While I was going through my safety deposit box, I looked through all the gold I have. It's not much (please don't rob me): a few coins, some jewelry. It's all 24 karat. The reason why is because all my gold comes from my parents. Now, a lot of Asians are obsessed with 24k gold, but my parents are war survivors.
For those of you without Asian parents, gold comes in a variety of purities. 24k gold is the most pure gold available. My parents have never bought anything 14k, with the explanation that it is worthless, fake. And to understand why, you should understand that my parents lived through war. My friends talk about their parents growing up in post-war America, in suburbs or on farms. My parents grew up in a war zone. My parents' stories of their youth involve starving and refugee camps and bombs and explosions.
And so my parents have an acute awareness of the value of things. Paper money is only paper. Credit cards are just plastic. Banks are only buildings. But a can of spam can feed a family for a week, and gold is always valuable. No matter where you are in the world, no matter what the circumstances, someone always is willing to trade for gold.
And it seems strange to me that other people don't grow up with this kind of wisdom. Sometimes, I wonder how much of what I do is influenced by tidbits of knowledge like this.