Money just isn’t that important…

You may or may not have noticed (probably the latter) that I was not around on this little ol’ blog of mine last week. Sadly, my grandpa passed away last Sunday morning. Having not been through the death of anyone close to me (I know, I’ve been incredibly fortunate), I wasn’t sure how to react. I was sure, however, that I needed to go back to Ohio for the funeral.

Turns out, there isn’t really a right or wrong reaction to death. No way is more correct than another. My particular brand of grieving happened to entail both tears and attempted distraction.

As you can imagine, last minute flights are not cheap. Even with a bereavement discount, flying across the country unplanned can be a huge strain to the budget for someone in debt. And I’m here to tell you something, it doesn’t matter.

In the personal finance blogosphere, people seem to have this idea that money trumps everything. That somehow, the almighty green is a priority. While it is true that money is important for food, shelter, and fun, it absolutely pales in comparison to the importance of personal relationships — including family, significant others, and friends. No amount of money could have kept me from flying back to Ohio this past week. Money will come again, but these moments will not.

So yes, if I would have needed to, I would have gone further in debt to go back home. I would have doubled the cost of my plane ticket to hug my grieving family members. I would have taken a $10,000 loan to watch my grandmother kneel down in front of her husband of 55 years’ casket. And I would have doubled my debt to hear my own dad tell his dad goodbye.

Please stop putting money in your life’s top 5. It’s number 6 for sure, but it should never trump your loved ones. If it does, you have some reevaluating to do so you don’t have any regrets.

My grandpa was a great man. He was and is well-loved and he has left behind an incredible family of strong individuals who were able to get through this past week together. In case I don’t express it enough, I am so grateful to have so many incredible people in my life. I feel very fortunate and now more than ever I am reminded to not take it for granted. I hope you do the same.

I will not be around this week either, as I head to St. Louis Wednesday. I look forward to sharing my FinCon experiences with you when I return!

Rockstar Finance


  1. Michelle A says:

    Erin, I am so sorry for your loss. My condolences to your family. That is such a true post about how money isn’t as important as personal relationships. I am glad that you are going to be able to go to the conferences. Have a good time despite the trying times with your family.

  2. I’m sorry for your loss. I would totally do the same if my grandpa died. I love him so much.

  3. I love this post! I feel the same way and put people and relationships as my priority. Life is too short and you can’t take money with you. I am glad you went to be back with your family and got to share this time with them. I am sorry for your loss and your grandpa sounds like an amazing man. We’ll be here for you, when you return!

  4. I’m so glad you were able to fly back to be with your family. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  5. I’m so sorry Erin. I will be thinking about you and your family.

  6. So sorry for your loss Erin. You’re absolutely right in that there are things that trump money. I’m glad you got to fly back to Ohio and be with your family. Looking forward to seeing you this week!

  7. Lovely writing, and such a good point, Erin. I’m still recovering from the economics of loss. But I wouldn’t have changed anything. I can’t wait to see you! Sad we’re not on the same flights. πŸ™‚

  8. So sorry to hear about your loss. You’re right – sometimes money isn’t everything. Thoughts and prayers are with you!

  9. Sorry for your loss. Money is important as long as it serves you and your family. There’s a difference between paying more money to be close to your family and squandering it for useless junk. So you can still have it in your top 5, but know when other things are indeed more important πŸ˜‰

  10. Sorry for your loss and I’m glad you did the right thing. You are completely spot on that these are (although it doesn’t seem like a positive at the time) once in a lifetime opportunities that are always worth the money.

  11. Erin, I was so glad you and Dan were able to make it! Jim was a great man, and sharing our stories about him and being with him in his final hours were a blessing.

  12. I am really sorry for your loss. Money isn’t everything.

  13. So sorry to hear about your loss. Positive thoughts for your and your family during this time.

  14. I’m so sorry about your loss. Sometimes it takes moment like these in life to understand what’s really important.

  15. My thoughts are with you. And I agree – money should never be above your loved ones. Ever. You made the right choice.

  16. “I would have taken a $10,000 loan to watch my grandmother kneel down in front of her husband of 55 years’ casket. And I would have doubled my debt to hear my own dad tell his dad goodbye.” I literally started sobbing when I read this. I’m super close to my family too and after having just spent the weekend with them I’m reminded that family really is priceless. *Hugs Erin!

  17. Sending all my thoughts πŸ™ My grandfather passed away just the other winter and it was the same thing, I cancelled all my shifts at work so I could go to the funeral and the wake and just made my family (and myself) the priority. There are definitely many more important things in the world.

  18. Sorry for your loss but you make a very important point. I think it’s so easy for folks not to come out to a funeral over cost but if you were close with the person or close with their loved one, nothing speaks better than being there for yourself or those loved ones. That is what family is all about.

  19. I’m very sorry for your loss (and I totally agree with you)

  20. I’m so sorry for your loss. My last living grandparent died when I was in the middle of a 7 month tour of Asia. Unfortunately, cost was one of the reasons I was not able to fly back for the funeral. I had said goodbye several months prior knowing it might be the last time I saw my grandpa so I was able to make peace with that.

  21. Amen! I’m sorry for your loss, and glad that you didn’t let the cost of attending the funeral stop you. Family is so much more important.

  22. As a financial planner I never thought that I would say this but money honestly isn’t that important. In my 20s I was making a six figure salary but working 70 plus hours a week and spending hours commuting to and from work. It’s just not worth it. Now I make less money but I more time to enjoy my life and I love it!!! Great post Erin.


  1. […] then, I was rocked with my first two deaths in the past four months — my grandfather and my mother-in-law. Not only did both change my life, but they changed my entire [financial] […]

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