Most of what we learn about finances is taught to us by our parents. Even as adults their advice, habits, and attitudes when it comes to money still shape our view and behaviors, sometimes more than we’d like to admit. Here on Father’s Day, it’s worth taking a look back at the lessons your father may have taught you growing up, and reflect on how they can help you achieve and maintain financial stability.
Normally when people say this they mean that you should place more value on other aspects of life, like family, community and experiences. While this is sound advice, when dad said it, he meant that keeping your finances healthy in the long-term is about more than just your income.
Spending is just as important as earning, and can actually be more important in some cases: after all, there’s a practical upper limit in terms of earning potential for most of us, while there’s no such tangible equivalent when it comes to spending. With the advent of credit cards, you won’t hit the ceiling on spending until it’s too late and you’re on your way to bankruptcy.
Following the point above, investing is another integral part of a successful financial plan. While a paycheck is a more immediate form of financial gratification, investing wisely and consistently can bring great returns later in life. The same way many of our dads had us save in a piggy bank, as adults it’s important to invest in our savings, retirement, and other types of investments.
There’s a right way and a wrong way to use loans, and in many cases the right way is to simply not use them at all. Think back to being a kid - how often did you take out a loan? Probably never, and there’s a good reason for that. Our fathers knew that we needed to learn to live within our means.
That being said, there are times when taking out a personal loan or auto title loan is the right strategic decision. Your father may have used them more than you realize to keep your family’s finances above water and to bridge the gap between paychecks in tough financial times.
No doubt as a kid you remember your father grumbling and laboring over the family’s taxes. But you know what? No matter how much he may have complained about them to your mom, he got them done on time. Maybe that meant using a tax prep company , or maybe he just struggled through them on his own. But either way, he understood the importance getting them done, and as an adult you should follow his example.
The final lesson your dad probably taught you is how important it is to teach and guide your own children in handling their finances correctly. A little guidance from a parent to a child can mean a lifetime of good decision and financial security. So, this Father’s Day, think about telling your dad thanks, and don’t forget to pass on what he taught you to your children.