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I have a friend in Nashville who had two very different sets of grandparents. On his father’s side, his grandfather had worked in factories, and had spent all his life saving money vigorously. They seldom traveled, though they bought a nice farm and a large house in another state. They stayed cold in the winters and hot in the summers, trying to save money. They were kind to their children and grandchildren when they made the trip to visit the grandparents, but gave them very little, and gave little to anyone else. One would get the impression that they were poor, when in fact, they were millionaires.

On the mother’s side, the grandparents were quite different. They were not wasteful or extravagant with their money. They saved for retirement, but retired to a smaller house, closer to their family. Their money was tighter, but it didn’t stop them from being generous. They often traveled to other states to watch the grandkids play ball. They gave money regularly to church, and the grandfather was an elder there. When the grandmother’s sister died, she received a large sum of money from her sister. She kept some for security, and then did something nice for each of her grandkids, saying,"I’d rather be able to see them enjoy it, instead of holding on to it until I die". Nearly every week, they would try to cook big meals and invite the whole family.

When the wealthier grandparents died, they were alone, paranoid, and depressed, rotting away in a nursing home. There was some sadness, but few tears shed. There was a large sum of money inherited by the children, though it didn’t mean much. Most of what was left was regret that...

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