It’s Father’s day weekend!
A time that we take to thank the Fathers in our lives for the love, support, and dedication they’ve given to helping us become the people we are.
Even now, I still give my father a call and ask him for advice, because … well… you’re never too old to ask those around you for their insights. And while I’m thinking about the advice I’ve gotten over the 3 and 1/2 decades of my life, here are some of the best money advice I’ve received from my dad.
1. When spending your money, everything should be like Burger King
When I was about 12, my dad took my sister and me to Burger King.
We placed our orders in the drive-through window, made our way around the line and when we got to the last window to pay and pick up our food, the drink order was wrong – the meal came with Orange juice and we wanted Sprite instead.
He asked them to change it, and they – in a less than respectful way – refused.
They argued that the meal came with Orange juice and they wouldn’t change it.
My father took back his card. Gave them back their food and drove away.
We didn’t pay, we didn’t get the food.
My dad refused to spend his hard earn dollars for something he didn’t want. Especially something so simple that the providers refused to supply.
It might sound trivial, but it’s a valuable lesson that all people, women especially need to learn.
Sure, there are guidelines you will have to concede to – like the laws of physics, country/state, the policies of a company, etc but your provider doesn’t dictate to you what they will do. You decide what you want and if the company can’t oblige then find someone else.
And you definitely don’t pay people to disrespect you.
When you agree to pay for a service you should ‘have it your way’ … like at BurgerKing (get it 🙂 … yes I’m a nerd lol)
2. We must be wise with money
I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m a bleeding heart – you can blame my peacemaker desire to have everyone around me happy and comfortable. And it’s caused me to sometimes be the target of scammers who gave a ‘poor thing story’ because they could sense I wanted to help.
Whenever I had a money decision I wasn’t sure about, he would always quote Ephesians 5:15
“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise”
He was trying to teach me the importance of being smart with money
– not throwing away good money for bad,
– being generous but not giving away all your money which will leave you broke
– making educated financial decisions, not just based on emotions
Ultimately, it’s a beautiful thing to want to help and bless others with the blessings that you have received, but it’s also important to the smart about it and be good stewards of the blessings.
That’s even where the name for this company came from 🙂
3. A part of any dollar, you make should be spent on making you/your family happy
My dad is huge on experiences.
He always believed that of any money you have you should set funds aside to ‘treat yourself and your family’. Even if you have savings goals, debt pay off goals, whatever it is, put the majority of the money towards the goals, but definitely keep set some aside from your enjoyment – big or small.
The bills will always be there, but the chance to build lasting memories with your family (and friends) might not always be there.
He taught me that it’s ‘okay’ to spend money on yourself even if you have big goals you are trying to meet because it’s necessary to rejuvenate, restore and reset your energy.
If you aren’t enjoying your money then what are you working for anyway?
4. Help yourself first before helping others
When I first started being a landlord, all I wanted to do was to help people in lower-income areas have access to affordable homes with amazing amenities.
In fact, my dream was to buy a row of homes in a neighborhood, and add a career center, affordable daycare, and a park so that women/families getting back on their feet – homeless families, women recovering from domestic abuse etc. could have a stable supportive environment before transitioning back into the ‘real world’
I had big dreams. I still have big dreams.
But these dreams – especially providing them at an affordable cost to those who need it the most – requires money.
Lots of money.
So before I can do any of that, then I need to get myself together first. My dad helped me understand that delaying the dream wasn’t a failure, it was fortifying myself so I can help as much as possible … without fear of negatively impacting myself or my family.
You can’t help someone from drowning if your in the water and can’t swim either.
5. Always be able to pay for yourself
This one I learned from my mom and my dad in different ways. My dad taught me to always make sure I brought enough money anywhere I went that I would be able to sustain myself and find my way back home.
He never allowed us to go to a friend’s house, school function, or anywhere without sufficient pocket money buy food or pay for activities ourselves without having to rely on others.
Now as an adult, I live by the same rule. I always have my cell phone, and my purse without my emergency credit card so that if I’m ever in a jam, I can always call for help, call a cab or tow truck and find my way back home.
You can’t beat the confidence that comes with knowing you are independent and can leave any situation that is no longer serving you.
6. If you don’t have enough then do without.
My dad has always been huge on being independent (see lesson #4 above). He taught us not to want what other people had, and if we couldn’t afford to buy it for ourselves, then we should learn to live without it.
In essence, he was trying to teach us to live within our means, and not be jealous of what other people had.
We saw him live that lesson when he gave us the last dollars from his wallet for our lunch money.
While this is a blessing to have learned for sure, I wish that we had learned from an early age that if there was something we wanted, then we should think of ways that we can earn money to afford it.
So instead of saying ‘I can’t afford this so I’ll do without’, it would have been great to learn earlier ‘what can I do to have the money to afford this?’
Changing my money language is something I had to learn myself later in life, but I appreciate the lesson.
We learn a lot about money from our parents
At the end of the day, my dad taught me a lot about money.
He was by no means perfect.
Actually, he made lots of mistakes.
But that’s part of the beauty of personal finance. You can teach your kids good money skills even if you aren’t the best at it.
So this father’s day weekend I’m telling my dad thank you for all the lessons he’s taught me, and for the mistakes, he made that I could learn from.
And I hope you can do the same!