I find it interesting to read about the way our food is produced, distributed and consumed as a society. Sometimes it is disturbing given the pathetic state of the American diet which is generally junk that is making people sick. But on a global scale how do we feed over 7 Billion people? It is also interesting to see how other cultures around the world feed themselves. What are the customs that keep them healthy and together? How is our daily food ritual directly connected to building wealth? Let’s explore beyond the basic advice of making food at home, we all know that part. The challenge in these times is time itself.
Eating wholesome tasty food is one of the true pleasures in life. Many of us in the personal finance space quickly begin to see the connections to what and how we eat to True Wealth in life. I probably feel the most wealthy and content when enjoying a wholesome delicious meal with family and friends. This is a ritual practiced in every human society. Perhaps we take it for granted or underestimate the power of the family dinner in creating wealth and contentment?
For most of human history it was difficult to consume enough calories. During the American depression it was difficult to obtain enough food. People that lived through this hardship tend to respect resources and understand the importance of preparing for lean times. Today through science, engineering and technology we have the opposite problem: Too many calories, but the nutritional quality has seemingly declined.
I enjoy reading about food issues by the author Michael Pollan and I recommend his interesting books about how our food system works. His most popular is The Omnivores Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. I recently heard him talk and he said gas stations in America make more money selling “food” than gas. How scary is that since most of that “food” is junk. Which brings me to the point of this article, build wealth wealth in your life by bringing back family dinner time together. He recently said:
The family meal is the nursery of democracy. I really do think we literally civilize our children at the table. That’s where they learn to take turns and to share and to argue.
I recall reading stories of a young Warren Buffett having extensive family dinner conversations. It seems the family dinner structure has broken down over the years and I believe this effects our wealth and education of our children. I blame technology, faster paced life, poor work life balance, poor education, etc. for the destruction of family time in general. And there is no end in site unless we take back our time. Isn’t that what FIRE is really all about, taking back more of our time, the one resource we will never get back once lost.
So perhaps there is a connection to building wealth and eating dinner as a family. Here are some wealth building benefits of eating as a family:
Time together to talk, exchange information and support each other as a family. The children observe the family working together as a cohesive team. It’s a time to decompress together from the pressures of the day and perhaps help each other either by listening or coming up with joint solutions.
2. Home made meals
Home made meals are typically less expensive to prepare. The kids can learn some valuable cooking from home instructions. This will pay off through reduced costs and education of your children.
3. True Wealth
Just the time spent together can make a person feel wealthy and blessed in life. In some ways if we feel wealthy and blessed already, we will probably be less inclined to impulse buys and decisions.
So in your quest to FIRE, make a small victory each day by taking back family dinner time. Turn off the TV, cell phones and distractions. Some things in life should remain in tact and sacred. It could add a tremendous amount of True Wealth to your life.