Boomer Talk: A Q&A with the Wealth Pilgrim

Seeing as how this site is called Broke Millennial, there is generally millennial-exclusive content. But today we’re changing it up and allowing a Baby Boomer to put his two cents in. The following is a Q&A with Neal Frankle, CFP who is also the editor of WealthPilgrim.com and MCMHA.org.  He has unique professional and personal experience in the realm of personal finance. 

wealth pilgrim headshot

Neal Frankle

What is your earliest memory related to money?

Fear.  My father was a real estate speculator who doubled down every time one of his “bets” didn’t work out. That usually made bad situations far worse.  As a result, I grew up with constant financial fear and uncertainty.  I remember our utilities constantly being shut off because my parents couldn’t pay the bill and losing our house to foreclosure.

How did you learn about finance?

I realized that if I wanted anything I’d have to work for it (not a bad lesson) because my parents didn’t have the money. I started working at 12 and basically never stopped.

The first important lesson I really “got” was when I was 14.  I was earning about $1.65 an hour (I’m an old guy) so at the end of an afternoon, I’d have maybe $5 in my pocket.  The problem was I went to Mc Donalds and usually spent about $3.50. So after all that work all I’d have left was a buck and change.  I was a slower learner.  It took me a year to realize I was better off by taking a sack lunch rather than buying my food. From that day on I was really careful about how I spent money.  That lesson stuck and has really paid off.

In terms of learning about finance for my profession, I studied accounting in school which gave me the basics on how a business runs.  I learned how investments work through on the job training and investing myself.  Books are great but don’t hold a candle to actually getting your feet wet doing it.

How did you start teaching your children about money when they were young?

My kids knew about my childhood so they were sensitive to the importance of finance.  They also were always grateful and never took things for granted.  That was the start of their “financial education.”  They also saw how hard I worked and they understood the connection between work and financial security when they were young.

I would always talk to them about financial decisions.  We would discuss the pros and cons and I would always ask their opinion.  I think that empowered them.  Of course the topics we discuss when they were 5 and 6 were very different from the things we talked about at age 15 and 16.  But by including them very early, it helped them become familiar with finance.

When my two eldest turned 22, I turned over their savings so they could invest or spend as they saw fit. Of course I invited them to use me to manage the money they didn’t want to spend, but the big decisions were theirs.  This empowered them to become independent and to really think strategically.  It was good all the way around.

What piece of financial advice would you give to any millennial?

The most important thing you can do is really think ahead.  Are you on the right path?  If you keep going the way you are going now, will you get the life you want?  If not, what do you have to do differently….starting now?

When I was young, I never thought this way.  I thought I had all the time in the world.  Fortunately, I landed on a career path that worked but it could have ended up differently.  Don’t waste your time because that is your greatest and most valuable asset.

What’s the best financial move you ever made?

Hands down, the best financial move I made was my career as a financial planner.  It has provided my family with financial security and freedom.  It also gives me the opportunity to help others, which I love.  I realized at a very early stage that I wasn’t cut out to work for someone else and being an entrepreneur offers amazing opportunity.

This is not to say that you can’t do really well by working for others.  I have many friends who have done far better than I have and they have always been employees.  I realized where my strengths were and I put myself in the best position I could to leverage those qualities.

Thanks, Neal! So, dear reader, what are your answers to some of the questions I posed to Neal?

Posted in Financial Literacy Tagged with: ,
13 comments on “Boomer Talk: A Q&A with the Wealth Pilgrim
  1. What an enlightening post from a finance pro :-)
    I think one of the biggest financial lessons I learned growing up was the value of hard work and the value of time. My parents both had multiple jobs growing up because they wanted to provide for us. I know that they came home incredibly tired from work and couldn’t spend a lot of time with my sisters and I.
    Although that made me value hard work, it also made me realize that you can’t put a price tag on time – time with family and those you love the most.
    It inspired my husband and I to be more entrepreneurial and be crazy savers. At the end of the day, we want to be financially secure through hard work and smart investing. When we can leverage our time to work and still spend quality time with family, that’s when we feel we’ve been successful :-)

    Thanks for sharing!
    thefrugalweds recently posted…Jet-Lag Cure: How to Hit the Ground Running AFTER your VacationMy Profile

  2. I think I worked at the same job, for $1.65 an hour… I remember applying for a job at the Earth Shoe factory, back in the day. I believe the wages were about that same amount then.

    Probably the best move I made was not getting hired by them. Had I got a job there, I might have gotten into the factory mentality and kept a factory job.

    Being an entrepreneur is a move anyone can make, but few do.

    • Broke Millennial says:

      It certainly is a tough move to make because it requires a lot of risk than many people don’t have the stomach for.

  3. $1.65 an hour? Ouch. I marvel at how little $15/hour gets me.
    Stefanie @ thebrokeandbeautifullife recently posted…Survival Job Spotlight: Actress EntrepreneursMy Profile

    • Broke Millennial says:

      Well, it was a long time ago… But I agree that $15 barely feels like much then again, we live in NYC. That’s an hour of work for an often average priced cocktail.

  4. Wow that’s a really good personal finance blog. I say it is a million dollar blog hehe. Because it made me rethink about my life and made me feel hopeful about from zero to rising a bit. My earliest memory to money was when i was in elementary and failed to rent out my video game.
    Jeff @Project Ikonz recently posted…Saving money on holiday travelMy Profile

    • Broke Millennial says:

      Tell me more about renting out a video game. Where you trying to save money to rent the game or attempting to make money by renting one to another kid?

  5. Great interview and wonderful insights! I wrote about my earliest money memory on my blog, and it was when I decided to sell my parents used CD’s to make a buck. I would tell other millenials to save sooner (I wish I did) and that graduate school is not always the answer. My best financial investment was studying abroad and learning Spanish. It’s scored me a lot of jobs and opportunities, as well as cross cultural experiences.
    Melanie@Dear Debt recently posted…Thoughts on BloggingMy Profile

  6. Great interview Erin. I think everyone needs to think ahead and plan for the future. So many of us (especially us youths) get caught up in the day to day picture. That, and it’s been scientifically proven we have a hard time imagining ourselves in the future. If you can start planning fo retirement in your early to mid 20s, you’re going to be well set when the time comes.
    Ryan @ Impersonal Finance recently posted…recognize your opportunities. then seize them.My Profile

  7. I wish I had someone to give me financial advice when I was in my 20s. It could have saved me a lot of stress and a lot of interest. Great interview.

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