Robert Badal, Arbitration and Mediation Services, Co-Founder, Financial Literacy Project
We are pleased to have Robert Badal share a “Favorite” childhood money memory with us.
Robert lives in Santa Barbara, California. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and the Harvard Law School.
Throughout his legal career, Robert focused his practice on issues related to antitrust and international competition and he has written extensively on these subjects. Having retired from practicing law, Robert has become an arbitrator and mediator of legal disputes.
Among his civic activities in his local community has been the creation of a Financial Literacy Project, whose goal is to see a financial literacy course become a formal part of the curriculum in all local high schools. Robert is an avid bicyclist.
In His Own Words
I grew up in Philadelphia in the 1950’s as one son in a large family. Money was always tight but I did not take much notice of that as it did not seem to make much of a difference in how I saw the world.
My parents offered us a small allowance in exchange for our completing certain chores around the house but as time went on, that allowance seemed less and less significant.
My older brothers, being somewhat entrepreneurial, had developed a way to make money in addition to their allowance by doing odd jobs around the neighborhood–cutting grass in the Summer, shoveling snow in the Winter and delivering the local newspaper before school in the early morning.
As I got a little older, they allowed me to join them in these various neighborhood jobs. It felt good to have that extra money flowing into my pockets and I could spend it as and when I wished–which I often did.
Then something interesting happened: a local bank came to our elementary school and offered to open a savings account for any student who could deposit a very small minimum amount.
My teacher and parents encouraged me to do so, and I did. Having deposited some of my earned monies into this new account, I noticed that each month the bank would give me something called “interest” and my balance grew even when I hadn’t added any new monies to the account. This struck me as remarkable. Seeing the account grow via interest, caused me to save more and spend less.
This was my first great life lesson in money: time could be my friend; and if I could save more than I spent, over time my assets could grow (other things being equal) simply by virtue of the passage of time.
The value of time reinforced another money habit that my parents had always urged us to embrace: do not consume more than you earn and save whenever you can.
The lessons I learned then are equally valid today and were formative in teaching me the core fundamentals of saving over the long run versus consuming in the present.
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