You know how I love watchin' my Oprah. Say what you will; it's pretty good television. Yesterday was about people who unwisely spend millions after winning the lottery or inheriting money. One guy did a social experiment where he gave a homeless man $100,000 to see if it would change his life. A year later and the guy has spent through the money and is homeless again. What I love is that Oprah called him on the carpet about his foolish choices. He was complaining that he ever got the money in the first place. Oprah basically called him ungrateful and said many people would love to have $100,000 to do whatever they please with it--but she did it in her very diplomatic, Oprah-ish way
Being around our old homeless friend Douglas, we learned pretty quickly that homelessness really does seem like a life choice. Douglas had mutliple job offers while he stayed with us, but he always turned them down. I know there are exceptions, but for the majority, it's a choice. But truthfully, how many of us are just a family-member away from being leaches on society? I grew up with a wealthy grandma. Actually, in my adult years I've learned she wasn't really "wealthy" but more "better off than us." My grandparents sent a letter when we were young that they would like to help each of the grandkids with college. When the time came, however, and especially after Grandpa died, Grandma wasn't so "forthcoming" with the money. To put it shortly, I didn't see a penny from this college fund.
But here's the point I'm getting at: hooray for Grandma! I used to be kind of bitter and upset by it, but now I'm glad I forged through college on my own (and some government help via Stafford loans). Grandma may have had a lot of money, but if she would've spent through it willy nilly-like, she may not have much of it now when she needs it most--and then she'd be a burden on her children. Her money is her money. We can, and should, be able to make it on our own. And Grandma did let me live with her while I went to BYU my first year, and she let me use a car she bought for more than four years. The next year I lived on my own, and I can still remember that incredibly great feeling of being nearly completely independent (Mom and Dad would still occasionally throw me a bone, and they paid for my car insurance.) I put a very high value on independence. I only have four more months of paying on my student loans; hallelujah. I fear that if I ever do happen onto a lot of money that I would pepper it on my family with vacations, expensive gifts, and hand-outs. What I took away from the Oprah show is that I will definitely be keeping any windfalls top secret. You won't be reading about it on my blog anytime soon.