What Did Your Dad Teach You About Money?

As part of my research over the past few years, I have had the privilege of hearing some of the messages that accomplished women received from their Dads when they were growing up. This advice helped to build their financial confidence and make them successful. In honour of Father’s Day, I’ll share some of their wisdom:

Never set out just to make money

A business owner in England told me that her father had been her inspiration in everything she had done. He taught her that “Making money should never be an end in itself; it is just a means to an end. What really matters is to lead a fulfilling life, be loving and loved and show a generosity of spirit to those around you.  Of course there will be parts of your work day that you don’t like but you will be more successful if you try and enjoy it. It behooves companies to make sure that employees enjoy their work because it is such a large part of their lives. If people are happy in their job they will give more and as a result they and the firm will prosper. After all, miserable people don’t make for success!”

It is important to keep some of the money!

A designer in Switzerland learned by making her own financial mistakes. When she was 13, her father gave her the equivalent of 30 euros. “This seemed like a fortune to me at the time. I went to the cinema, then on to Burger King, and then I spent the remainder on little gifts for my family members. In retrospect, I see that this was my first financial decision and I had no money left at the end of the day. I learned that it is important to keep some of the money!” Her father was a big believer in giving his children some money to see how they would deal with it – he felt it was best for them not to receive too much guidance. His view was that being over-protected all the time doesn’t make you grow as an individual. He wanted to expose his kids to various situations so that they would have their own small experiences with money. Travel is a great teacher – you can learn how to make your own independent decisions and become used to dealing directly with money.

Never be ashamed of working hard and making your own money

A sales director for a Canadian magazine always maintains a sense of pride in her work. She grew up in a home where her father taught her to have a strong work ethic and to find work wherever she could. As a young girl she had a paper route for many years and she was one of the very few papergirls in the whole district. Even though she would sometimes be sweaty and tired from the manual labour, her father was great about encouraging her never to be ashamed of working hard and making her own money.

Be guided by your own inner belief

A Swedish business executive that I met told me that her father was what some might call a crazy entrepreneur. He exuded power, and some of the things he did inspired her. He was always willing to take risks and believe in himself. While he didn’t tell her anything overtly about money or success, she somehow just absorbed a feeling of “I can do it”. She now mentors younger women and advises them not to create a life for themselves that is dependent on money. She tells them “Never let money limit you. It is most important to be guided by your own inner belief and if you believe strongly enough, it will work out. If you lose that focus, you won’t take risks anymore and you’ll become someone else entirely … someone without freedom.”

To all the Dads out there: take the time to pass along your positive messages about money. Your words and actions can inspire a lifetime. Happy Father’s Day!

This story originally appeared in 24 Hours.