Money Lessons From My Grandparents | Ep 250

Anne Zonca

What You'll Get Out Of Today's Show

  • Once you realize financial independence is possible for you, how do you ensure the money lessons you've learned are consistently passed down to future generations?
  • Anne Zonca's family is well ahead of their time when it comes to financial independence. When many are focused on second-generation FI, Anne herself is third generation FI working to pass along her family's lessons to her own children.
  • Children of the Great Depression, Anne's grandparents were deeply effected by having lived through it. Starting out in marriage with literally nothing, they worked hard and saved so that they never had to live through a financial situation like that again. Understanding that saving was not enough, they began investing in the stock market in the 1950s.
  • With a formal education, her grandfather stayed informed with the Wall Street Journal and sharing stock tips with his brother. They invested in individual stocks, picking ones they felt were stable, like oil and gas, or utility companies. For stocks that paid dividends, they reinvested the dividends. with this strategy, they were able to build a substantial amount of wealth.
  • Anne's mom recounted stories about how her grandfather got into stock investing, but Anne became more aware of her grandparents investing prowess around 14 when they began gifting stock to their children and grandchildren.
  • While the value of the gifted stock wasn't necessarily a large sum, it was substantial considering they were regularly gifting to 4 children and 11 grandchildren.
  • The gifted stocks were paying decent dividends, but rather than receive a lot of checks for small amounts, the dividends were all reinvested.
  • Though the growth on the stocks gifted to Anne was not enough for her to reach FI, she definitely had a heart start and was learning about stocks and investing at a young age.
  • Her grandparents gifting stock to the family was a win-win scenario as her grandparents did not have to sell the stock and pay capital gains on the appreciated value. Though the recipient bears a tax burden, children are entitled to a certain amount of capital gains each year tax-free.
  • Currently, children can have up to $2,000 of capital gains before being subject to capital gains taxes.
  • Following the example set by her grandparents, Anne's parents were able to achieve financial independence as well through entrepreneurship and real estate.
  • Although preceding generations had reached financial independence, it wasn't wealth being passed on from generation to generation that got them there. It was the lessons of spending less than you make and smartly investing the extra that perpetuated generational success and wealth.
  • Despite her grandparents' success in the stock market, there was remarkably little conversation about investing until the grandkids were older and showed an interest in having such conversations.
  • As a result of the gifted stocks and her parents being good stewards of it for her, Anne was able to use it and graduate from college debt-free.
  • As life is often bumpy, Anne experienced her own financial setback when she divorced her husband and the courts gave her ex-husband half of everything her grandparents had gifted to her. Luckily, the money lessons she had learned allowed her to be in a financial position to leave behind the marriage and move on with her life.
  • Although not everything has gone fairly or smoothly since the divorce, Anne has adopted a great attitude by understanding that it's only money, she will be able to move on, and that she will still reach FI.
  • The advice she would give to anyone else going through a divorce is to work with the things that are burdening you, follow your heart, and don't sacrifice your life, happiness, or the person you want to be over a bad decision. You can work hard and invest. There are still a lot of opportunities to save money, meet goals, and find love.
  • Having been a stay-at-home mom and yoga teacher, Anne needed to get back into the workforce to support herself. A friend advised her to do it scared. The first year was hard, but she built up her skills and got her CPA certification renewed.
  • Anne's grandparents lived long enough to begin gifting stock to their great-grandchildren, so her kids have been the fortunate recipients of these gifts and their associated money lessons.
  • In addition to the stock gifts, Anne started a program of investing pocket change with her kids. Now that they are are in high school, they listen to ChooseFI with her and she's established stock accounts for them so that they can become comfortable investing in stocks and mutual funds.
  • To impart a FI mindset in her children by being an example. Anne drives used cars. She also has them responsible for paying their own car insurance, which incentivizes them to get good grades to earn a discount. And she gives them some say in how Anne she invests money for them.
  • Anne says financial independence means freedom. She can make decisions independent of the financial impact.
  • Second, third, and fourth generations have a distinct advantage when starting out in life with the information, language, and a framework to make their path to FI easier.

Resources Mentioned In Today's Conversation

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    1 thought on “Money Lessons From My Grandparents | Ep 250”

    1. Thank you thank you thank you for this episode! It really showed the generational lessons that she learned and gave ideas for me to help my son continue to learn. My absolute favorite part was when she talked about her divorce. Divorce is devastating on your finances. It dramatically changes the picture in an instant – let alone the time it takes one to recover. I really appreciate ChooseFI getting real with the personal finance community. We can still go after FI even if we have a past that is messy. Life happens. Let’s share how we triumphed.

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