My Mom would tell stories about hobos jumping off the freight trains that passed near their farm. They would stop at the house and ask for something to eat. She said they were rarely, if ever, threatening. They were just men roaming the country in search of work and a better life. They offered what food they could and sent them on their way.

My mothers family had little money. She would say they had a roof over their head, clothes to wear, enough food on the table and a lot of fun with her brothers and sisters. But, not much else.

Mom and Dad

My parents met in high school and eventually got married. Neither of them went to college. My mother worked as a medical secretary until I was born. She then became a full time Mom for my older brother and I.

After working long hours in a gas station, my Dad took over a small business which he ran for almost 40 years. According to my Dad, his early years were pretty lean. They lived off my Mom’s salary. But as time went by they figured it out and built a sizable nest egg to raise two sons and fund a comfortable retirement. Not bad for two depression era children that came from nothing.

Timeless Ways to Build Your Wealth

I didn’t understand it growing up. But looking back now, my parent’s formula for building wealth was pretty simple:

  • Common sense
  • Hard work
  • Frugal living
  • Diligent saving
  • Consistent and wise investing

For years, I applied the same formula to achieve Financial Independence Retirement Optional (FIRO). To leave you where I began, here is one more contradiction in life that amuses me and summed up by a French teacher and writer named Karr:

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”


What life lessons did your parents teach you?
What contradictions in life interest you?
Have you observed big changes in the world?

This article was republished with permission from Dividends Diversify.