Monday, June 16, 2014

My first Father’s Day without my father

A person who probably had a significant impact on your financial attitudes and outlook is your father.  If he was a part of your life, your dad likely played a major role in molding your views of the world, including finances.  He may have taught you directly or perhaps you learned indirectly, by following his example.

Just as with family values, financial values tend to be passed along. Dads have an inherent knack for teaching the importance of money, how to save it and how to spend it. 

For example, at one time or another, most of us heard our father say, “We can’t afford it.”  Whether it was the hard truth or just a teaching moment, it helped us learn the value of money.
Many fathers of the World War II generation never attended college.  But how many stories have you heard about dads who worked countless hours in order to save money to send their sons or daughters to college.  No sacrifice was too great for them to provide their children with the education they never had.

Think about it.  During the course of growing up, wasn’t it your dad’s views on money and finances that helped mold yours?  As a financial advisor, I believe the father’s role in teaching the kids finances is seldom discussed.  But it should be.

I was blessed with a dad that played a huge role in my life.  And I feel fortunate just for that, let alone all he taught me.  My father recently passed away, but I continue to carry his wisdom with me every day.

I know the world has changed significantly since my formative years. I’m aware the traditional role of the father has diminished.  But now that my father is gone, it’s become apparent to me that a positive father’s role is more important now than ever, and not just for teaching pocketbook issues.

Don’t misunderstand. I’m not diminishing the importance of other influences in life, particularly mothers, teachers and peers.  But sometimes I think society does minimize the importance of being a good father.

Keeping it personal, I’ve reached the stage in life where I’m attending a lot of weddings, most recently those of my niece and middle son.  It’s very rewarding to see young adults launch their lives together.

Yet I have little doubt that these young adults will have to deal with important financial issues in the years ahead.  There will be a lot of questions.  They may be about purchasing a first home, or refinancing a mortgage, or perhaps about establishing a child’s college fund or saving for retirement.  But there most certainly will be questions.

I’m hopeful that they’ll turn to dad to help with the answers, and equally hopeful that every dad out there can be as helpful to your kids as your dad was for you.

I may be biased, but I believe a good father can and should help his children with a lot of issues, including financially related ones.

I miss my father, and I will never forget him.  I urge everyone to take a moment, in thought or in person,  to thank your dad for all he’s done for you.  And I wish every dad a Happy Father’s Day.

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