In my college days whenever I confessed to my Dad over the phone of my latest blunder, invariably there was a long silence. Was he angry? His silence was more menacing than a scolding or a lecture, even without him reprimanding, most of the times, his silence worked.
Perhaps most dads are like that — tough on the outside but emotional when nobody is watching. Besides providing emotional and financial security, Dads are also one of the best solutions providers that you will ever find; be it your career, finances or even your love life, depending on how close you are to your dad.
Fathers teach their children many basic things in life: how to read a book, throw a ball, tie a necktie, ride a bike, or drive a car. More importantly, they also help instill time-honoured values in their children, such as hard work, respect, honesty, and being a good citizen.
“Through their words, actions, and sacrifices, fathers play an important role in shaping the characters of their sons and daughters,” proclaimed former American President George Bush.
One of the earliest money lessons and the thing I shall always remember is the haggling with my Dad over the increase in my pocket money during my College hostel days and in retrospect the financial lessons they were meant to teach. Living within our means, prioritizing the expenses, the importance of budgeting and making each Rupee count were just some of the lessons. The first priority, the all route DTC Bus pass, ensured you were mobile and payment of Mess Bill and Canteen dues ensured you will not be hungry and nothing else mattered much. A trip to hometown in a deluxe coach was often compromised in lieu of a date and Hot Choc Fudge at Nirula’s. For the rest, Jugaad was often the way out and the most common was the somber face that we made and the tutored canteen boy who used to make an appearance at the apt time asking for dues, whenever a relative or an elder cousin came visiting and invariably the outcome used to be a Bonus and a well earned supplement.
No money lesson especially from Dad can be complete without reference to the all time classic written by Robert Kiyosaki, “Rich Dad Poor Dad” which has been one of the most influential books about money lessons since it was first published.
The author, Robert Kiyosaki narrates the money lessons he learnt over the years from two fathers, his biological father (Poor Dad) and his friend’s father(Rich dad).
He outlined the stark difference between the two father’s ideology of money.
Poor dad (biological father), the educated one believed in “Love of money is the root of all evil” and made money mistakes and was stuck in “rat race”.
On the other hand, rich dad (friend’s father) taught him to move ahead with a bold mindset and believed in “Lack of money is the root of all evil”.
It is a simple story with examples to understand cash flows, building assets, and to learn from failures. Rich Dad Poor Dad is a thought-provoking book that makes you ask yourself a few important questions,
Do I have the passion to learn about money and what it can do,
‘Do I want to continue running the rat-race?’
‘Have I built assets or liabilities?
‘Are my expenses more than the income?’
‘Am I afraid to take risks?’
One of my favourite lessons from the book is,
If you say, “I can’t afford it”, then you prevent yourself from thinking about various possibilities to grow.
Instead ask this question, “How can I afford it?”. This acts as a stimulus for your brain to churn up possibilities. And how to manouevre every negative ‘can’t do’ thought into a ‘can do’ healthy attitude.
I am grateful that Dad taught me about finances. My dad understood the importance of financial literacy and gave me a legacy of knowledge that I am now trying to pass on to my own children.
Financial literacy is having the knowledge necessary to manage personal finances efficiently. Financially literate people know how to achieve long-term goals and make healthy financial decisions.
On the other hand, those who are not financially literate have difficulty applying financial decision-making skills to real-life situations. Not only do they tend to make unhealthy money decisions that create financial problems, they have trouble reaching financial milestones. In our society today, financial illiteracy has assumed epidemic proportions.
The first thing that my Dad taught me was to fall in love with numbers as against an aversion to numbers that most people have.
My dad taught me not to define myself by how much I had, but by what I did with what I had. I learned early on not to let money be the sole determining factor for the decisions I made in life, but I also learned that, although money couldn’t buy happiness, it could provide peace of mind, freedom and flexibility.
He always says, “remain focused on the end goal which can lead to financial freedom and work for it by minding your own business.”
He emphasized that we shall have to face many failures before finding true success. I remember the Snakes and ladder game he used to help illustrate, the many failures we may face and some very close to our goal, but still we shall have to dust off the disappointment and start all over again without any loss of enthusiasm.
Very often, He used the example of his own family who migrated from Pakistan at the time of partition, and had to start from scratch to rebuild their lives.
He taught me the importance of developing a skill set, “ work to learn.” He said look ahead and see, what skill sets you need to acquire before choosing a specific profession and keep constantly upgrading your skills because that is the only path to face the constant change and disruptions our society faces today. He said, train your mind to explore, to take on new tasks, to venture into unknown territories, as he believed that “a trained mind is a rich mind.” The more you train your mind to take bold steps, you will move ahead. The rich and successful create their own luck from obstacles and it is the same with money.
Life skills, communication, management of systems and people, etc. are equally important for financial success and are not taught in school.
He emphasized early on, “You should acquire these life skills to help yourself on the path to financial freedom. Effective communication and people management skills shall make the tasks of achieving your goals easy.”
He told us to try to figure out different legitimate ways to build wealth. Look for opportunities or invest in businesses to build more assets and generate a strong flow of income. Use the income earned to generate more returns or wealth so that it leads you to financial freedom. Effectively, he said, “don’t let your money remain idle but you should be making your money work for you and earn more money.”
Finally Dad taught me the love of sharing and giving, he taught me about “Tithing” in his own way. He shared the secret that tithing affects every aspect of our lives and not just our money. Tithing for him was not sharing a tenth of what he earned with a religious organisation or donating, but sharing what he earned and the fruits of his labor with his extended family and friends. Our house was always open to welcome guests and anybody could approach my dad for any assistance that he may require, in cash or in kind.
Dad’s simple teachings can solve greater complexities but are often forgotten in our fast-changing lives. These childhood lessons from him may not have made much sense then, but they do now. It’s worth following what he taught. So, let’s go ahead and make the most of it.
I am thankful for the values my father instilled in me about “true wealth.”
Thank You Dad!
Celebrate Fathers Day everyday, I try and do.
Stay Blessed Forever