and tried to instill good habits in me and my siblings. And although we may not have always been receptive, those philosophies were ingrained somewhere deep in my brain.
Dad truly made something out of nothing.
He lived the American dream. He went from having no home and no possessions to owning two houses outright, multiple vehicles, with a strong financial foundation and no debt. My Dad had developed a passion for finance and was proud of what he had accomplished.
In the wake of the 2008 economic downfall, my Dad was eventually laid-off one last time. He was in a good place financially and decided to take the opportunity to retire. It was at that time that he finally decided to write a book about everything he had learned, in hopes of helping others with their financial struggles.
In 2012 he self-published Amortize Debt into Prosperity.
The joy of this accomplishment was short-lived, as Dad was diagnosed with stage-four lung cancer soon after. Less than a year after his diagnosis, my Dad passed away on November 11th, 2013. I love my Dad and miss him greatly, and I’m thankful for the time we had together. I know that he worked hard to change his family tree by providing us with a safe and loving home. Although we didn’t always take his advice, he always wanted the best for me and my four siblings.
My Dad’s words of advice live on through his book.
Amortize Debt into Prosperity never got a fair chance. Because of Dad’s illness, it was never marketed. Although it has good ratings on Amazon, the book hasn’t reached as many people as my Dad would have wanted. In his honor, you will see the occasional blog post taken straight from his book. All the time and effort he put in will not be lost. Even though he’s gone, his words will live on and people will be able to benefit from his years of experience.
Today would have been my Dad’s 68th birthday.
I still get a little teary-eyed when I think about him, but I know he’s in a better place now. Over the past few years I’ve come to realize that I’m a lot like my Dad. My siblings are quick to tease me for it, but I have adopted many of his frugal ways. One thing that my Dad did which I have learned not to do, is wait too long to pursue dreams. Waiting until he was retired to write his finance book meant he had very little time, if any, to enjoy it. I’ve learned that time goes by way too fast and it’s not worth it to wait. I hope that those who read my blog will learn from both his experiences and mine, to provide a better financial foundation for their loved ones for generations to come. Someday I’d like to update and re-release my Dad’s book, but until then I will continue to plug away at this blog, practice sensible finance, and work hard for my family – like father like son.
In loving memory of Marc Griffin
October 19th, 1947 – November 11th, 2013