The Papers

Over the last several weeks I’ve spent a considerable amount of time sorting through a dozen bankers boxes containing 70 years worth of my family’s financial records, first my dad’s, later my mom and dad’s, then my mom’s. I’m not discarding everything willy-nilly but going through each file meticulously and laboriously, sorting out the completely useless (incomprehensible hand-written calculation worksheets, bills from laundries that ceased to exist 60 years ago, etc.) from the interesting (federal income tax returns, expense ledgers from properties) and those of geneaological importance (wills, correspondence from family members some of whom I didn’t even know existed). In the process I’ve seen a side of my parents of which I was completely unaware.

My dad derived roughly 10% of his income, in today’s money something like $20,000 per year, from rents and dividends. That’s huge. I really had no idea. My parents were really committed investors. I knew that he had inherited properties from his parents and grandparents. I never knew how long he had continued to rent some of it.

I wish he had taught me about this stuff. It would have changed my life.

1 comment… add one
  • Chris Link

    This last line begs a response. Some parents download everything they know to their kids to the point of saturation, while others teach little beyond how to tie your shoes and eat with a spoon. There are books to learn how to buy and sell property. You seem to be a well-read person and may want to check that out. Its nice that you appreciate the heritage in the records your folks kept. It is something to cherish and remember them by.

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