What my Father Taught me About Money
My father has taught me a lot about life and how to be an adult and I’ve always made sure to remember all the small suggestions he’s made to me throughout my life, especially when it comes to money. He’s always had a wise and indirect way of teaching me about money, which often came in the form of very cheesy but clever one-liners. And while I may have not always appreciated them in the moment, now I can really see that he’s greatly influenced the way I treat my finances. Here are the top 10 lessons my dad has taught me about money.
Ask your father (or mother) these 10 financial questions.
Know Your Worth
It’s very important to my dad that I know how valuable I am, to companies and to people. If you’re working a job and know you’re not being paid appropriately, he would say you should demand and expect proper compensation for the work you do. This is because if you don’t recognize how valuable you are to a company, then neither will they. You should recognize how valuable you are to companies and make sure you’re treated properly. Not letting people take advantage of you or your finances and getting paid suitably is part of knowing how valuable you are. Not only will this increase your confidence and self-worth, you will also make more money.
Focus on Your Dreams and Goals
Whether this means writing out your goals on a piece of paper or printing a picture of your dream car or vacation, make your goals visual and focus on achieving them. My father always said without the discipline and steady commitment towards conquering your dreams, they may not happen. If you want dreams to become a reality, my dad always told me there is no short cut, and that you always need to put in the work to achieve what you want. No one will make your financial goals happen but you, so stop being lazy and work until you’ve achieved what you set to.
This includes spending money wisely and prudently when making purchasing decisions. Whenever I was in a situation where I needed to buy something, my dad would always tell me to sleep on it and ask myself, do I really need it? Whether that was because he wanted to see if we found a cheaper option, or he just wanted to make sure the item was worth the price, my dad always told me to spend my money carefully. This implies counting your dollars and know how much money you’re spending on a weekly to monthly basis. Living with a budget like this will help you save money and feel better about your finances because you won’t be stressed out thinking about how much your overspending. Remember, buying what you want is different that buying what you need.
It’s Okay to be Wrong, but it’s Not Okay to Stay Wrong
This is something my father has always told me. But, it’s not just about money. This applies to almost everything in life. With regards to money, if you’ve realized you made a purchase you can’t afford or keep spending your money on valueless items, it’s okay to forgive yourself. However, you can’t keep making the same mistakes over and over again. Being wrong it okay, we’re human and we make mistakes. But after you’ve recognized you made a mistake, there is no excuse for repeating the same behaviors. If you’re struggling with overspending and keep wasting your money, make a decision and change your ways.
Be on Top of Your Finances
For my father, it’s always important to be organized and know where you stand financially. Whether it’s positive or negative, my dad always stressed that it was important for me to be honest with myself and be aware of my financial situation. Good or bad, you need to know where you are to get to where you want to go. Being realistic and coming to terms with reality is the first step to improving your financial situation and reaching your goals.
Whenever I had an exam, my dad would always tell me to aim for a higher grade than I originally wanted. This is because he knew that if I set a lower goal and didn’t achieve it, I would be very disappointed. But, if I set a high goal and worked harder to achieve it, that I wouldn’t be as disappointed even if I feel a little short. In financial terms, setting goals is important. But don’t set small goals; aim higher so that if you don’t quite reach your goal, you’ll still be left with what you wanted in the first place. Undeniably, your goals need to be realistic, but it’s better to aim high than low.
Learn how to live in the present while saving for the future.
Set Short-Term and Long-Term Goals
Most of the time, people make long-term goals. Examples include paying your children’s college tuition, saving up for retirement and possibly buying a country house to live in after you retire. Even though these goals are essential, my dad always stressed that it’s just as important to make and achieve smaller goals along the way. While this will give you confidence and even more motivation to work harder in order to reach your long-term goals, it will help make you feel as if you’re achieving something. When a baby starts to crawl, they start with baby steps and eventually end up walking and running. Similarly, setting small goals is like taking baby steps, as those small goals lead you to your larger goals.
If it’s too Good to be True, it Probably is
When your phone rings and you hear that you’ve won a free trip to Hawaii from the voice on the line, is this too good to be true? It most definitely is, which means it’s probably untrue. My dad is a realistic man and most of the things he says may come off as a bit negative or harsh, but that’s because reality is harsh. It’s important to stay in tune with reality and beware of people trying to take advantage of you, both financially and otherwise. Just remember if something sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. Be realistic, be smart, and play it safe.
Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket
This was originally my father’s advice when we would talk about my friends and our conflicts, but it can be applied financially as well. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket meaning don’t risk everything you have, on one single idea. Don’t invest all your money in one stock, split it up into different stocks to reduce your risk of losing. When I travel, my dad warns me not to keep all my money with me at all times because it could be lost or stolen. If I divide my money up in different places, again I decrease the likelihood of losing more money. The basic idea behind this phrase is that you shouldn’t bet everything you have on one opportunity because odds are you will lose more than if you divide your money towards different opportunities.
Use Your Noodle
This is my all time favorite lesson my father taught me. Use your noodle essentially means using your brain. My dad always told me I couldn’t afford to make stupid mistakes because it’s such a waste. This includes things like losing personal belongings or items that are expensive to replace, like cell phones, or accidentally dropping cash out of your wallet. The idea behind this saying is you should always be thinking logically when making decisions. If something seems risky or fishy, don’t partake in it. It’s important to be attentive and aware of your surroundings. Use your brain and don’t let emotions take over your thought process because when dealing with money, you should be thinking with your brain, not your feelings.
P.S. Want to know what my mom has taught me about loving and saving my money? You can check out the article I wrote here.