Our Spring blog series includes excerpts and basic financial lessons from the book In A Most Delightful Way, by our founder and CEO, James Twining, CFP®. The book aims to explore and simplify concepts based on the author’s own recollection of his early life and storied career path. The formula includes a story or anecdote (the “Spoonful of Sugar”) as well as “medicine” in the form of a lesson learned. Request a copy of the book anytime from your FP Inc. advisor or staff member.
Spoonful of Sugar: The most Expensive Hotels I Ever Bought
By James B. Twining
My future wife, Jeanne, had a family that was similar to mine in that her father was a Marine officer who had been stationed in many different places over the years. Jeanne was born in New Orleans, and her extended family lived there. We met for the first time when I was five years old (Jeanne would have been two) playing around in a sandbox in Twentynine Palms, California.
The next time we met, I was nineteen and both our families were stationed on the other side of the country in Quantico, Virginia. One fateful Friday night we were playing Monopoly and I had just bought hotels on Boardwalk and Park Place….so I was feeling frisky. We started playing footsies under the table and before you could say “Bob’s your uncle” I was a goner.
During spring break of 1979, Jeanne flew out from Florida State where she was attending college, to visit me at U.S.C. I had borrowed $300 from a friend and purchased a diamond ring. I remember sweating the $50 payments and the sense of relief when I finally got the loan paid off. To make ends meet, I had discovered that I could buy a very large bag of rice for $5. I ate rice morning, noon, and night. The evening I proposed, I splurged by adding a pad of butter to Jeanne’s rice bowl.
The Medicine: When young people are frugal out of necessity, it stands them in good stead. Reality is the best teacher, and the reality is that most young people must scrimp and sacrifice a bit. This instills a work ethic and an appreciation for hard-earned money along with the ability to get by with less.