Yesterday, Josh Romney made a statement about his family that has a lot of people talking:
"My dad has more energy than anyone I've ever seen," Josh Romney said. "He is also tremendously cheap."As children in Belmont, Massachusetts, the boys said they learned not to leave the tap water running too long, or they would get a rebuke from their father, who was in the process of building the venture capital powerhouse Bain Capital."Congress would learn pretty quickly that they're not going to get money from my dad either," Josh Romney said.
My father, who is an attorney, is the same way. My Dad's idea of going out to get lunch or dinner is to get one of those cheap 99 cent hamburgers that most fast food chains offer. Every now and then, we'll go to a nice restaurant and eat good food. Just as Mitt Romney rebuked his kids if he left the tap water running too long, whenever I've come home to visit my parents, my Dad will rebuke me if I've let the clothes dryer run longer than he thinks is necessary and he will turn off the machine in mid cycle if he thinks the clothes are sufficiently dry.
Mitt Romney and My Dad are children of parents who lived through the Depression and World War II. In fact, my grandparents and my father were Dutch immigrants who came to America after World War II As a result, those who lived through these tough years in America's history scrimped and saved on everything they could. They also grew up in households where they didn't have a lot of money growing up and became affluent only after years of hard work.
A few years ago, my Dad bought me two books for me to read. He wanted me to read The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy and Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth. One of the most important and fascinating facts about wealthy people is that they became rich not by living lavishly but by living prudently in which they save money when they can and buy items cheaply whenever possible. As a result, the real secret to financial success isn't having a high power paying job or a business that rakes in millions in cash but living within your means or well below your means.
I think Mitt Romney and My Dad are trying to instill in their children the value of not wasting time, resources and money because that's what they learned from their parents. These are good lessons that people need to learn regardless if they are rich or poor. But more importantly, these are lessons that our elected officials need to learn and I think Mitt Romney would be just the man to help Congress become better stewards of the People's money.