With Fathers’ Day approaching, your social media feeds may be filling up with dad wisdom, dad jokes, dad style, and dads holding sleeping children. Fathers and father figures have a very strong influence on a child’s education, values, and behaviors. With just a few days left before Father’s Day, you may be worrying more about what to get the dad in your life, but you should also reflect on what he taught you and how you can express that gratitude.
My dad taught me these important financial life lessons by talking to me about managing my money and modeling important behaviors:
- Work to support yourself. My father went to his job faithfully every day. He taught me the relationship between work and income, and that money for wants had to be earned. He never approached the concept grudgingly or talked about work in a negative light.
- It’s never too late to improve career and income prospects. Sensing that the job he had held for years might become phased out, my father decided to return to school. He graduated with an advanced degree as I completed 10th grade. Looking back, it is astounding to me that he managed to work all day, attend classes in the evening, and then come home to complete assignments and study. It was a financial risk to pay for the additional education, but his diligence inspired me to also obtain a new degree later in life.
- Saving money in small amounts can add up. Like many in his generation, he avoided buying new goods when used, re-used, or re-purposed items would do. He has definitely passed this trait on to me. I vividly remember the disappointment one of my kids expressed upon opening a whipped cream tub in the refrigerator and finding leftover vegetables instead!
- Maintain a work-life balance. Work ended when my dad returned home. My dad taught me softball, economics, and basic woodworking. He enjoyed biking and walking, and loved to show off his garden.
I am grateful for the money skills I was able to learn from both him and my mother, who was also an active force in educating me about finances. Kids learn most of their financial skills from their parents. To help your children develop wise money habits, try using some of these tips:
- Teach them about earning and saving for things they want. Even very young children can do simple tasks to earn money. Keep it fun, and do chores together!
- Talk about money. Take them with you on grocery trips, and show them how to compare prices and to make purchasing decisions.
- Share about both good and bad money decisions you have made. Help them to learn from both.