Financial Lessons I Learned From My Father
Written by Octavia Ramirez

Tuesday, June 1st, 2021

Father's Day is a bittersweet day for me. When I was 10 years old, I lost my Dad in a fatal car accident. Nearly 23 years later, the pain of missing him still feels as hard as it did when I was a child. In spite of the emotional challenge of the day, I choose to use Father's Day to remember all the beautiful memories my Dad and I shared in our short time together, as well as all the life lessons he left with me.

Here are a few of the valuable, time-tested financial lessons and principles he taught me...

Forethought: Rather than indulge my every childish impulse, my parents taught me that patience is a virtue by forcing me to wait before I got anything. As an adult, this taught me the value of waiting, thinking, and making a financial plan or budget before jumping into anything. You'd be surprised how many financial mistakes I've avoided just because I forced myself to "sleep on it".

Assets > Liabilities: My Dad taught us to avoid consumer debt like the plague. Instead, he'd always say “buy things that make money". As a kid, I didn't quite understand what that meant. As an adult, I've learned to use as much of my money to invest in assets, like investing in my TFSA and RSP. That also means limiting my exposure to liabilities, like high-interest credit card debt, or buying excessive consumer products that go down in value.

Take care: My Dad believed in repairing things rather than spending money to replace them. He was always in the garage tinkering with his car, or fixing his fishing gear. This is a principle that I've implemented by emphasizing quality over quantity. Buying items that are timeless, rather than trendy. I prioritize things that can be repaired, rather than replaced.

Health is wealth: What's the point of having all the money in the world if you aren't healthy enough to enjoy it? My Dad believed in investing in your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. He was happiest and healthiest when he was out in nature with his family and friends, either fishing or boating, so that's what he chose to spend his money on. It's what kept him active and happy.

Experiences > Things: Experiences create valuable memories, especially when shared with loved ones. My Dad taught me to value experiences over stuff, which is why I prioritize spending on things like travel, and activities with family and friends over buying more stuff. After all, things break, get lost, or we lose interest in them, but memories last forever.

Risk = Reward: Though my Dad never got the chance to live his dream of starting his own restaurant, his entrepreneurial spirit taught me to not fear risk. After all, there's no reward without risk. As long as you do your research, get sound advice, and understand the financial implications, you should go for it!

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