Money lessons and habits are first learned in the family. Parents have financial management practices that children usually don’t understand during their formative years. Reaching young adulthood when personal finance becomes personal, children appreciate their worth as soon as they revisit the factors that impact their current financial health.
Taking the Road Less Traveled. I should say I had the most arduous childhood years. I don’t know how my other four siblings would describe theirs. I started to embrace the harsh realities of life as soon as I took the inescapable initiation into the generational band of fishermen.
In our small fishing village, the daily grind starts at four or three before dawn and concludes hours after nightfall, usually with intermittent fishing trips under the scorching midday sun. However back-breaking fishing can really be, still village families remain ‘isang kahig, isang tuka.’ Inarguably, life in the province can be simple and less complicated, but the economic conditions seem depressing. People are literally poor. Worst, as the younger generation unfolds, poverty is all inherited.
In luck, our family was in some way an exception. We embraced the notion of education tightly, upholding the promise that it could free us from the enslaving poverty, and so we were never wrong.
Taking the road less traveled, we experienced financial crises that taught us priceless money lessons. Memorably, my dad had to pawn his fishnets and boat to cover my sister’s college allowance. My brother once needed a hundred for his school project and my mom’s only recourse was to knock on neighbor’s door as early as five. We had to go fishing the whole weekends, almost day and night, to maximize labor productivity. It was all grueling, but we survived.
Today, we are all professionals – three as certified high school teachers (one is already a school principal), and two as CPA’s. Seldom that I share about my struggles in the past because we all have ours. Perhaps, yours was even worth more than a ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ episode.
6 Priceless Money Lessons Dad Has Taught Me
Our parents, more particularly our dad, have played a profound role in shaping our money habits. Inadvertently, dad has taught me a few money lessons that I found soon after as priceless.
You don’t need a good catch to share your blessings. Fishing does not always promise a good catch. As the sweetness of the bait could go on and off, an almost a day of fishing trip could sometimes make dad just three slippery parrotfishes. His catch could have been good for the next two meals. However, once neighbors would insist a bid for all his catch, he would rather share a few pieces cut equally among them. It’s a common practice in the village though – sharing one’s meager blessings!
Make your debt pay-off and indebtedness two different things. My dad has proven that debt is not always bad. Over the years of financial crises, he has built a positive credit reputation among his friends and relatives. When one lends him a money, he would take it more than just borrowing, rather an obligation worth returning a favor more than paying off the principal and interest.
Once I overheard my dad and his friend whom he had a good credit history at the wedding reception of my sister. I admired how outspoken he was with his gratitude for all the favors granted. My dad has always been a man of many words, hence making him a real politician.
You can always discuss financial matters at the dinner table. Our round dinner table back in the old house was a witness to many life and money lessons instilled by our dad.
Whenever we had school projects and activities requiring even a few cents, it was our mom who should know first. Usually over dinner, she would do the negotiation with dad and ask for a consent over the budget stretch. We have always been cognizant of our financial state ever since.
You can’t afford to commit the same mistake again. In our family, dad has been a pillar of strength, silent support, and tough discipline. May it be about money or anything, he has always demonstrated a sound decision because the family cannot afford committing the same mistake again.
When I had to move out of our house and live with a relative in Manila, I struggled making disciplined habits consistent. I had no dad then to remind me of the past mistakes I was about to make again. So, many times I had failed before I totally learned.
Live within your means, but treat yourself occasionally. We used to live within our means for many years of financial struggles, many times below the means. We could not afford luxury items, expensive appliances, vacation travel, and others. There were only two where the budget would go – food and education, no more.
However, whenever we had a good catch on weekend, dad would ask us what we want for dinner. Yes, he would go to town and buy a kilo of beef or pork. Dad has since been a good cook. Such was a simple way of family celebration, but we could not describe how happy we were.
You don’t have to pay back your parents, but do what makes your mom happy. We have just started with our careers as teachers and accountants. Two have their own families. Whenever we would gather for Christmas or any special occasion, dad would share his new business ventures and how the two of them have been doing well in their farming. Never did they demand financial support from us, but we would certainly offer.
Whenever we have a private conversation with dad about finances, he would tell us what mom needs and wants. He would advise us that when we have extras, we should not forget buying mom a gift. Dad has always appreciated how dedicated our mom has been.
I should say I have been very lucky with my parents. I thank them, more especially dad, for instilling me these priceless life and money lessons that guide me all throughout my financial journey.