Fatherly Advice for your Finances

Tenley E. Desjardins, CPA, CFP® | Wealth Planner

Over the past few months of quarantining, many of us have found new ways to connect with family, coworkers, and friends. Weddings, holidays, and many more celebrations have been missed or postponed. As we start to emerge from stay-at-home orders and navigate our new normal, one holiday quickly approaching is Father’s Day.  

A recent T. Rowe Price study1 found that as many as 54% of young adults say their parents had an influence on their financial habits and behaviors. As I reflect on my childhood, I will admit my dad may not have handled our family’s finances or taught me what a 401(k) was, but I acknowledge I learned valuable lessons from him that I apply to my work as a wealth planner today. My dad loves a routine – for example, each day he would put in a full day’s work before 3pm so he could pick us up from school, make sure we did our homework, and cook dinner. Every so often, he would break from his routine to allow for a stop for ice cream after school, preparing breakfast for dinner, or a late bedtime. As I reflect on my father’s impact on me, I realize his appreciation for a routine, while leaving room for some flexibility, is relevant as it relates to our clients’ financial plans. Specifically, it takes discipline to follow a financial plan and the best ones always leave a little room for balance. 

I asked our wealth advisors to share the best advice they got from their fathers, financial or otherwise, which impacts how they advise their clients and manage their own finances. 

Honor your commitments.

When I was young, I was playing pee-wee football and wanted to quit halfway through the season. I was frustrated with practice, tired, and was not starting in the games.  My dad took me for a walk and shared with me that I must honor my commitments. I had made a commitment to this team and that I had to see it through.  

This lesson has stuck with me in many seasons of my life.  Life is not easy, and we are often faced with adversity and times of trial. We have all been through extraordinary times recently and his lessons taught me to push through the tough times and persevere.

- Brett S. Miller, CPA, CFP®

Invest in others.

Some of the best advice my father gave me is that investments in others always pay higher dividends than investments in yourself. We live this every day in our culture at McGill Advisors, and I know our clients consistently invest in their businesses, their employees, and their families.

- Jason R. Cross, J.D., CFP®, CTFA

Keep your head when others are losing theirs.

When my older brother went off to college, I remember a gift my father gave to him for his dorm room - a framed poem by Rudyard Kipling titled, “If.”  I specifically recall the beginning and the end of the poem: “If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, but make allowance for their doubting too…If you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds’ worth of a distance run, yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And- which is more- you’ll be a Man, my son!”

My father referenced this poem many times to reinforce the valuable life lessons therein, such as: be true to yourself, trust yourself, be humble, don’t give way to hating, give it your all because life is short and every second counts. His advice is a good reminder in my role as a wealth advisor - my role is to remain disciplined and level-headed amid market turmoil, which has been especially true this year.  

Now that I am a father myself and growing older, I understand that time is indeed unforgiving, which has helped me reprioritize my life to focus on what really matters most.  

- Thomas W. Farmer, CFP®, C(K)P®

Link to entire poem:


When you are in command, command.

This advice from my father has stuck with me, and I think many people who know me would agree I live my life like this. However, just as important, is what I also try to do when I’m not in command. I let those who are in charge be the commanders and lead. 

- Jeffery A. Harrell, CFA

Time is your greatest asset.

My father once painted a mental picture for me: imagine the sorts of things your future, 65 year-old-self would love to say to your much younger self today. 

I believe time is perhaps our greatest resource so use it to your advantage such as saving for retirement as much as you can with as much as you can. I’ve taken this advice to heart and am inspired to take action today for myself and with my clients so we can all benefit. 

Since my father’s advice, I ran across a quote that equally resonated with me: 

“The ultimate purpose of money is so that you do not have to be in a specific place at a specific time doing anything you don’t want to do.”   Naval Ravikant.  

Personally, I would prefer to make some sacrifices today, so I am empowered to do what I want in the future.  

- Brett M. Covert, J.D., CFP®

Now that you’ve heard from our team, we would love to hear from you! In your next financial review with your advisor or phone call with your relationship manager, consider asking them about the best advice they received from their father and please feel free to share yours too. 

1. https://www.slideshare.net/TRowePrice/t-rowe-prices-10th-annual-parents-kids-money-survey?from_action=save