The Financial Wisdom of Our Fathers: A Father's Day Tribute

In honor of Father's Day, we asked some experts from the personal finance community to share with us the financial wisdom that their fathers shared with them.
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Parents aren't always great role models. However, our mother and father are usually the first people we look to as we're trying to learn new things -- driving a car, hitting a baseball, playing an instrument, whatever.

When it comes to money, it's no different. That's why, in honor of Father's Day, we asked some experts from the personal finance community -- including some from our own team and those with our sister site, -- to share with us the financial wisdom that their fathers shared with them. We were thrilled with the response and put together a list that includes bloggers, authors, TV commentators and more.

And if you've got a great story, we want to hear it, too. Share it with us by leaving your comment at the end of the story. Or just tell us which one of these was your favorite.


"Best advice my dad gave me was/is twofold:

1) His advice wasn't spoken, it was done. He took me to the local bank to get my first savings account and passbook when I was 12 years old. I had to speak to the bank manager, sign papers and manage my own savings -- at 12! What wasn't spoken was done -- start saving early, pay attention to your money, be responsible for it and don't be afraid of banks.

2) The heavy and very cool side of him doing that with/for me? He signaled to me that gender is not an issue or factor when it comes to money. Here I was, a girl, opening her own bank account at 12 years old. In the 1980's. I, a female, was being put in charge of my own money, very early on. I didn't realize for years just how powerful that was until I'd tell that story to female audiences and I'd hear from them that, gender-wise, it was amazing that my dad took his daughter to do something so powerful for her independence so early."

- Carmen Wong Ulrich, former host of CNBC's "On The Money," expert contributor to the "Dr. Oz Show" and President of ALTA Wealth Management


"Every Saturday morning, my dad and I would sit at the kitchen table. He would tell me the name of a stock, and I would look up the closing price in the newspaper. Armed with a clean sheet of paper and a sharpened No. 2 pencil, he would tally up the week's gains and losses.

We rode out good markets and bad at that kitchen table. During market corrections and economic downturns, my father would always say the same thing:

'Amy, when they raid a house of ill-repute, they take all the girls to jail, even the piano player and the cook. But if they get a good judge, the piano player and cook will be out in no time.'"

- Amy Calistri, editor of the "Stock of the Month" and "Daily Paycheck" newsletters at


"Best advice from father: Always max out your 401(k) at least up to what your employer matches. Not only will it help YOU get going with retirement, but it's pretty much like getting FREE money from your employer too! Who doesn't like that?

Sadly, it took me three years to finally take him up on his advice, but here we are, almost 8 years later, sitting on over $150,000 because of him. ;) Gotta love dads!"


"The advice my father provided didn't come when I was growing up, as far as I remember. While I was in my twenties, my personal finances had taken a bad turn, but I was doing what I could to get myself back on the right track. It was at that time, while I was struggling and moving forward, and while my father was out of debt himself, that he shared with me a basic piece of advice that stuck with me.

Paraphrased, he said, get out (of debt) and stay out (of debt). Being free from debt, including a mortgage, gave him the freedom to use his income for more than just paying back banks for borrowed money. That stuck with me, and it provided more motivation to reach that point myself."

- Flexo, founder,


"My father taught me the value of hard work and the importance of personal connections. He started his business in college selling records. When he graduated, he moved from records to jewelry, eventually selling gold and diamonds as a wholesaler. Although he passed away when I was just 12, I have fond memories of going on sales calls with him to local jewelry stores in central Ohio.

It was clear to me back then that he made a personnel connection with his clients. They genuinely liked him and liked doing business with him. He hustled, built a solid business, and enjoyed the fruits of his labor. I've tried to follow in his footsteps."

- Rob Berger, founder,

For more financial wisdom from Dad, check out the full article here.

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