Growing up in NY, most of my friends had stories about how their grandparents came to NY in the early 1900s and struggles for survival. Not me. My great-grandfather was already a millionaire by the time my friends’ families were signing their papers in Ellis Island. By the summer of August 1929 my grandfather was worth over 27 million dollars, and was well invested in real estate and, of course, the stock market.
You probably already know where this story is headed. By the end of October, he was no longer a millionaire; in fact, he was $80,000 in debt. At the end of the month, my great-grandfather did the only thing he thought he could do. He found a safe where he stored his last $3,000 in cash, took his family to Atlantic City for a few weeks, and blew the very last of his savings on a nice, long vacation.
During this vacation, my great-grandfather had time to think about what he was going to do. He thought practically, rolled up his sleeves, and realized that he was still a college-educated, experienced accountant, and could probably find work somewhere, perhaps not immeadiately, but in due time. Of course, as soon as he would return, he would have to sell his house, liquidate most of his assets and move, with his wife and three kids, into a small, one-bedroom apartment in the cheap side of town, which is exactly what he did.
My great-grandfather’s decision to spend the last of his money in Atlantic City saved his life. Most of his friends, upon loosing their fortunes, committed suicide. But by spending his money and enjoying it to the end, he gave himself the piece of mind needed to go on and adjust to the harsh reality.
There are many lessons one can take from this story. Sometimes splurging a bit is not wrong, but, on the contrary, necessary to preserve piece of mind. And when you splurge, you should do so with an open heart, and a realistic mind, but never with a guilty conscience.
To the jobseekers and hard workers who read this blog – you are probably aware what happens after the chagim. The job market will finally be open, after over a year of being closed. The wait may finally be over and a new, more productive era of jobsearching will be on the horizon. But before the new round of jobs comes, we will celebrate Sukkot, the holiday nicknamed “the time of our joy.” Obviously you should budget yourself, but don’t be afraid to spend a little more to enjoy the Holiday. You never know, it might buy you the piece of mind you need in order to roll up your sleeves and find that job you’re looking for.