Financial Advice from Dads and How Your Financial Future May Differ from Your Father’s

by Kaitlyn Ranze

Whether you’re 21 or 41, chances are your financial future looks a little different than your parents’. With reduced rates of pensions and increased wealth gaps, how we generate wealth and secure our legacy is different from our parents.

In honor of Father’s Day, we take a look at the generational differences in how money is managed and dive into fatherly words of wisdom rounded up from some of the best financial bloggers out there.

Break generational curses

“My dad was very much an example of how the ‘birth lottery’ can determine your future. Namely, that inequity in how, when, and where you are born can shape your life outcomes and determine your success.
He lost the birth lottery – growing up without parents, in a very, poor, violent, environment. He also grew up in a very different time when financial literacy, access to jobs, and education generally were harder to attain for lower-income folks. It was very much ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps.’
I’m working hard to break that vicious cycle to ensure future generations are inheriting wealth and not poverty. I’m fortunate to be able to [increase my financial literacy] and reclaim my time, address my mental health, share my journey and learn from others, and really just set myself up to reach financial freedom in my lifetime.”

Black Girl Freedom

Making Dad proud

“Man, would he be proud. I’m already debt-free, credit rating over 700 (I hear that’s good) and I find myself in the position to chase my dreams of music while pursuing homeownership. I grew up not being privy to what my parent’s finances were, but after he passed, I learned he really didn’t have much set up for the future outside of a minor life insurance policy supplemented by a government death benefit.

He may not have been able to teach me much about finances himself, but I learned what I didn’t want from seeing his mistakes. I 100% thank him for helping me develop the critical mind to not just follow what he did, but learn and grow from it.”

Kenneth Medford, Being the only () in the Room

Things are different

“My dad taught me to analyze stocks by their price-to-earnings ratio (P/E). While that worked really well for people in his generation, today the P/E ratio of the stock market is at record highs and people are getting rich of dog themed meme currencies. My financial future will look nothing like my Dad’s because our financial system has completely changed since he was my age.”

Sam Zelinka, Government Worker Fi

The thing is, the stock market isn’t the only way in which there are differences. Data shows that Millenials -people born in 1981 to 1997 – are saddled with more student loan debt than previous generations. That delays major milestones such as buying a home or having a kid. With the cost of college tuition rising 3,700%, it’s no surprise that millennials are also less financially secure than their parents.

That’s why some of the words of wisdom our dads share is important to keep in mind as we manage our own finances Here are some of the good ones:

Not all money is good money.

“My father was a Marine for 23 years and is still in uniform as a JROTC instructor. He’ll maintain that it was a honor to serve this country and is grateful for what the marines allotted his family. However, he recognized that he was still trading his time for the dollar. He’s always had and still has the ambition to start his own venture, but as his responsibilities grew, his willingness take risks waned. Although he’s never told us to avoid the military, he reminded us that there are other routes to success.

My dad always reminded me, “Not all money is good money”. He’d follow that by explaining what you have to do, sacrifice, lose or gain to obtain money will let you know if it’s worth it or not…. That’s how my financial future will differ because I want to gain financial independence through being self-employed.”

Cameron Villarouel, Easy Earned Money

Start Young

“I started investing heavily at an earlier age than him so I am watching it compound a lot faster than him. However, one of the biggest differences between us financially is that when he was my age he was supporting a family of 4. This means that I only have to worry about myself when it comes to finances.”

I’ll also get to take advantage of his best advice

My dad is actually the one who taught me to invest and convinced me to open a 401K at my last job in the U.S. He taught me how to choose individual stocks and the importance of investing mainly in ETF’s as well as ensuring that my portfolio is international. In this way, if one economy fails it will not affect my portfolio.”

Crista, Richful Thinker

They’re not alone.

“My dad encouraged me to start thinking about finances earlier rather than later. He and my mom raised 5 kids on a schoolteacher’s salary, so money was usually tight growing up. But as he gained more knowledge of personal finance later in life, he would constantly offer to share what he learned, so that we could be more comfortable in our adulthood.

By ‘comfortable’, I mean that we are in a financially advantageous place compared to when I was growing up. Also that I have greater comfort with topics of personal finance than my dad did when he was my age. Besides 403b and TSP contributions, my family also began making contributions to 529s for our kids and to a taxable brokerage account. This is all in part due to his efforts.”

Jacques Arsenault Postgrad Compass

Avoid the paycheck to paycheck cycle

“My dad always told me not to spend what I don’t have. Growing up, my dad only used a debit card because he wanted to make sure he was never overspending. His financial situation is better now and he uses credit cards to get cashback, but he still never spends more than he needs to. While I am blessed and will not have to be living paycheck to paycheck like he did, I am still frugal. I always think twice if I need to spend money on any particular item. Because my dad gave me good financial habits, I don’t ever have to worry too much about making ends meet.”

Chloe Choe, Off Hour Hustle

Plan ahead

“I used to go shopping with my dad from time to time. Often I’d see something I wanted, and say so. His response was always the same: ‘Do you have any money?’ I’d say no and that would be that. It taught me the importance of planning ahead and making sure I have the money for the things I want to buy. “

Jackie Beck, Jackie Beck

It’s never too late to reinvent yourself.

“During his working years, he was a mechanic, a small business owner, a home builder, and a real estate broker. Whenever something stopped making sense, he’d pivot to the next opportunity. My financial future will be more stable than his, but it was built off his hard work and perseverance.”

Daniel Shin, The Darwinian Doctor

Avoid taking out student loans

“My father really regretted going into debt. He really pressed me to make college decisions that wouldn’t involve student loans because he was so afraid of debt. Whether that was necessarily the right advice, I don’t know, but I am extremely grateful that I never had student loan debt and I have always stayed far away from debt. That is all because of him.”

Robyn from A Dime Saved

Thinking critically about student loan debt is great advice. Consider that the ROI has reduced since our parents got their degrees. According to a Young Invincibles study, millennials with a college degree and student debt earned about the same amount as a boomer with no college degree in 1989.

Diversify Your Investments

“He always advised me to put my savings in different investment options. It helped me balance my investment income. Even if I’m not getting enough returns from one investment option it gets balanced from another.”

Anika Jain from What Anika Says

and Nadia’s dad agreed.

“…look into sectors for insight and consider long versus short investments! The backstory on that was he made me watch Bloomberg in the morning versus Saved by the Bell. Who would’ve thunk seeing tickers would form into what I do now!”

Nadia Vanderhall, The Brands and Bands

A little goes a long way

“My dad used to get a yearly share of company stock or other related bonuses around the holidays. It wasn’t a ton but instead of using it on something he would always reinvest the money. It grew to a nice chunk until he was forced to retire for health reasons. He told me a little bit adds up over time, and so I’ve used that same mindset with extra income from training or side hustles. Even if you’re not able to actively invest/save, putting bonuses or extra income directly into those accounts rather than spending them is a great way to grow your investments and also pay down debt.”

Tawnya Redding, Money Saved Money Earned


“Save until it hurts. One day it won’t and you’ll thank your younger self for making that sacrifice for your benefit later in life.”

Riley Adams Young and the Invested

Work Hard

“My dad was a blue-collar worker who did his best, oftentimes working two jobs, with tough relationships and several step-children, in addition to me, so there wasn’t much for savings. However, he did contribute well to his 401k and made sure my most recent step-mother was further taken care of when he passed away by getting a life insurance policy that would pay off their home once he did.”

Wesley, APR Finder

Wealth is more than the money in your bank account

“When I was younger if often thought that his attitude was old-fashioned and boring but in retrospect, I really value what he taught me. He taught me about the concept of “enough” and that contentment and health is worth a lot more than money.”

Tina Flamenco Money Flamingo

As you’re growing wealth, think about how your financial legacy will differ from your parents’. And more importantly, what will you impart to your kids?


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