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My parents have worked hard all their lives. My dad frequently questions my 13-year-old daughter as to why she doesn’t have a job. He likes to tell her that by the time he was her age, he’d had several jobs doing all sorts of things for local businesses. He passed this kind of work ethic on to me and my sister, and my own children have learned by example the value of making money on your own. 

Both of my parents worked blue-collar jobs. Dad went to school to be an auto mechanic, which he did for a while, working for small shops in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Mom worked mostly part-time as a bank teller, office manager, bookkeeper, and home health aide. 

My grandfather owned a newspaper delivery service and pulled my dad in for extra help whenever possible. It was no surprise when Dad left cars behind and started working for several New Jersey newspaper services, eventually landing a full-time foreman’s position with a New York City daily. 

Throughout their careers, my parents had one overriding focus: save for retirement. After working over 20 years in the newspaper business, my dad managed to build a retirement plan that brings in just about what his base pay used to be when he was working — around $70,000 annually. My mom’s retirement savings are earning interest in a CD as an emergency fund.

The years of saving, investing, and living simply are now paying off, as they are living comfortably on their retirement income. Here are some of