Those were the three words that tumbled out of my mouth at the checkout counter of my local pharmacy. It all started when the youngish – about late 20’s – clerk asked me how I was. I answered my usual, “Good!”. But then I stopped, looked up at him and said, “How are you? Your shift almost over?”

It was early afternoon. He said, with a great big sigh, that he was “on” until 8 pm. (I remember how long those shifts can be from days long ago when I was a bagger and checker at my neighborhood grocery store.) He continued and said he wished he could get paid and not work. I told him – without taking a breath – that this was called retirement! And he could do that if he saved. I told him to go home, look up compound savings and start by saving a quarter of every dollar.

Do What You Can

My dad always said nickels and dimes make quarters. Simply put – that all savings adds up and success breeds success. I see clearly the brilliance in his simple words.

Long ago, that was the advice that gave me permission to start saving and to start with any amount. To do what I could, not what I couldn’t. That started a snowball effect. A savings habit that eventually grew to a retirement nest egg I will rely on in the not-too-distant future.

A Conversation to Remember

As he handed me my receipt, he told me that he would remember this conversation.

Took my breath away at the possibility that this very minor – and short – conversation may have contributed to his future in a good way.

Those of you who know me know that this is my work: to reach and teach people about the choices they have for money. To empower people with financial education so they can make choices that will support their future. That they truly do have control over their destiny.

As I sat in my car, I smiled. This exchange made my day. In all the work that we do at Money Savvy Generation, it is the human-to-human connection that keeps me going on this mission. I think, I hope, that this young man will remember and will take charge of his future. I won’t be around, but I am already smiling as I picture him in retirement, getting paid and not having to go to work. And maybe even telling his grandchildren about the lady who told him to save and to understand the power of compound savings.

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Written by Susan Beacham
Susan Beacham founded Money Savvy Generation in 1999 after almost two decades in private banking and investment management complemented by considerable time teaching at the elementary level.

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