What’s the best financial advice your father ever gave you? In honor of Father’s Day, Bankrate asked readers for their dads’ best money tips. We got some great advice.
When I was a teenager working my first after-school job and received my first raise, I was elated and proud of myself. I couldn’t wait to go home and tell my parents, knowing they would be proud of me. I’ll never forget telling them. My father calmly sat there and said, “That’s great. Now live like you never got it.” I was befuddled. I asked what he meant, and he said that a lot of people get raises and then live like they got a much bigger raise than they did.
He said they buy bigger houses, get a more expensive car, go on vacation, and before they know it, they’ve spent more than they actually earned and can afford. He said to always live like I never got the raise. Just stash it away. It was good, solid advice, and in today’s economy, I think we all could apply it. … That is if anyone is lucky enough these days to actually get a raise.
However, even if we don’t have a raise looming in our future, if we went back to living like we did before our last raises (or when we were first starting out) we just might be able to weather this economical storm a little better.
Thanks, Dad, for the sound advice!
Dad always said, “Count your pennies and your dollars will take care of themselves.”
— Brian G.
“Don’t pay someone to do a job for you if you have the skill to do it yourself.”
— Jimmy K.
“Save a little, spend a little; you’ll always have a little.”
— Mike D.
“Credit cards are the devil!”
— Kelly F.
“Cash is king!”
The best financial advice my father ever gave me was to save more and live with less instead of competing with the Joneses. He showed me that looks can be deceiving: Those who live like they are rich aren’t always. He advised my siblings and me to commit to the items we purchase (car, house, etc.) instead of constantly upgrading for the newest and latest.
— Sally L.
“Keep life simple and live within your means, enjoying the benefits of it.”
— Dinesh V.
— Cathy B.
My dad taught me at the age of about 11 that if you paid additional principal payments within your mortgage you will save the interest payment(s) associated with that payment. A good way to save money.
— Paul C.
“For every dollar in the stock market, have a dollar in the bank.”
“Live below your means; don’t live above your means.”
— Gina S.
“Lis, figure out how to make money 24 hours a day.”
— Lisa W.
My father’s advice for money was simple. “Know what you have, and be careful how you spend it,” Daddy would say. He was so right. I never really listened until he passed away. I knew my bailout bank had died. It was time for me to grow up and listen to him. I did, and I use his advice daily.
— Jennie H.
“If you can’t get in to it, get out of it.
If you can’t get out of it, get in to it.”
— Andrew O.
Best advice my father ever gave me was: “If you have money to invest, then invest it in open land. Price always goes up, buildings can be added or deleted from the land, but for the price of yearly taxes you’ll have an investment that will always be more valuable than what you paid for it!!”
— Mary H.
“10 percent to God, 10 percent to savings and the rest you live on.”
— Anita F.
“Son, don’t pay interest, earn it!”
— Paul G.
I will always remember it, “Don’t buy what you can’t pay for in full.”
“Don’t sneer at THRIFT, buddy!”
— Maria M.
“It’s not how much you make; it’s what you do with what you make.”
— Lance L.
“Don’t put ‘good’ money after ‘bad.'” Now that I am older, I totally understand what he was saying.
— Joyce G.
“You’ve got to spend less than you make!”
— Linda B.
The best financial advice my father ever gave me is: Be austere and save money, and when you use it to buy something, don’t waste it in things that depreciate, like cars; use it for something that gains value, like a house. When you start making money out of your investments is when you are ready to buy things you don’t need (because your tenants will be paying for it, not you). Thanks to that advice I have what I have now and live a wonderful life.
When I was 15 years old, my father caught me smoking cigarettes. He said he wished that I wouldn’t take up that habit because it was very expensive. It has been 30 years that I haven’t smoked — cigarettes were around 75 cents a pack, now they are over $2 or more.
“Spend some and save some.” I retired at 52, thanks to Dad.
When I was a kid, I remember my dad saying, “Every time you step off your property, you end up spending money. Stay home and you automatically save.”
Now that my dad is retired, he once mentioned that he checks his online credit card and bank accounts every single day. Now, my life is way too busy with kids to check my online accounts every day, but I liked the basic idea of checking in on a much more regular basis on — what I consider to be — the reality of my accounts.
— Wendy I.
“We all get paid by the hour, but it depends how much you want to get paid in that hour. Hit them books hard.”
— Jirema A.
“Save a lot more than you spend and pay in cash.” The latter part took a little more time to sink in.
— Greg J.
My father gave me so much advice about money and about life. So, how does one isolate just a single piece of information from his 80 years of wisdom on this Earth? It is hard. I have to really sum up his ACTIONS to accurately reflect the “advice” dad gave me about money. I would have to say first and foremost of his money tips was to pay cash for the things you need/want or don’t buy them. Be smart about the things you are buying. Find ways to save. Have a nest egg. Probably most importantly, have a plan. Life doesn’t have one, so we should be prepared when things do not go our way.
As I said earlier, it was dad’s actions that inspired me well beyond his words. He was a high school graduate. He and my mom raised us three kids on one salary. We never NEEDED anything. We attended the best schools and colleges. Our parents gave to charity instead of expecting handouts. They paid for everything with cash in hand. It wasn’t easy for them. It was a lot of late night and weekend work for pop. He took all of their extra money and invested smartly at each opportunity. At his passing four months ago, he and mother had assets, cash and investments valued at well over half a million dollars.
I don’t know how to really say the one definite piece of money advice from dad. Again, his examples of saving, hard work and investing were the largest factors in dad’s financial stability.
At nearly 40 years of age, I am debt-free and have approximately $150,000 in assets.
My mom and dad are my heroes.
There is a song that goes, “It’s not what you take when you leave this world behind. It’s what you leave behind you when you go.” My dad (and mom) gave me the world!
Forever grateful daughter,
— Christina M.
Father? Financial advice? Hope not. Filed bankruptcy at age of 48. No retirement.
— Karine K.
“Money doesn’t grow on trees, young lady. You’d better start saving for your future now!”
— Tami M.
My father was a great man. He served in World War II, and when he came back and married my mom, they struggled financially. He always taught me to have as little credit as possible. If I couldn’t pay cash for it, I didn’t need it, and never buy more than you could pay for and to pay my bills on time. He stressed that good credit was an essential in life. I am now 65 years old and my husband and I have perfect credit and have paid every bill we ever owed well before it was due. I was an accounting manager most of my working career. If I say so myself, if I had owned the business, I would have hired myself because I cared and couldn’t stand waste. My dad was a big influence in my life, and the lessons he taught me made me what I am today.
— Judy B.
“Don’t buy books, use the library!”
“Stay away from the stock market.” I have never been sorry.
“Use cash only.”
— Carol A.
My father, a carpenter, once said that interest on a bank account was the easiest money he ever earned, much easier than swinging a hammer all day every day. I was a teenager at the time, am now in my 60s, and have never forgotten that remark. It’s served me well for many years. Thanks Dad!
— Margie D.
“Don’t use credit cards!” Wish I listened to that!
— Bryan K.
Happy Father’s Day from Bankrate!
Have any tips from your dear old dad that you’d like to share? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.