Happy Father’s Day, all! I thought I’d take a minute today to honor my dad, AKA my teacher, financial advisor, landlord, mechanic, plumber, electrician, locksmith, tech support, reality checker, cheerleader, problem solver, mover of heavy things…. I could keep going but I’ll stop.
Throughout my life, my dad has always been the person I go to when something is wrong or broken (which, unfortunately, has been way more often than I’d like). Despite the fact that we rival each other for the title of Most Stubborn Human Alive, we have always managed to be close, in a “let’s not get emotional because that would be weird” kind of way. I’m thankful every day that my dad is here for me to rely on, though I’m also thankful that I’m learning to rely on him less.
While I haven’t always been ready to listen to my dad’s words of wisdom at the time he offered them, I’ve finally figured out that he’s almost always right. If I had been smart enough to follow his example in the first place, most of my struggles in adulthood (financial and otherwise) would have been eliminated. I always want him to know that I’ve been paying attention, even when my actions have said otherwise.
Here are just a few of the things my dad has taught me about money and about life.
1. Cash is king. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard this, I could probably retire. But it’s just the truth. When you have money in the bank, you have more choices. When you don’t, all the choices suck. There will never be a time that you’ll think, Gosh, I wish I hadn’t saved up all this money!
2. Fear is usually pointless. You can worry about something all you want, but in the end, there are only two outcomes: It either happens or it doesn’t. The best thing to do is plan for either scenario and live your life.
3. Knowledge is power… “You can work with your brain, or you can work with your back.” I remember deciding as a young child that I never wanted to depend on my ability to do physical work, both because I’m kind of puny and because using my brain just sounds better. I will do as much research as it takes to solve problems and figure out new ways to accomplish my goals.
4. …But you need skills to go with it. Just knowing stuff isn’t enough to succeed. You need to put that knowledge to work in a way that allows you to earn a living and be fairly happy with what you do. Only since I looked beyond what I know and figured out what I could do has my self-employment experiment felt even remotely like a success.
5. No one cares about your life as much as you do. Obviously we are an interdependent species, but it’s smart to function as independently as possible. Use every opportunity to gain knowledge that will benefit you later in life. Because no matter how many friends you have, none of them are going to put themselves and their happiness at risk – it’s up to you to make things happen. And the people you depend on may not be here tomorrow.
Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe that my dad isn’t still in his thirties and that he won’t always be here to guide and help me. For today, though, I look forward to celebrating my dad’s influence on my life and letting him know that his wisdom isn’t falling on deaf ears.
Do you get to spend time with your father today? What wisdom have you gained from him?