Money Lessons From Dad

Are you looking for additional money advice? Here is valuable money advice my dad can teach you!

June 10th is the birthday of my father, plus its father’s day at the end of the week. So I figured I would introduce you to the money advice my dad can teach you, as he taught me when I was younger. My dad passed away at the age of 39 on the first of April, 2001 after a five year battle with cancer. I was only six years old at the time.

Even though it’s over 18 years ago, not a day goes by that I don’t think about my dad. I was really daddy’s girl and wanted to do EVERYTHING with him when I was younger. There are so many things that remind me of him, which I’m grateful for. I will forever remember him, he really was the best dad ever!

My dad has taught me many things, a lot of which have a relationship with money. He shaped me into the person I am today, and I am certainly a better person because of it.

I never actively thought about the things he taught me when I was younger, but I’m so glad to notice that I’ve learned so many valuable things from him.

One thing that stands out for me from that is: teaching your children financial lessons from a young age is important. I’ve learned a lot of things before I was six years old, never underestimate your kids. My dad told me about some finance related matters, but the biggest lessons are not the things he said but the things that he did.

It’s important to teach your kids about money. Let them be one step ahead of the herd. They will be able to manage their budget, understand investing, know the importance of saving money, know what they value when spending money, and know that money gives them options.

Valuable Money Advice My Dad Can Teach You

Material Things Are Not Important

The first piece of money advice my dad can teach you is: material things are not important.

My dad didn’t care much for material things. He made sure that we looked decent, but most of the time my mom would hand-make our clothes. She’s totally awesome as well, 100%!

Even though he always dressed properly, he didn’t go shopping often – if at all. He was wearing mostly the same things. I remember him wearing the same concert t-shirt all the time. The funny thing is, my mom wears them now. So they’re still used to this day.

When my sister was born and my dad got sick, we didn’t buy anything new anymore. We’ve had the same furniture for 10 years and it still looked decent, so why should we buy anything new? It was much more important to spend time together than to buy new furniture. This kind of situations always put things into perspective.

Due to that, I found that material things are not important in my life. I figure that if something is still good, you shouldn’t throw it out just because you want something new. There are many more important things in life to pay attention to.

I have adopted the same values in my life today, resulting in me starting with my minimalist tendencies. Cleaning out the things that I don’t need anymore, not buying new things that I’m not going to use, and being happy in a materialistic world.

Spend Money On Things You Value

What we did do instead of buying new things, was spend a lot of time together. My dad took permanent sick leave from his job to spend as much time as possible with our family. My sister wasn’t obliged to go to school yet, and I was ‘flexible’, which meant that we went on holiday a lot. Not really the fancy Bali holidays, instead we would just drive a few hours to Germany or Belgium and spend our time there.

Due to that, I found that it’s important to spend money on things you value. I am convinced that the things you value will change depending on the season of life you’re in. When I was in high school I valued nice clothes, so I spend money on them. Now I value traveling, so I traveled for four months after I graduated university. Currently, I am arranging an entire mini-retirement to go to Central America this September to December.

I noticed that experiences are the things that make life memorable and fun. When you spend your money so that you can have a good time, that is totally okay for me.

Simplify Your Life

Take Time To Relax

One thing that he loved to spend money on was our garden. He loved to be outside in our relatively big garden and take care of all the trees and plants. I loved to be out there with him, watering our plants with my mini watering can. We also both planted our own butterfly bush, next to each other. I was really sad when we moved out of the house a few years later and the butterfly bush got left behind.

When we were younger I would love to play in our garden with my sister. It was so green and nature-y, I can still remember exactly how our garden looked like!

I still love to be out in nature, hiking, running, biking, and soaking up the calmness and peacefulness that nature gives us. Unfortunately, I don’t have a garden of my own right now, but my dream would be to have my own vegetables and a nice big garden where I can sit and enjoy the sun.

If You Work For It – You Can Do Whatever You Want

My dad was really keen on teaching me that hard work can lead you everywhere. He studied very hard when he was younger to earn his engineering degree, and he was very proud of that. He worked hard at his day job, where he was leading an engineering department by 29. I am so proud of what he did and how he worked for it.

He taught me that I can do anything I wanted. Did I want to become a firefighter? I could do that. Did I want to become a princess? I could do that. Did I want to become a dolphin trainer? I could do that.

When I turned 13 I was having my first real job picking grapes as a farm nearby, because I wanted to have my own money. I have always pursued whatever I wanted to be or do. I knew that if I put my effort into it, I would most likely succeed.

Even today I still believe this to be true. Do I want to be financially independent? I can do that. I’m sure that I will achieve it. It doesn’t matter when or how I know that I will get there someday. Of course, I have my own plan and preferred timeline but if that doesn’t happen I’m okay with that.

Don’t Live Paycheck To Paycheck

My dad always raised me to be independent of others. He never wanted to be dependent on his boss, on his parents, on money, on anyone else for that matter. He most certainly didn’t want to be dependent on his paycheck. That’s what I learned from a very young age.

He always had an emergency fund and a good savings account. He spent less money than he earned, and he was also saving for his retirement.

When we were younger, we never had to worry about money. We would get anything that we needed (not everything that we wanted though).

This really taught me to not live paycheck to paycheck and to make a budget my way – I make sure I always pay myself first.

Negotiate Everything And Anything

When my dad got sick, it was too late for him to get life insurance. But, at his work, they would have this option of getting life insurance with an insurance company that was looking for clients. One problem: everyone needed to be medically checked. Well, if you have skin cancer it’s quite difficult to get accepted if you have to go through a health check – aka impossible. They will ask for your medical records, so he didn’t stand a chance.

What did his amazing colleagues do? They negotiated with the insurance company that if everyone in the company took the life insurance, no one would have to get checked. They agreed!

Now I think about it, that has taught me two things:

  • Negotiate everything and anything
  • Insurance is important

What I’m always doing is asking if they can make something work, the worst thing that can happen is they will say no. Whatever. That’s the sure outcome if I don’t ask!

That’s the same rationale I used when I was negotiating my salary, got my promotion, and more.

Computer And Notebook

Always Educate Yourself

My dad LOVED to read. When he was younger he read a lot for his studies and he educated himself greatly with reading. He literally read everything he could get his hands on. That’s also what I got from him. As soon as I was two years old, we would go to the library twice per week: Wednesday afternoon and Saturday. Every time I would get 10 books, and I would return most of them the next visit.

When I was 9 years old, I had already read all the books from the kids’ section. I asked if I could get books from the adult section, for which you needed permission from the librarian. Luckily I could, so I started to devour those books.

Until this day, I absolutely love reading. I read all day. Blog posts, social media posts, books, articles, magazines, short stories. I love all of it. I’m convinced that that is what has given me the head start with my finances because I got curious and decided to educate myself on it.

Reading has lead to a neverending hunger for knowledge. I want to learn more, know more, teach more. Every day I want to learn at least one thing that makes me a better person.

Partly that is why I LOVE blogging, because I will learn new things every day, which I can teach to others to make their life easier.

My Dad Taught Me To Save

Most of all, my dad taught me to save. He gave me a weekly allowance, for which I could buy whatever I wanted. In the beginning, I mostly went to the store to buy some candy. As I learned more about my allowance, I asked if I could save for something bigger. Cars to play with, Pokémon cards, or something like that.

My dad would explain to me that if I would save my weekly allowance for an X amount of weeks, I would be able to buy it. I would eagerly go into it and I would save most of my money to buy what I really wanted.

I was obsessed with counting my money, going to the bank and deposit everything that was in my piggy bank.

Value The Things You Have

One of the most important things that my dad taught me, is to value the things you have. I’m not talking about material things. I’m talking about your friends, your family, your health, your happiness, your time here.

You’re gifted with so many things to enjoy in life. Even though it doesn’t always seems like it, you have so much to be grateful for. We take a lot of things for granted, until they’re no longer there.

My dad was always very active. He was running, biking, swimming, did triathlons, and more. He always enjoyed moving and staying active. The moment he appreciated it most, was when he wasn’t longer able to do it.

Don’t wait with valuing the things you have. Life is beautiful, there are so many great things happening every second. Besides that, life is short. Pursue the things you want to pursue. Go write that book, go pursue financial independence, switch that job, take that holiday.

My dad always told me that he lived a very happy life, he was just unlucky.

What financial lessons did you learn from your dad?

This article was first published on Radical FIRE and has been republished with permission.