My mother and father taught me Glaser’s Laws of Economics. They drummed them into my head and my brother’s head thoroughly.
My folks got married during the Depression and scraped and saved. They never let anything be considered junk; everything was used. When my dad started his dental practice in Athol it took him many years to establish himself and make any money. But they had faith in
G-d’s plan for them, faith in the goodness and honesty of most people, and faith that things would get better.
One thing that got better was their ability to save money even when they made little.
My folks indoctrinated me in Glaser’s Laws of Economics, born of desperation and lack of money. They believed that if you have money, you should invest it. If you don’t have money, save a little bit of your paycheck until you have enough to invest.
Although they thought I was a socialite at age eight, they wanted and needed to prepare me for a world that worked on the money principle. I think they worried my brother and I were going to grow up to be spendthrifts. One time I went to a fair in Athol. My Dad gave me $5.00 to have fun. I spent the entire amount and Dad asked what I got for it? Trinkets, I replied. I remember to this day how I felt letting Dad and Mom down by spending that money on junk. Then, I didn’t see the larger picture.
The first Glaser’s Laws Rule was USE IT UP. Use it all the way up and don’t buy something new until it is all gone.
The second Glaser’s Laws Rule was, WEAR IT OUT. If the patches couldn’t hold patches, it was time to get hand-me-downs from my brother, Jerry. If my mother couldn’t alter the clothes to fit me, only then was it time to go to the store and buy new. Also, it was incumbent in purchasing anything new, to get good quality material.
The third Glaser’s Laws Rule was, MAKE DO. This meant that even if you looked at an item in the store with dreamy eyes, until you saved up the money, you shouldn’t get it. I learned to appreciate what I had at the present, but work for any purchases I wanted to make in the future.
The fourth Glaser’s Laws Rule was, IF YOU DON’T HAVE THE MONEY, DON’T CHARGE IT. My parents were perfectly correct then. But years later, as an adult, I found I needed to have a credit card to rent a car, get a plane ticket, book a hotel, plan a cruise, or buy items on sale. Now, without a major credit card, you are left out of the American Economic System.
Two years ago, I was reading a Yankee magazine, and I came across the Yankee’s Laws of Economics. At first, I thought Yankee magazine stole Dad’s Laws of Economics. Then I realized my dad had incorporated the fiscal thinking of the Yankees, who made fortunes and kept them through wise investments.
Jerry and I have become conservative regarding money, as my parents hoped. We use money when we need to, but we have learned to ask the following questions before buying anything, small or large:
1) Do we need it or do we just want it? 2) How are we planning to pay for it? 3) What are we willing to give up to get it? 4) Once we buy this, are we going to respect that it took a long time to save up for it? and finally, 5) How are we going to treat this new purchase?
Answering the questions truthfully gave us the correct answers. Jerry and I taught Glaser’s Laws of Economics to our children, and hope, someday, to teach them to our grandchildren. Dor Li Dor, which means from generation to generation.
I thank my parents all the time because Jerry and I both have wonderful wives who don’t want to spend money uselessly. We both have nice homes. We have children who understand it’s not how much you make, but how much you save on a regular, consistent basis. Looking back on my forced education, I admit my parents were my best economic teachers. Our government could take a lesson from them.