The Best Investment You Can Make

My entire existence can be traced back to one phone call in the late 1980s. And that phone call never would have happened had my parents not met while working at McDonald’s. They had one of those cute romantic origin stories. He manned the grill and she worked the drive-thru. No swiping. No sliding into DMs. It was a different era. Unfortunately, their early spark fizzled and they stopped dating. That was…until the phone call.

It was my father’s birthday and my mother decided to call him though they hadn’t spoken in months. Thankfully, my father was home because he had recently broken his leg while playing sports. The rest, as they say, is history. My parents got back together, got married, and then they had me.

I sometimes wonder about that phone call. What if my father hadn’t been home? What if my mother had said one word or one phrase differently? Would they have still met up? Change the most minuscule details from a single phone call in the late 1980s and you are not reading these words right here, right now. It’s crazy to think about the world in this way, but it’s true.

However, I also wonder why I didn’t know this story earlier in my life. Yes, I’ve always known that my parents had met at McDonald’s, but I didn’t know that they stopped seeing each other and were reunited with a chance phone call until just a few years ago. It reminds me of this great monologue from the Netflix Series Dark (S1E6, translated from German):

You know what I find weird. You don’t actually know your parents, do you? What they were like as kids or teenagers. You’re a family, but you don’t really know anything about each other.

And it’s true. There are so many things I don’t know about the set of people that I have spent the most time with. For example, I know my mom wanted to be a flight attendant when she was younger, but she never followed through with it and I’ve never asked her why. I talk to my father a few times a week (and he is the editor for this blog!), but I don’t think I have ever discussed what he wanted to be when he was a kid.

What about you? How much do you know about your parents? What about the rest of your extended family?

I ask this because I have only recently begun to realize just how little I know about some of my relatives. After losing two family members earlier this year, I wish I had spoken with them more when I had the chance. This idea hit me like a ton of bricks during a Netflix standup special I saw a few weeks ago where the comedian asked the audience:

Do you see your folks enough? How often do you see them? What? Two, three times a year? What do they got left, maybe 20 years? That’s 60 more times you get to see them? That’s it. 60 more times. 60 more hangs. Are you making the most of these hangs? Are you creating cherished memories?

Try to remember this line of questioning as you sit down for Thanksgiving dinner this week. Try to remember how little time we really have in this life and then take a moment to ask some deeper questions. Take a moment to get to know your family just a little better. Because once they are gone, you are the one who will have to tell their stories.

Investing Beyond Investing

You might be wondering why spending time with family would be relevant to an investment blog like Of Dollars And Data. But, if you really examine what good investing is, you will realize that it is about optimally spending your time and money to reach your goals.

If you do this properly, you will realize that the best investment you can make has nothing to do with stocks, bonds, or alternatives and everything to do with the quality of your relationships. And the most central relationships you will have throughout your life will likely be your immediate and extended family.

With that being said, safe travels and enjoy the time with those that matter the most. Of Dollars And Data will return to its regularly scheduled financial programming next week. Thank you for reading!

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