5 Things My Dad Taught Me About Money

June 18, 2012

I’ve been struggling to write much about my personal finances lately, with everything else that’s been going on. But with yesterday being Father’s Day, I figured there was no better way to start this week off than to tell you about the person whom I’ve had more conversations about money with than anyone else: my dad.

My dad is the person who cutout articles about TFSAs for me when they first came out, encouraged me to contribute to my RRSPs, and emailed me at work to tell me Dave Chilton was becoming the newest dragon on Dragon’s Den. And today I’d like to share five of the many things he has taught me about money.

1. You Have to Work
When I was in high school, I hated my job and wanted to quit. “Do you want to keep driving your car? Well, then you need a job.” Towards the end of college, I wanted to quit my job again. “Do you like having a cell phone? Well, then you have to work.” Needless to say, I’ve been employed since I was 15 years old. (And I’m thankful he never let me quit.)

2. Please Pay Attention
I have vivid memories of flipping through my old magazines and finding chunks of paragraphs highlighted yellow. Or coming home from school or work to a fridge covered in cutout newspaper articles. Why? My dad had gone through them and highlighted or cutout anything he wanted me to pay attention to; this often related to personal finance or the economy.

3. Do Talk to Strangers
Ok, not strangers exactly. But my dad always encouraged me to talk to financial advisors. I saw the relationship him and my mom had with their bankers, due to the multiple visits they made each year. So I mimicked that behaviour and now have great relationships with both my investment girl and (future) mortgage guy.

4. Save (at Least) 10% of Your Income
Ok, so I’m still not quite at 10%. But I do expect to be in the 10-20% range soon. I recently made a big decision and I know he will probably be happy to hear (/read) that I finally want to start saving for a down payment. It’ll take a few years but I’m ready to make a savings plan… and stick to it!

5. Let’s Talk About It
Plain and simple, the best lesson my dad taught me about money was to talk about it. Finances, both personally and economically speaking, have been a part of breakfast, lunch, dinner and tea conversations, for as long as I can remember. No topic is off limits and everything is up for discussion. This is probably the biggest reason I was scared to tell him about my former debts but is also a huge reason as to why I became a personal finance blogger. And look at all the opportunities that has given me.

Thanks, Dad! And Happy Father’s Day.

  • Canadianbudgetbinder June 18, 2012 at 4:32 am

    Hi Cait,
    Your father is a smart man for teaching you about money and finance early on in life. My parents did the same and I’m thankful for it every day. There’s nothing better than waking up knowing you understand the general idea around budgeting, savings and finance. I say general because I am not an advisor simply a guy who knows money doesn’t grow on trees and does not like owing people money.

    When your dad used to put the newspaper cut outs on the refrigerator did you read every one of them? Would you do the same if he emailed you articles? I only ask as with the internet I could see that becoming the norm. I know I send my sisters emails of articles I think would benefit them. I know if we have children they will learn about money and it’s value early in life as I’m certainly not relying on the education system to include it in their studies any time soon. We have to look out for our own. I’m sure you will you do the same when you have children.
    Thanks for sharing this post about Dad!
    Cheers Cait,

    • Cait June 21, 2012 at 10:27 pm

      Good question. As a teenager, I got mad when he would “ruin” my magazines, etc. with his highlighting… but I do read whatever he puts in front of me, now. He doesn’t email me often but, as I said, the last time he did it was re: Dave Chilton being on Dragon’s Den. How could I ignore that? I do plan on doing similar things with my future children and have dreamt up some other fun ways to teach kids about allowances, etc. also. Can’t say I’d be very interested in any of it, without my dad’s interest. Thanks for your comment!

  • Michelle June 18, 2012 at 5:26 am

    Your dad sounds smart! Mine taught me similar things. I’m good with my money because of him.

    • Cait June 21, 2012 at 10:27 pm

      That’s awesome :)

  • Laura Kumin (@MotherWouldKnow) June 18, 2012 at 7:19 am

    Your dad sounds like a smart (and lovely) guy. And he raised a daughter he can be proud of :)

    • Cait June 21, 2012 at 10:28 pm

      Aww, thank you Laura. <3

  • Jordann @ My Alternate Life June 18, 2012 at 8:24 am

    It sounds like you had a great role model! I think you’ve out lined all of the things I’d like to teach my future children about money, especially the “You have to work for it” since there seem to be more and more people these days who don’t share that sentiment.

    • Cait June 21, 2012 at 10:29 pm

      Agreed. I will definitely force my kids to start working at 15, like I did. Earning a paycheque teaches you so much about yourself, not just your finances.

  • shopping2saving June 18, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Your dad sounds wonderful, and taught you so much more about finances than mine! I love how he highlighted things for you and also forced you to work. I see a similar pattern with my father. Always watching out for us =) Hope he had a good father’s day!

    • Cait June 21, 2012 at 10:30 pm

      The thing I love most is that he’s not an expert. But he has a general interest in savings, good spending, etc. and I’m thankful he pushed that onto me. <3

  • Lucylastica2 (@Lucylastica2) June 24, 2012 at 8:14 am

    What a fabulous role model…wish I’d had a Dad just like him.

    Am new to your blog today and am now following on Twitter (@Lucylastica2) as can’t wait for future posts. Good luck with reducing the debt, you’ve done amazingly well so far.