Parents are the first to teach us about financial management.
- Kids learn more than good manners from their parents. They also learn how to manage money.
- Spending less now can be key to having more later.
My dad has been gone for nine years this summer, but he still looms large in my life. I think of my father as I make tough decisions, measuring what I’m about to do against what I believe he would do in the same situation. And I certainly think of Dad as I navigate financial waters, hoping to emulate his wise, measured approach to money management. I may not be able to drop by his house with a Father’s Day gift this year, but I can make my father proud by remembering these five important lessons.
1. Live below your means
When I was a kid, I remember being embarrassed by my father’s frugal ways. When my grandfather gifted my parents with an old, vinyl sofa, I was sure it was a temporary placeholder until Mom and Dad could get out to Montgomery Ward or JCPenney and buy a new one. But darn if that ugly green thing didn’t sit in our living room for years. For Dad, the idea of buying a new sofa to replace a perfectly serviceable piece of furniture was financial madness.
Forget that our bottoms stuck to the vinyl on hot summer days or that standing up too quickly produced the most unfortunate sound. Dad wasn’t about to waste money on something we didn’t need.
Even after he retired from the Marine Corps and took a civilian job, my father viewed money as a tool. You could buy whatever your heart desired today, or you could put that money somewhere it would grow and help secure your future. Living below his means allowed him to accomplish his goals.
2. Think of others
Perhaps because he was a Marine, Dad focused on making sure Mom would have whatever she needed if he died. And when kids came along, he doubled down on his efforts. When Dad left for his first tour of Vietnam, he made sure there was plenty of life insurance to see us through if he did not return.
My father always dreamed of driving an Audi Fox, but he never bought one. Instead, he bought a Volkswagen with no air conditioning and no radio. Frugal and …….