Happy Father’s Day to all fathers reading this column! This is your special day. You may be wondering what a financial column and Father’s Day have in common. From the days of the founding of our country, fathers have played a special role in the family unit. In the past, fathers were the breadwinners of the family while mothers were responsible for the household and children. Being a father myself, I now see the inequity in this allocation of duties, but I digress.
Father’s Day is not simply a time of celebration but also a recommitment of our priorities and dedication to our loved ones. If your family is not experiencing the joy it once did, it is time to evaluate your role and contribute in a different manner to the family’s benefit. It is not the making of money that brings happiness to your children. It is the investment of time, your time with them that creates lasting memories and provides a platform for your children to learn valuable lessons that will serve them well in life.
Lesson 1: Find something you are passionate about in life and choose it as a career.
In most cases, your passion will provide the courage and defiance to failure that is needed to reach success. Water collected in a puddle does not produce much energy. However, water heated to 212 degrees produces such force that it can power an locomotive! Fathers should teach their children to be resilient in the face of challenges and think creatively to become the next Steve Jobs or Thomas Edison.
Lesson 2: Giving your time to those in need is a wonderful use of one’s day.
In today’s environment, the “me” attitude has created a selfish mode within our country. Most Americans are generous with their money. However, to forsake one’s personal goals to contribute to a needy cause does not inspire some people. I have been a member of McAlester Lions Club for most of my career. The most memorable times in my volunteer career have been those days spent helping less fortunate individuals reclaim their lives and rebuild families. By helping these individuals capture a second chance at a productive life, I received a feeling of accomplishment that can’t be measured in money or net worth.
Lesson 3: Saving for the future should be a habit.
Fathers teach their children many habits during their lifetime – some good, some bad. However, the habit of saving for the future should be a family legacy that each generation continues. By creating a habit of saving each pay period, each month, whatever frequency your cash flow creates, you will grow in confidence, security and capability. Typically, you need to save in three “buckets” in this order:
- Emergency Fund (next 90 days)
- Lifestyle Fund (cars, homes, education, vacation, etc.)
- Lifetime Fund (retirement and legacy)
Focus one hundred percent of your initial savings on the first bucket, Emergency Fund. After saving sufficiently to cover 90-days’ living expenses, then start saving in the other two buckets.
Becoming a father is a simple act. Being a dad takes commitment, time and resources. You have the capability of all three of these characteristics. Take action and hug your kids today. The gifts you receive on Father’s Day are your children’s respect, love and admiration!