“Rich or Poor, It’s Good to Have Money”

My grandma Dora (my dad’s mom) was quite a woman. She had a very strong personality and always spoke her mind. If you did something that she didn’t agree with, she made her opinions known loud and clear and some of her best zingers have lived on even since her passing more than a decade ago.
What struck me most about my grandma was that despite an incredibly tough life – she and my grandfather both worked and they lived in a cramped apartment in the Bronx with my dad and my uncle where they both slept on a fold out couch – Grandma and Grandpa managed to save for retirement and moved to Ft. Lauderdale when my brother and I were still quite young.
The Grandma Dora I remember most was the one who would wear a floral bathing suit and play mah jong with her friends. She and my great aunt Dinah were also inseparable during those years and would argue about everything under the sun even though they’d go to the ends of the earth for one another. And whenever we’d visit them, Grandma would always have her zingers.
In light of a recent article that’s been making waves among women this week – yes, the one about the Princeton alum who wrote a letter to fellow undergrads instructing them to find a husband at college, I bet my Grandma Dora would say she was on to something. According to my grandma, the road to happiness in marriage can be paved with a little cash. My personal favorite is this one:
“Rich or poor, it’s good to have money.”
Sure, my grandfather didn’t attend an Ivy League school, but grandma knew how hard they both struggled to make ends meet and she didn’t want that for her children or grandchildren. Is that honestly so bad?
When I first laid eyes on my husband, I was 23 years old and had finally gotten over a bad break up with a boyfriend I had been dating for more than five years. Grandma didn’t care for “that boy” that much because he wasn’t Jewish. In fact, every week, she would ask me on the phone: “Are you still dating that boy?” (Incidentally, “that boy” shared the same name as my brother). I would oftentimes respond, “yes I am” and the conversation would end as quickly as it started. But once that relationship was over, I finally met the man I was going to marry.
Here’s why…
The moment he walked in my front door, I noticed three things. He was cute. He was funny. And he was smart. In that order. While I didn’t ask to see his bank account, I did learn that he had graduated from Cornell so I knew this one was definitely a keeper. In fact, about a year later when I took him to a nursing home to meet my grandmother, she was a bit out of it at first until I shared that my future husband met one of her most important criterions: he was Jewish. When I revealed that nugget of information, suddenly she perked up, looked at me and said: “And he’s handsome too!”
It seems like these days, women constantly beat one another up for bad decisions – whether it’s about relationships, friendships, or work/life balance. We have become a generation who casts judgement upon anyone who isn’t doing what we think is right with their lives. But you know what? After being married nearly 17 years, I have to say that Grandma Dora was right. Rich or poor, it is good to have money!
Now don’t get me wrong, we are not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination but we both work hard in our chosen careers so that we can provide for our families, send our kids to camp, go on a few nice vacations and even have a romantic date night now and again. My husband and I both have advanced degrees so we can talk about important issues in the news and politics (which can get heated since we’re on opposing sides). We also like silly movies (my family has seen “Anchorman” at least 50 times), sports (excluding football — he has to find a friend for that one) and a whole lot more.
While I didn’t attend an Ivy League school, I did graduate with high honors and received a master’s degree in journalism at New York University. I consider myself smart, funny and cute (in that order) – just like my husband.
So for those of you who are up in arms that one woman was brutally honest with college students instructing them to find the man of their dreams in their chemistry or calculus class, I say, lighten up. There certainly is no magical formula to a successful marriage but finding a soulmate is hard work. And the way to find an ideal match is to seek out someone who can connect with you on many levels — from your intellect, to your looks to your bank account.
Smart, funny, cute. That’s my piece of advice for any young woman looking to find the perfect mate. Sure an Ivy League grad is great but make sure he meets those other requirements too because it’s no fun going through life with someone who can’t crack a joke.