Three financial principles our fathers taught us

Happy Father's Day!

It’s June, and that means Father’s Day! 
As you know, Father’s Day is a chance to tell our dads how much we love and appreciate them.  A chance to say “thanks” for providing for us, protecting us, and teaching us – this last above all.
The older I get, the more I realize how important my dad’s lessons were in shaping my life.  Now, as a financial advisor, I also realize how important fathers can be in shaping a child’s financial future.  That’s because they’re often the first people to teach us good financial habits and principles – principles that remain with us for the rest of our lives.

So, in honor of Father’s Day, I would like to highlight:

Three Financial Principles our Fathers Taught Us
1. The importance of budgeting and saving
Did you ever plan a family vacation and see your dad sit down to budget everything from the plane tickets to the hotel to the cost of food and souvenirs?
Did you ever go to the carnival and get tempted to spend all your money on games and prizes – only for your dad to warn you that if you did, you wouldn’t have enough to go on that one ride you’d been salivating over?
Did you ever spend all summer delivering newspapers, babysitting, or mowing lawns, so you could buy those new shoes that all the cool kids were wearing? Only for your dad to insist you set the money aside for college, or your first car?
Life is a constant battle between choosing between what you want the most and what you only want right now. As a financial advisor, a big part of my job is helping clients achieve the former.
But when it comes to saving for what you want the most, there’s often no better financial advisor than a father.

2. Staying out of debt
When I was a kid, I remember asking my dad, “Why can’t we just use the credit card?” That’s when my dad sat me down and explained exactly how debt works, and how we should never buy what we can’t afford.

It’s almost impossible to achieve what you want the most if you have a lot of debt. Think of it like trying to sail in a leaky boat. No matter how much water you bail out, it will continue to sink. That’s what debt does to our finances.
Of course, it’s virtually impossible not to take on some debt, some time. But paying for college, or buying a house is a lot different than maxing out your credit card or buying a car you don’t have money for. The former is investing in your own future. The latter is robbing it.

Because fathers have so much to take care of, and so many people to be responsible for, they are often the first who teach us this crucial lesson. Which is why, for many of us, the only debt we owe is the debt we owe our dads.

A debt of gratitude.

3. When it comes to life – and finances – you get out what you put in
Sometimes in life, we all will fail a test, miss an opportunity, or get cut from the team. Sometimes, we’ll come home from school with a report card that’s less than ideal. During those times, it’s easy to think, “This is stupid, why should I bother, I hate this anyway.”

It’s during those times that dads often shine.

“All you can control in life,” the best dads often say, “is your own attitude. Your own work ethic. Your own time.” And that’s when we realize that maybe there was a reason we didn’t get the grades we were capable of. There was a reason we missed out on that job or got cut from the team. That’s when we realize that attitude determines effort, and effort determines our results.

In short, dads teach us that you only get as much out of life as you have put in.

As a financial advisor, I rely on this lesson every day. I teach people that if they want to grow their money, they have to invest their money. If they want to retire, they have to save for retirement. And the only reason I can teach it is because my dad taught me.

It’s possible, of course, that your own dad taught you vastly different lessons than the ones I’ve listed here. But whatever your dad taught you, let’s make sure we all take the time to tell our dads “Thanks.” Thanks for every lesson – about money, life, and everything.

May we continue to learn those lessons well.

On behalf of everyone at Research Financial Strategies, we wish you a Happy Father’s Day!

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Jim Streight James Streight Chief Marketing Officer