For Father's Day, we spoke to experts in the field of finance to learn how their dads shaped their financial future.
Getting lessons about money as a child is integral to being fiscally responsible as an adult. Research shows that teaching kids about money from a young age can have a huge impact later in life.
In honor of Father’s Day, we spoke to 16 experts in the world of finance to learn how the financial lessons they learned from their fathers shaped their philosophies about money. From saving money to managing money and everything in between.
1. Mark Chen, Founder and CEO – BillSmart
I am the son of a proud immigrant father.
The most valuable financial lessons I learned from my father was to be curious. When I was a kid, I remember he would always be reading companies’ financial reports and driving around the country to participate in credit union demutualization.
By being curious and doing your homework, you can make killer returns that can shave decades on how long you need to work for retirement.
2. Darren Colananni, Wealth Management Advisor – Centurion Wealth Management
One thing that I always learned from my dad was to pay everything with your credit card to help build your credit. He also stressed that you pay off the full balance each month to avoid paying the high interest rates that credit cards carry.
Even more importantly, my dad always taught me the importance of saving and investing. I remember at an early age going to the bank with my dad, opening a savings account, and depositing money anytime I got money from a birthday, Christmas, etc. As I got older, he taught me to start investing my money to have it grow over time. He helped me get started on the right foot and as a father to a daughter, I hope to instill sound financial lessons she can use over time.
3. Anthony Martin, Founder and CEO – Choice Mutual
My father taught me that small savings can add up quickly. When I was younger and earning an entry-level salary with a hefty student debt load under my belt, I became tempted to forego savings.
It felt futile to toss $50 a month into an investment account when I owed thousands in student loans.
My father convinced me that even small efforts added up, showing me the value of compounding earnings when you start investing in your early 20s, rather than your 30s.
Those dollars back then have already turned into thousands and the habits I built have helped me increase my investments easily as my income increased.
4. Shawn Plummer, CEO – The Annuity Expert
My favorite fatherly lesson about money is this: $1000 is a lot of money to spend, but not a lot of money to have. That really puts so much into perspective when it comes to personal finances.
Before you decide to part with $1000 (or any large sum) you really need to think and think again. It’s not about “Can I get this cheaper somewhere else?”, you also have to consider how what you’re about to buy increases overall value or earning power.
For example, $1000 to replace a broken dishwasher saves you and your family time by automating a lot of the weekly cleaning. If you go without it then it’ll take extra hours to clean your dishes as effectively. It’s an investment – the money pays for itself, over time.
That’s not to say you can’t spend on wants rather than needs, but you have to consider whether, say, a collection of Pokémon cards is really worth your money. Sure, it’s a nostalgia rush, but is it worth the money?
In contrast, simply having $1000 isn’t going to get you very far. As an emergency fund, it’s barely enough to survive a major expense. $1000 is less than 1/5th of what you can put into a retirement account each year. And if it’s just sitting in your checking account, you’re losing value to inflation.
Keeping this adage in mind really gives you a good perspective on spending and saving and making your money work for you.
5. Jordan Grumet, Author of Taking Stock – Earn & Invest
My father died unexpectedly when I was seven years old. The life insurance policy he bought for just this type of circumstance was lifesaving and paved the way towards my whole family’s financial well-being and success. You can’t foretell the future, but you can insure it.
A few years later my mother remarried. My stepfather also modeled great financial habits. From an early age, I remember him preaching about the importance of disability insurance. He told us to be sure to have your own policy. He warned that many plan for their unexpected death but forget to consider how they will make money if they can’t work. Years later when my mother suffered a stroke and could no longer work, we were all glad she had an income replacement policy.
6. Michael Taylor, Founder – Shifting Shares
One of the most important things my father taught me is that there is no “free lunch”. I really learned to appreciate this lesson by watching his example with his financial pursuits. He was always a hard worker and didn’t believe in shortcuts.
My dad was a tinkerer and spent a lot of time failing at creating the perfect product. He told me that failure was an opportunity to learn and I have certainly applied those principles in the financial world. You can’t be afraid to fail, and you can’t be afraid to try again.
I have been able to use these lessons about money from my dad to develop successful habits with money. It was these lessons that allowed me to pick myself up after blowing my entire bank account early on in my trading career. I eventually started a business to help others with the same financial lessons.
7. Melanie Hanson, Editor in Chief – EDI Refinance
My mom always encouraged me to go to college. It’s not an exaggeration to say that I owe my education and career to her support and example. But it was always my father that pushed me to think about my financial situation in clear, objective, rational terms and plan for the future. Without him I would have graduated in much worse financial shape and fail to save for a car and a home as quickly and effectively as I did.
His core lessons about money were always the incredible power of compound interest, and how it impacts every financial choice we make. It’s a lesson I’ve taken to heart and built a career around.
8. Baruch Silvermann, Personal Finance Expert and CEO – The Smart Investor
The best money advice my father gave me was to be very conscious about borrowing money. He told me to avoid relying on credit cards and to only use a card if I could clear my balance within a month or two.
While my father appreciated that in the modern world, it can be tricky to pay for everything outright from savings, he would say to only consider borrowing money if I had a clear plan to repay it with the minimal interest and charges.
However, my father was quick to point out that the sooner I could get a mortgage and buy my own home, the better. I went straight from living at home with him to buying my own home, which meant that while my peers were spending increasing amounts on rent, I was working on paying down my mortgage.
This has helped me to be more aware of long-term financial planning.
9. Dominic Harper, Founder – Debt Bombshell
The financial lessons that I’ve learned from my father have made me into the person I am today.
My father begged to differ that 9-5 career opportunities where we are all headed. He believed that money can work on its own, for his benefit. Investing in financial instruments, real estate properties or businesses can give you ample cash flows and start turning your ambitions into milestones.
In life, time is of the essence. It’s one of the resources that is priceless – once it’s passed by, you can never take it back no matter the sum of money.
Hence, the importance of focusing your time and energy on chasing the right things. In this way, at the end of the day, you’ll have nothing else with you but satisfaction and pride for making the most out of your moment.
10. Jake Hill, CEO – DebtHammer
One of the best pieces of financial advice that I received was to place getting out of loans as my #1 priority.
In my twenties I had over $100K in student loans, thousands in medical debt and thousands more in credit card debt. But, with the advice I received, I knew that if I didn’t purposely make a strong effort to get out of debt as fast as possible, my debt would hold me back for years, even decades.
I was able to get out of debt successfully and being in that situation, I became passionate about helping others learn the importance of, and how to, get out of debt.
11. Jacqueline Gilchrist, Founder – Mom Money Map
My father used to be very wealthy. When I was in high school, he had a gambling problem and ended up losing his business, our house and eventually, his marriage.
The most valuable piece of money advice my father taught me is how it doesn’t matter how much money you have. What matters is how you manage it.
It’s okay to take risks, don’t throw good money after bad money and know when to cut your losses.
12. Vishesh Raisinghani, Financial Expert – Piggybank
At a young age, my father already taught me the importance of budgeting by letting me handle it firsthand. For a time, he would give me a certain amount of money as an allowance for a whole month of school.
The first time he did this, I got so excited with the large sums of money that I eagerly spent it on toys, only to end up not being able to buy the snacks I wanted for school. When I asked my father for more money, that was when he talked to me about how I should be more mindful of budgeting and gave me a guide on how to start.
From then on, I became more careful when purchasing things and always made sure that I had enough money for my necessities. It also taught me to live within my means and to save more if I do need to make a big purchase. My father was able to instill in me some of the most important financial habits I still bring with me today.
13. Sharon Dylan, Co-Founder, Financial Analyst, and Head of Finance Department – Management Help
Invest in yourself.
My father believed that working in a single company with only one source of income is never the key to enjoying a financially stable lifestyle. He taught me how to invest in myself and hone my skills, so I have different things to offer and earn from them at the same time. One of the ways he pushed me was enrolling me in different classes that enhanced my latent skills.
14. Forrest McCall, Owner, Blogger, Marketer, and Everything Else – Don’t Work Another Day
Cash is fact. When speaking with my father about my finances, I debated with him about how I didn’t have a large surplus of cash, but I had a very lucrative cash flow from my several income streams. Because he has firsthand experience with several financial crises, he was able to articulate how important having cash in the bank is.
He made me aware that even though I have several income streams, there’s always the chance of an emergency and liquidating assets can be a dangerous predicament to be in.
This has stuck with me and now I always try to have an emergency fund that is well established.
15. Matt Carter, Business Law Attorney – Inc and Go
As a young attorney, one of my earliest mentors/father-figures helped me not only with getting my feet wet but also with my financial planning. He helped me by berating me into investing into a 401(k). He explained how, because the money was pre-tax, not investing it was essentially throwing away free money that I would otherwise be paying in taxes.
I took his advice, and almost 20 years later I have several very large retirement accounts, including the original 401(k).
I think that this kind of advice is important because it teaches young people to do something they don’t like to do: plan for the future. When I was 25, I didn’t think about retirement at all.
But it would eventually, and I am so thankful that I had someone to force me to think about it and start saving.
16. Dave Anderson, Founder – BMOGAM Viewpoints
My father told me over and over to be like a squirrel. It was simple but powerful advice that I still use to this day.
Dad told me to go out and produce more than I spend, and to save or squirrel away the difference, and that’s what I did.
I’ve spent a career helping other people manage their money. I basically made a career helping people to do what my father told me to years ago.
If you need to get out of debt so you can start saving, we can help you find solutions.
Published by Debt.com, LLC