The cheerful girl with bouncy curls was almost five. Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw them, a circle of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box.
“Oh, please, mommy, can I have them? Can I have them? Please, Please, mommy?”
Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked into the pleading blue eyes of her little girl’s upturned face.
“A dollar and ninety-five cents. That’s almost two dollars. If you really want them, in no time, you can save enough to buy them for yourself. Your birthday is only a week away and you might get another crisp dollar bill from Grandma.”
As soon as Jenny got home, the little girl emptied her penny box and counted out seventeen pennies. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and went to the neighbors and asked Mrs McJames if she could pick dandelions for ten cents. On her birthday, Grandma did give her another new dollar bill and at last she had enough money to buy the necklace.
Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore them everywhere, even to bed. The only time she took them off was when she was swimming or had a bubble bath. Mother had said that if they got wet, they might turn the back of her neck green.
Jenny had a very loving daddy and every night when she went to bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story. One night when he had finished the story, he asked Jenny.
“Do you love me?”
“Oh, yes, Daddy, you know I love you.”
“Then give me your pearls.”
“Oh, Daddy, not my pearls, but you can have Princess, the white horse, from my collection. The one with the pink tail, remember daddy? The one you gave me. She is my favorite.”
“That’s ok, honey.”
He brushed her cheek with a kiss. About a week later, after the story, Jenny’s daddy asked again.
“Do you love me?”
“Daddy, you know I love you.:
“Then give me the pearls.”
“Oh, daddy, not my pearls, but you can have my baby doll and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper.”
“That’s ok, sleep well. God bless you, little one. Daddy loves you.”
And as always he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss. A few nights later when Daddy came in, Jenny was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed in Indian style. As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear ran down her cheek.
“What is it?”
Jenny did not say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy and when she opened it, there was her pearl necklace. With a little quiver, she finally said,
“Here, Daddy, it’s for you.”
With tears gathering in his own eyes, Jenny’s kind daddy reached out with one hand to take the dime store necklace and with the other hand, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Jenny. He had them all the time. He was waiting for her to give up the dime store stuff so he could give her a genuine treasure.
What are you holding on to that is preventing you from getting the genuine treasure? What limiting beliefs are holding you back? What misconceptions about money are you clinging to? It is time to let go.
Have the courage to seek out change. Change is painful.Most people won’t change until the pain of where they are exceeds the pain of change. When it comes to money, we can be like the toddler in a soiled diaper. “I know it smells bad, but it’s warm and it’s mine.” Only when the rash comes will we cry out. If you keep doing the same things, you will keep getting the same results. You are where you are right now financially as a sum total of the decisions you’ve made to this point.
If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.
(Note: The above story and key points are from the book “The Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey.)