Broker Check

You, Your Money, and Your Mattress

July 07, 2022

You, Your Money, and Your Mattress

Have you heard of people stuffing money into mattresses? What about money floating around in a fire? The following two stories are legendary in my family and represent a few life lessons.

My grandmother’s last husband was a used car salesman. A child of the Great Depression, he did not trust banks and money remained a taboo topic of discussion in their home. When he died, my grandmother discovered little money in the bank. He had been an astute businessman and she could not believe that he would leave her destitute. She remembered that he used to make comments about how he would sleep on his money. She discovered money in his mattress, dresser, and closet. His most unique hiding place?  Ice cream sandwich boxes in the freezer.

Months after my brother moved to Charlotte, the apartment building in which he lived caught fire. Many college students lived there. My brother knew one neighbor was working as a golf caddy at the local country club and saving money to pay for tuition that coming fall. The college student said he preferred to keep his money close. As one fireman exited the burning four-story building, my brother overheard him say that money was just floating around up there. My brother remembered the golf caddy. Nearly 30 college students lived in that building, many of them on their own for the first time in their lives. None of them had renter’s insurance. Most lost everything.

These stories share common elements: money, risk, and fear. Have you heard similar legendary stories shared by family members or friends? Here are some lessons I've learned from these stories:

Managing money means taking risks. Of course, where and how you choose to keep your money is up to you. Do you have a plan for your money? When it comes to your money, what do you fear most? Are you managing your money in a way that aligns with your values and your financial goals? How are you protecting your money right now?

Find someone trustworthy with whom you can talk about your money. Have you spoken with a financial professional, attorney, or accountant about your financial situation? What is your plan for those whom you love, who survive you, in the event of your passing? Do you have your estate plan in order?

Do not risk a lot at the expense of a little. What do you have in place to protect your home? Your car? Your money? Do you have adequate insurance? Too much? Too little? Risk management is covered in the financial planning process via insurance, estate, investment, and tax planning.

Life involves taking risks. But you can manage the risks you take. Learn from family legends then pioneer your own.

Wendolyn Forbes is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™.  For more information about Wendolyn’s financial services practice, please visit her website at

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and federally registered CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.

This material is provided as a courtesy and for educational purposes only.  Please consult your investment professional, legal or tax advisor for specific information pertaining to your situation.


Originally published in the July 2022 issue of Positively Haywood. ´╗┐