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‘No One Ever Told Us That’: One Grandfather’s Advice On Money And Life

John Spooner, at WBUR's studios (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

John Spooner, at WBUR’s studios (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

In a series of letters to his grandchildren — collected in his new book, “No One Ever Told Us That” – Boston-based author and financial advisor John Spooner shares his essential lessons about  life, money, investing and the quest for financial security.

His wisdom ranges from “Fear and greed rule the markets”  and “Debt can be killer” to “The unusual aspects of your lives can open doors” and “Never be intimidated by people with graduate degrees.”



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  • midtempo

    My piece of advice as a 34-year-old: Attend a community college for your first two years and worry about your ultimate college later when you have a better idea of what you want you do.  You will save a lot of money as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joel.smash JOel Smash

    I love that this guy tried to spin the fact that most Americans won’t be able to retire at 65 as a positive thing. Because “you wouldn’t be surrounded by life”. Seriously? Just because you’d be bored stiff without a job doesn’t mean that’s true for everyone else. After all, who would want to spend their time plundering the world’s infinite depth and richness when that could take a backseat to working a job you hate because you can’t afford to retire? I know I’d rather be “surrounded by life” working at CVS in my late 60s instead of spending the little life I have left pursuing my interests. But I guess this is to be expected from a guy who made his money off playing the stock market. Truly the common man’s life path.

    • J__o__h__n

      And don’t forget his mentor Sandy Weill’s role in wrecking the economy.

  • Frank

    This discussion enraged me so much I nearly drove off I-290 is Worcester– geographically fitting considering this Spooner gentleman probably has no grounded grasp of the everyday struggles of the hard-working working-class in Worcester. I have much to say, and much to write, but this will suffice: when he mentioned that all these big U.S.-based multinational corporations are just “sitting” on billions of dollars–billions they’re stashing for themselves because the Wall St. corporate structure of downsizing its workforce and forcing (not eliciting) “greater productivity” out of fewer workers for the same amount of pay–because they are uncertain about future tax policies, well that just did me in. That’s exactly what’s wrong with the U.S. economy: we the workers–the overworked, highly productive workers working for the same wages as workers of the 1970s–are working while the corporate gluttons literally sit, and watch, and hold our economy and livelihoods hostage. They still haven’t met justice for preying on homeowners–their actions which caused the housing bubble, burst, and recession. Anthony Brooks asked Spooner why these corporations haven’t invested. The better question is why we haven’t taken them down and demanded back the wealth that we, the workers, redistributed to them. I refuse to have my livelihood held hostage by Spooner, and his ilk of overpaid, overly lauded, lazy “authors” and “financial advisors” who continue to defend the greed and injustices of corporate power. Radio Boston, whose journalism I otherwise appreciate and enjoy, utterly failed to hold him accountable. It’s just not OK anymore. Radio Back Bay, not Radio Boston. Radio Beacon Hill, not Radio Boston. Apparently,  “no one ever told” Mr. Spooner that you build from the ground up. Invest in the people and our power. He missed the most important lessons of his generation.

    • Glenn

      I recently read his book
      and my impression is that neither Mr. Spooner nor his grandchildren
      live in the same world as the average American.

  • J__o__h__n

    Why is this member of the monetary elite trying to shift resentment to people with graduate degrees? 

  • Jplace1041formerly(Neaq)

    Mr Spooner is a very special writer.
    (Read him in The Improper Bostonian.)
    You will not be disappointed.

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