BEING SHAPED BY THE GREAT DEPRESSION. Kids, the Great Depression of the Thirties shaped the thinking of the generations that lived through it. My father did not buy any equities (stocks) until he was in his sixties, although he attributed his reluctance to the loss of his family’s savings in the Panic of 1907. My parents and Mary Jane’s parents urged their children to get teachers’ certificates. (Teaching jobs had been prized in the Thirties because they were secure jobs.) After my father died in 1981, my mother insisted on paying off a balloon mortgage with an extremely favorable interest rate of 3% (interest rates at the time were in the double digits.) She told us that she paid it off because she remembered things that had happened in the Thirties.

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  1. Annalisa says:

    I remember you also said your father bought land and houses instead of putting money into stocks. My college friend Amanda’s father owned a second house and rented it out on a regular basis. I don’t know what his reasoning was behind it (that is, if he had a similar view to your father’s), but it struck me as unusual. I had another friend in Darien whose family rented out a second home, but that’s it. I wonder if people in my generation will ever consider buying a second home and renting it out, or if that notion is going the way of the dodo.

  2. Mary Jane Schaefer says:

    There are so many problems with renting out a house: having a good tenant tends to mitigate most of them. But you also have to SERVICE the damned place. So, instead of having one house in which things always need to be fixed, you have TWO. There’s my laziness showing. I had suggested to Mr. Schaefer that we might want to buy a house in Rowayton during this real estate depression, but we’d have to take a loss on our stocks, so it wouldn’t really pay. Then, of course, we’d have the problem of owning two houses. See above.

  3. Mary Jane Schaefer says:

    My sister and I deliberately did not get education certificates that would enable us to teach in high school. We were determined not to teach. How much of this was rebellion and how much of this was that we knew what we didn’t want I can’t say. But, some people LOVE teaching, truly love it and feel they’re making a great contribution to the world. I think that it’s a great profession for some people who can really make a difference. I just didn’t have it in me.

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