4 Important Money Truths That I Learned From My Dad

42-20156259 Carpenter with a Spirit Level - Image by Simon Jarratt/Corbis 1 Construction Level Occupations 40-45 yearsConstruc
My dad is one hard-working guy. Not only did I see him juggle multiple jobs as I was growing up, but even when I'm home to visit now, he can barely sit down. He's either out in the back mowing the lawn, or in the front washing cars, or taking them apart to reassemble them. In honor of Father's Day, here are four lessons about life and money I learned from my dad (thanks, Padre!).

1. Never Underestimate the Power of a Hard Day's Work

My dad worked his butt off (like many Americans do) while I was growing up and still does to this day. He holds down a day job, has his own construction business on the side and even DJs. It was humbling to see the lengths he went to provide for us as we were growing up. There aren't many handouts that will come your way. If you want something, you have to have the drive and determination to work for it –- and that includes handling your finances.

2. Why Pay Someone to Fix it When You Can Do It Yourself?

I've nicknamed my dad "Tim the Toolman" for a reason. If something is broken in our house, very rarely is it replaced with something new or taken into a shop for repair. Research is done or the item is examined very closely, and then if we're lucky -– it's taken apart and fixed in the right way. If we're not lucky, masking tape and a couple of nails will do the trick. Sometimes we're quick to replace items that are worn with those that are new and shiny, when in reality, the old items still work perfectly fine after some elbow grease. Spending your money on something new may not be worth it if you can save more than half the amount and buy something a little worn or take a few hours of time to fix it up yourself.

3. Learn a Craft -- Any Craft

Since I can remember, my dad has always been a master at building, fixing and refurbishing things. Since I was a kid I've seen him redo kitchens, tile houses, update swimming pools, build playhouses, design storage cabinets and more. Carpentry is his craft. And he's pretty darn good at it. Even though he's had jobs in other industries over time, he's always had this skill to go back to. If he wanted to bring in some extra money, he'd take on a few side projects to fund our next vacation. He honed his skills over time and used his expertise to supplement income, market himself and ensure he's had a cushion in times of need.

4. Care for Others Like You'd Want to Be Cared for

This may not sound like a financial lesson, but it is. Giving back of yourself, whether it's of time or money, has been one of the best lessons that my parents could have taught me. Even though it may seem like there are more days left than paycheck at the end of some months, my dad has taken in the homeless, spent hundred of hours in assisted living centers bonding with the residents, let numerous friends of my sister's and I move into an unoccupied room when they had nowhere to go and has loaned out cars, money,and more to those in need. He's taught me about being thankful for what you do have because even when you think you're living on little, there's probably someone living on less and that it is possible to live simply and happily on less.

Mary Beth Storjohann is helping Gen Y make smart choices with their money. She's a certified financial planner and the founder and CEO of Workable Wealth.

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Bush, Limbaugh, and the Koch brothers are Fascists. The Republican party has embraced Fascism.


Audionut darling. Your comment puts me in mind of President Obama and his administration dear. I think that your George Bush derangement syndrome has you all mixed up doll. How unfortunate for you that you wander through life in a state of confusion dearest.

June 15 2014 at 1:57 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

sounds like my dad.he's been gone six years. I miss him.

June 15 2014 at 12:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Socho Ekon

The name of this story should have been "Penny Smart and Dollar Stupid, How to avoid your loved ones by doing everything the hard way"....This chick's dad had a typical blue collar mentality...Save pennies working on his own crap instead of using his time to make dollars as a specialist. What is that saying.... Jack of all Trades and Master of None. Maybe if the old man had dedicated himself to his line of construction he could have been more than just a subcontractor doing odd jobs on the side in between punching the clock. I quit working at age 25 and dedicated myself to mastering the stock markets. I was so sick of my boss threatening to take my job away, or playing me against my coworker to make us all more productive for a lousy 50 cent raise and a BS title of a promotion. I am independently wealthy now and can predict stock market movements years before they happen. If I had stayed working that lame ass job, I would be lucky to be making $50,000 a year right now and be dealing with all kinds of aches and pains from pushing myself to get to that $50,000 a year benchmark. Don't be stupid in life and listen to this idiotic writer... Dedicate yourself and work hard, but do it in a way that benefits you, not your employer... Kill yourself mowing the grass, cleaning gutters, and fixing the car and you will wind up in the poor house with the other blue collars. Spend your time reading economic books and studying any kind of market like real estate or stocks, and you will have 5 peons to do that blue collar work for you and you will still have more money than they do.

June 15 2014 at 3:54 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Socho Ekon's comment

Your a pompous, self-center moron. No doubt the dad in this story was a much happier man than you will ever be.

June 15 2014 at 6:13 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I always tired to teach the kids how to fix things, etc. My daughter just text me a picture of a new garage door opener and a question that she was putting up by herself. She is a young, single, doctor. Nice to see her values are basic and I know she takes pride in "I did it myself" when done.

June 15 2014 at 12:24 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

When they were growing up, I taught my boys that they had to be handy or rich.
Taught them everything from plumbing to auto repair.
And today, thet're both rich. The bastards.

June 14 2014 at 11:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
MR weaver king

now thats a good story of the way it was before things changed .when people just cared a little more then they do today .

June 14 2014 at 6:31 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Hey, if your dad is as handy as mine, you will need to get him vers-a-tech torque set from amazon.
Nothing like it.....

June 14 2014 at 5:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

We never took "disney world" vacations. He balanced the family budget each and every month. Christmases were subdued not buying orgies. He paid off the mortgage to the family home before he retired. He paid cash for our college educations. He did not try to keep up with the neighbors nor was he jealous of what they had. We never wanted for anything, however, and when he passed away he had insured that both he and my mother's funerals were paid for. His wisdom is part of every financial decision I make.

June 14 2014 at 1:44 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Our government needs to learn these lessons and start putting freeloaders to work. We have families that are on multiple generations that have never known a day's work. This helps no one, but keeps them fat, dumb and happy, and everyone deserves more out of life than that.

June 14 2014 at 10:35 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jgesselberty's comment

Ah, ------ and happy? Sounds like a good life to me. Have the govt. put them to work? OK, doing what? You want to bring back the CCC?

June 14 2014 at 2:25 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Reminds me of my Fathher who at one time in his life trying to support our family worked 3 jobs at once. The best in me I learned from both my Father and my Mother. The not so good things in me I learned myself. :)

June 14 2014 at 10:32 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply