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5 Money Lessons from Dad to Live By
Fathers wear many hats—chauffeur, therapist, mentor, provider. And on occasion, they play the role of financial advisor, too.
In the spirit of Father’s Day, we spoke with five entrepreneurs about the best financial advice they received from their dads. Others shared the lessons they hoped to impart to their own children.
Here’s an ode to all of the dads who stuck with it and passed on sound financial lessons—even when their kids might have been, shall we say, less than enthusiastic about hearing them.
1. Save for Retirement
Lauren Mochizuki is a nurse, wife, mother, and creator of the blog CasaMochi, where she writes about how to live well on a budget. Long before she paid off $266,000 of debt, she was learning a valuable lesson on saving from her father.
"The one thing my dad always told me was that when I became a professional, to immediately start saving for retirement, and that's what I did,” she said. “When I was in nursing school, and working as a nurse's assistant, I started saving 10 percent of my income in a 401K.”
Jump ahead to age 25: Mochizuki and her husband went to a financial advisor.
“It was during that meeting that I disclosed to my husband, for the first time ever (because it was the first time I ever checked my retirement account savings), that I had over $20,000 saved in a retirement account!” she said. “He was pretty shocked. It was all thanks to my dad's great advice!”
2. Embrace Risk
Brianna Rooney, the CEO of Techees and The Millionaire Recruiter, recalled unexpected financial advice she received from her stepfather.
Rooney’s stepdad, Blake, came into her life at the age of 13. She remembered how her dad and stepdad were both successful business owners, but with very different approaches. While her dad operated with a safe, smart, and calculated mindset, Blake pushed the limits and took risks.
The most memorable question that Blake ever asked Rooney was this: “What's the big deal? You can always make more money.”
“Those two sentences set up the life I have now,” she said. “I am not scared to fail, not scared to succeed and never scared of taking chances. I am confident in my abilities to prevail in any situation. Constantly asking myself, what is the worst thing that can happen?”
3. Quality is Worth the Price
For Lance Robinson, a practicing criminal defense attorney, the lesson was that it’s important to pay extra for quality—even if it’s initially more expensive.
“For instance, when it comes to equipment, you don’t want to waste time or money on tools that will break,” he said. “Inexpensive tools usually come at a lower quality, and they may need to be repaired and replaced. But if you spend the extra money to get a high-quality tool, you could save time and money in the long run.”
4. Invest in a Personal Venture
Hassan Alnassir, the founder and owner of toy business Premium Joy, said that the best advice he can give others as a father himself is to think about creating a business as early as possible.
“I personally committed the mistake of thinking about starting a business after several years of working at a company, effectively taking me almost eight years since employment to actually begin selling,” Alnassir said.
By making plans early on to gradually save money for a business, aspiring entrepreneurs can build up a safety net to protect against the risks of leaving a stable 9 to 5.
“You shouldn't abandon your routine job until your entrepreneurship is generating a good income that pays the bills at least,” Alnassir said. “It can take several years to build a truly successful business depending on the effort and the money available, that's why you need to plan ahead of time.”
5. Define the Meaning of Success
What does it mean to be successful? Jonathan Huang, of Mr. Centsible personal finance blog, shared a thoughtful answer from his father.
“I am a brand new father, but one of the interesting pieces of advice my father gave me was that his definition of a successful life was being able to live your life without having to burden your own children,” he said.
For Huang’s father this meant independence across multiple areas of life—financial, emotional, and physical.
“I thought it was always an interesting way of defining success and the more I think about it, the more it makes sense to me,” Huang said.
This Father’s Day we recognize the dads who shared their time and wisdom to help the next generation lead healthy financial lives. Cheers!
Hassan Alnassir is the founder and owner of Premium Joy, a toy business selling educational foam playthings for kids. Alnassir is a former engineer who worked in a daily job for several years before deciding to pursue the entrepreneurship path. His beloved little son was essentially the inspiration for starting a toy company.
Jonathan Huang is the founder of Mr. Centsible, a blog with the tagline "Your Sensible Guide to Personal Finance.” It’s a blog dedicated to helping millennials understand personal finance and reach financial freedom.
Lauren Mochizuki and her husband are budget enthusiasts and paid off $266,000 of debt five years ago. Mochizuki is an emergency room nurse of 10 years, wife, and mom of two. She is also the creator of CasaMochi, a blog where she writes about how to live well within your means, design, recipes and travel.
Lance J. Robinson is a dedicated New Orleans criminal defense attorney with over 22 years of experience. He has defended over 2,400 local and out-of-town clients and is recognized among the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by the National Trial Lawyers. He received his law degree in 1996 at Tulane University School of Law and went on to work for the Louisiana State Attorney General’s Office and a large personal injury firm. In 1999, he started his own law firm as a sole practitioner, where he provides clients with individualized attention and the legal representation that works best for them.
Brianna Rooney, (AKA the Millionaire Recruiter), is 34 years old, owns Techees, has three houses, a top-100 restaurant, an amazing chef of a husband and two little kids. Techees is a recruiting firm that places highly sought-after software professionals with companies in the Bay Area that are high profile, high-growth, VC backed, profitable, pre-IPO and/or public. Rooney also came out with The Millionaire Recruiter, a 3-hour eCourse. Check her out on LinkedIn.