I’ve always told my children they had the best dad.
I wasn’t raised by my father and often dreamed of what it would be like to be a daddy’s girl. I wanted a father who could teach me how to handle my money.
My kids have a money savvy dad. In a previous column, I called him Yoda with a calculator. As I wrote: “One of his greatest gifts to our children has been his economic equilibrium. It’s because of his balance that our children go to him when they want to make a purchase with their own money.”
This is my favorite Father’s Day column, one that you can send to your dad with your own personal note about how grateful you may be for his wealth wisdom.
But for those of you who may not have had active fathers or father figures with common sense about money, here are some stories that I think capture the important financial lessons passed on by dads.
— Father knows best: Valuable money advice from dad
Caitlin Kelly writing for Reuters interviewed some successful people about the best advice they got from their fathers about finance.
Mehran Assadi, chief executive of National Life Group dad told him, “”Dream big, but live debt-free. It’s important to have dreams and aspirations, but you should be financially responsible as you work to get there.”
Here’s the advice from the father of Aric Almirola, a NASCAR driver: “There is a price to everything, and more goes into that price than just the actual price tag. If you think about the amount of work that you have to do to make that purchase, it makes you think a little harder.”
— Readers’ best money advice from Dad
Bankrate.com asked its readers to share their dads’ best money tips.
“Don’t use credit cards!” Wish I listened to that!” Bryan K.wrote.
Sally L. wrote: “The best financial advice my father ever gave me was to save more and live with less instead of competing with the Joneses. He showed me that looks can be deceiving: Those who live like they are rich aren’t always. He advised my siblings and me to commit to the items we purchase (car, house, etc.) instead of constantly upgrading for the newest and latest.”
— My father excluded my siblings from his will — should I give them money?
This is an advice column by MarketWatch’s Quentin Fottrell about what not to do as a dad. In this case, a “controlling, argumentative and unforgiving” father left all his money to just one of his three kids. He wanted his last wishes to sting. The two children left out of the will, as you might expect, were hurt. As Fottrell tells the adult child who got it all, “Aside from leaving behind an awful lot of money, your father appears to have done in death what he did in life: Cause division and acrimony, only this time he has passed that mantle on to you.”
Then Fottrell asked a great question of the reader: “What do you think your father should have done?”
Finally, a survey of what young adults think about their dads by the makers of Not Your Father’s Root Beer found that father’s are passing along some good life skills. Take a look at the top things dads teach:
1. How to ride a bike
2. How to drive a car
3. Repair and maintenance
4. Decision-making skills
5. Money management
6. Change a tire
8. Read a map
9. How to deal with stress/problems
I don’t mind that money management was fifth on the list. It’s in the top ten and that’s a good thing.
Color of Money Question of the Week
In honor of Father’s Day, I would still like to hear what is the best financial advice you got from your dad or father figure? Send your comments to email@example.com. Please include you name, city and state. In the subject line put “What’s Your Father Worth?”
Live Chat Cancelled Today
I’m taking off to be with my son for his college orientation. He’s a freshman in the fall at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and I couldn’t be happier.
And for the next two weeks I’ll be away, but two wonderful Post writers will be filling in for me on my weekly chat. Show them some love by showing up and posting your personal finance questions or comments.
On Thurs. June 23 the Post’s personal finance reporter Jonnelle Marte will be hosting the chat. Here’s the link to join that discussion.
On June 30, the Post retirement columnist Rodney Brooks will be hosting the chat. Click this link to join that live chat.
Financial news you can use
Retirement columnist Rodney Brooks Monday newsletter this week: Living longer means a second chance at those life decisions you now regret
Brooks writes: “A new study from Allianz Life Insurance Co. says Americans are embracing the opportunity to make up for those decisions they regret, such as the college they attended or the career they chose.”
Color of Money Columns This Week
— Want to avoid fighting over money in your marriage? Try this first.
And you get your debt forgiven! You get your debt forgiven!
John Oliver announced on his HBO show “Last Week Tonight” he had bought $15 million worth of debt. And everyone on that debt list would get his or her medical debts forgiven.
The debt-forgiving action was part of a scolding segment on debt buyers, companies that purchase old debt obligations for pennies on the dollar.
Oliver wasn’t the first to forgive debt in this manner. There is a movement by some groups to buy debt and forgive the debtors. The Color of Money Question of the Week for last week was: What do you think of a movement to buy old debt and forgive those debtors?
“I think it’s a wonderful act of generosity and I know I’d be grateful,” wrote B Hudson of St. Louis, Mo. “I also like the idea of changing the system that forces people to have medical debt. As an example, I’m fortunate enough to have health insurance, my wife goes in for surgery on her neck. A month or so later I get a $3,000 co-pay bill just for the ‘hardware’ they implanted in her neck, the screws and plate. I had no idea this type of charge would come. My heart goes out to those who have to have a continual treatment of some kind where it’s either pay or die.”
Carol Hubbard of Reston, Va. wrote: “I absolutely love it. Kudos to John Oliver and whatever organizations and individuals are doing the same thing.”
But Robert Hencken from Kalamazoo, Mich., pointed out a downside to the debt forgiveness: “Not trying to be a spoil sport, but all that debt forgiveness might represent taxable income and the IRS may come after those taxes.”
Judith Dollenmayer of Washington D.C., and Poughkeepsie, N.Y., wrote: “Buying debt, especially medical debt (no one has personal responsibility for medical injuries, disease disasters), is a great idea. I’m less enthusiastic about buying and forgiving debt for luxury purchases that were unaffordable for the people who incurred the debt and represented ignorant or foolish extravagance.”
Readers may write to Michelle Singletary at The Washington Post, 1301 K St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Personal responses may not be possible, and comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer’s name, unless otherwise requested. To read previous Color of Money columns, go to washingtonpost.com/business.