First Person: The Financial Lessons My Dad Taught Me

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I never thought that my father would be the person in my life to teach me about financial do’s and don’ts.

Honestly, he may be the cheapest person I’ve ever met. I don’t mean that disrespectfully; in fact, I say it with a smile on my face. Growing up in our house I had everything I needed and some of what I wanted. Sometimes I wore hand me downs, took peanut butter sandwiches to school, and didn’t get to go to space camp or buy jeans that cost $50 (this was the 80’s and that was a lot back then). On the other hand, I had ballet lessons, a pony, and food on the table every night. It wasn’t a bad existence for a kid.

People Have Done More With Less

As a young adult, I remember feeling down and out because I had friends with new cars, great clothes, and houses that I could only dream of. My dad pulled me aside and said, “Honey, people have done more with less.” He made me realize that it isn’t so much what you have now, as what you believe you are worth. Nothing is accomplished without passion and inspiration. The simple act of believing in yourself, working for your goals, and never giving up on what you want is the key to any success in life. Financially speaking, there are limitless ways to improve your current situation with nothing more than what you have. That simple sentence taught me to never feel sorry for myself and to go for my goals; to reach success rather than dream about it.

Make the Best Out of What You Have / Make More Money

I never knew this about my dad but he left his home when he was only 15 years old with nothing but the clothes on his back. He is now close to 70 years old and owns his home, put us through college, and has a little over two million dollars in savings. One of the best lessons he ever taught me about finances is to make the best out of what you have and always look for ways to make more money. Most people work five days each week and avoid overtime when they can. My dad always made time for us but that man never passed up an opportunity to work. Even if your finances are tight at the moment you must make the best out of the situation, no matter how dismal it may seem. You will become what you think about all day… either a success or a failure. My father taught me to be thankful for what I do have in my life but to strive for more continuously.

You Don’t Have To Spend Money to Make Money / Don’t Spend Anything

A lot of people may not believe this rule. In fact, most of us believe the opposite. My dad’s philosophy is to let other people spend their money while you make more. I never understood that until I started working in sales but it makes sense now. I always thought that to make big profits you had to invest, be willing to take a loss if necessary, and play the market. Really, you simply need to be a great sales person no matter what you’re doing. There are so many ways to profit just by being an honest “people” person. Never invest when you can find investors and still profit yourself.

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