Open Letter to My Grandpa

I was born the middle child of a middle child while also being the middle grandchild. Of all the 11 grandchildren born on my Mom’s side I was number 6, right in the middle. Being the ultimate middle child one would think that I would be grossly overlooked by my family. Fortunately for me that was not that case, thanks to my grandparents but especially my grandpa. My mom’s side of the family has always been an extremely tight knit family. Between my mom and her two sisters, that entire side of my family live within 5 minutes of each other. I wholeheartedly believe we have been such a close family because of my grandparents. 

My grandpa retired before the age of 60 in 1994 which is considered early in today’s society but that was almost unheard of during the time of his retirement. He worked many years for a great Fortune 500 company and was given great benefits with stock options and a pension. He diligently saved and invested his money in the stock market. Now he wasn’t investing in low cost index funds which is a staple of the FIRE community these days. He was lucky enough to invest in a couple of really good individual stocks, most of which included his stock options from his employer. Once he had made his wealth and officially retired he wanted to ensure his kids and all his grandkids were set for life. He wanted to see the fruit of his labor in his lifetime and not just leave an inheritance to all of us to spend how we see fit. The way he spent his money was by paying for all his grandkids tuition for school. Being part of a Catholic family, we all went to private school for grade school and high school and then went on to attend college – all 11 of us! (well 2 are still in high school but will probably attend college nonetheless). For all the sacrifices my grandpa made in his life this is by far his biggest but also his proudest achievement. He gave all his grandkids that opportunity to start of life leaps and bounds ahead of the average American student and for that I want to say THANK YOU!

Grandpa,

Since the beginning of my life you have always been around and have been my biggest supporter. You retired shortly after I was born and got your first video camera. I don’t know exactly how many cameras you have gone through over the years or how many thousands of hours of footage you have but I have seen myself grow up through that footage. I have been given the ability to retain memories that would have been long forgotten thanks to the footage you have given to me. You have been a constant source of encouragement and an inspiration to me my entire life. From the early beginnings of our school days, you would sit at every all school Mass with us. You went to every sporting event, dance recital, band performance and everything else in between. You do that for all your grandchildren. You treat all of us special. I always looked forward to my birthday as a kid because that meant going to The Farm for dinner and then spending the night at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Sometimes you even let us stay there for consecutive nights in a row! It was always a blessing to have individual time and you made us feel like we were each your favorite (even though all the grandkids know that I’m the favorite – haha).

As I made my way through high school, it was always in the back of my mind that you had allowed us to get a top notch education but it wasn’t until college where I fully appreciated the magnitude of what you did for us. Knowing that it was you who made it possible for me to go to college with no expenses to me made me want to try even harder. I used it as motivation to do well. I needed to not let you down and when I did I felt ashamed. I not only wanted to get good grades, be involved and ultimately go to pharmacy school for myself but I also wanted to make you proud of me and my accomplishments because you made it all happen. I know that I am the most fortunate out of all the grandkids because you not only paid my college tuition but also paid for my pharmacy school too. I will forever be indebted to you and my parents who helped foot some of the expenses too. I pursued my passion without the added stress of having to pay for school. I continued to work hard at school to get the grades I needed while working part time in the pharmacy on top of that. You made it all possible for me. Now as I am only a year into my pharmacy career I realize how fortunate I was to come out of school with no debt. This has allowed me to pursue the life I want to live. I am able to go on amazing vacations while still saving and investing my money. If it weren’t for you I would be paying off my enormous amount of student loans I would have procured. Thank you for being one of the biggest constants in my life and giving me the opportunity to live my best life!

Love,

Steven

Rx for FIRE

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