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Parental Wisdom to Financial Success

From Parental Wisdom to Financial Success: Life Lessons Echoed by Advisors

by Elisabeth Engel | June 27, 2024 | Wealth Management

One thing I have always valued about my relationship with my parents is their honesty. When I was growing up, they did an excellent job of answering each of my weird questions with as much truth as they could. They weathered the barrage of questions about why the sky is blue and why don’t unicorns exist like true champions! Now that I am in my early 20s, those conversations have continued, but have gotten more complex.

My generation is marked by apprehension about the future largely due to financial pressures like paying off student debt or being able to afford owning a home. As I work to determine my financial priorities, my parents continue to honestly answer my questions and impart wisdom derived from their lifetime of experience about how money works. These are the four key lessons my parents emphasized – and have been echoed by financial advisors like TFG — to help build financial literacy and provide hope and confidence for a financially secure future.

Lesson 1: Money is a Tool.

My parents started by teaching me early on that money is not meant to be something to solely pursue or something to rely on for contentment. Rather, money is the means by which we can achieve our financial priorities. The old adage, “Money can’t buy happiness” may be misleading in that few people seem unhappy while taking a European vacation! However, it is true that money cannot buy joy, contentment, or personal satisfaction. While I can save money to use towards a trip to an amusement park, the real joy is spending time and making memories with my friends.

Lesson 2: Giving is Essential.

My parents taught me the importance of giving to charities through their words and actions. It did not matter which organizations I chose to donate to — what mattered more was keeping a humble mindset and thinking of those who may not have had similar opportunities as me. They also reinforced that if I was not in the financial position to provide cash, then I could at least give of my time through volunteering. They have instilled in me the belief that a generous and charitable heart is the fruit of an individual with good character and is the glue that holds our communities together.

Lesson 3: Purchase With a Purpose.

We all know the dangers of impulse buying, but this lesson takes it a step further by identifying the genuine reason motivating each purchase beyond the simple desire. For example, my parents have been going through their possessions as they are packing up to move. In doing so, they have found several items that were deemed “helpful” at the time of purchase that have only sat on a shelf and collected dust for many months. This led to buyer’s remorse as that money could have been donated to charity or served another purpose towards fulfilling financial goals. Identifying the reason for spending is an intentional way to gain greater control on expenses and spend wisely.

Lesson 4: Invest for the Long Term.

As a teenager, my perspective of the future was much shorter sighted – where I wanted to go to college. I did not start thinking about my financial future in terms of retirement, inherited funds, or financial priorities until my parents brought it to my attention. They encouraged me to set a portion of my paycheck aside into a brokerage account and/or a retirement account, which would better serve me in the long run than any sort of “get-rich-quick” scheme. It is, admittedly, strange to be planning for retirement as a young adult, however I know that investing now will reap compounded benefits in my financial future.

I am very appreciative for my parents’ openness in teaching me about basic financial tools and responsibilities. These life lessons have been reinforced by the wealth advisors at Tull Financial Group. At TFG, we help families develop sound financial values that include future generations. Contact us to learn more about how to build generational wealth or to schedule a free initial consultation for family financial planning.