At the Alchemia Group we are helping our clients think & act differently in regards to their wealth and its impact on thier family - because we know it is more than just numbers and plans, it's the Balance of Art & Science with Pragmatism and Vision.
I don’t think about ’stuff’ too often. Recently the idea of a prized possession presented itself to me on two occasions so I decided to pay attention. First, at the annual Purposeful Planning Institute’s Fusion Conference one of the speakers, David York, shared his Views On Wealth (VOW) Process. One of the questions he asks is:
What is your most treasured tangible possession and why?
Next, I received a writing sample from a client. It was a story about her grandmother’s ring and how it moved through the generations. In her words:
[The ring] was purchased with love and represents the hard work and determination, hardships and, ultimately, triumphs of amazing women.
These two events made me pause and ask myself what is my most treasured tangible possession? It was immediately obvious…my grandfather’s fountain pen seen in the image at the top of this post. And he would not be happy with me calling him grandfather. He was granddaddy and we loved him for it.
I received the pen when I was 10. My granddaddy had just died at age 61 (which I will be this year) and I was heartbroken. He was my friend, fishing and hunting mentor and I was just old enough to really enjoy being with him over anyone else. He was the most gentle soul I have ever known. In the picture below he is on the far left. He always seemed to be a bit apart from what was going on but never missed anything.
He was not wealthy and owned very little, not even a house. My mother gave me two of his things; his bamboo fly rod and his broken fountain pen. She said he carried the fountain pen every day until he got sick. Over that two-year period the bladder dried out so it no longer worked. I didn’t care. It was a little piece of him I could keep close. Over the next 40 years it resided in the top drawer of every desk I had. Every time I opened the drawer there it was, reminding me of everything Granddaddy had stood for. I kept saying to myself I should get it fixed but never got around to it. One day a friend told me about his favorite pen shop so I took it there. They couldn’t fix it but told me about a man in Ohio who specialized in old Sheaffer pens. Long story short, he fixed it for $16.00 and loved my story about the pen so much that he sent me an original ‘user manual’. When I’m writing a note to someone I frequently fill the pen and use it.
Humans imbue objects with meaning. Sharing the meaning we find in our objects can enhance our connection with each other and our mutual appreciation. So, stop for a moment and think about your own ‘prized possession’. What is the story behind it and who should you tell it to? Why not have a family conversation about prized possessions?