Practical money tips we’ve learned from our dads

In honor of Father’s Day, U.S. Bank employees share the financial wisdom they’ve gained from their fathers that’s served them well.

Tags: Best practices, Budgeting, Savings, Charitable giving
Published: May 26, 2021

Dads and grandfathers often serve as our role models — teaching us by example and passing on what they’ve learned. Whether it’s how to make pancakes, change a tire or stand up for what’s right, there’s plenty of wisdom to be shared. Here are a few of the valuable money lessons our U.S. Bank employees have learned from their dads. 

1. Prioritize saving for the future

When receiving unexpected income — whether it’s through a raise, inheritance or another route — rather than immediately celebrating with an expensive dinner, purchase or vacation, start by putting away some money for your long-term goals

Setting up a plan in advance, such as designating a certain percentage of your income for a home or retirement account, can make this achievable.


From my dad

“My dad always said when you get a bonus or other lump payment to put at least one third into savings and another third into [paying off] debt,” says Katie L. “If you have something left, have a little fun.” 


Striking the right balance of enjoying the present while saving for the years ahead will allow you to indulge when it’s sensible without compromising on quality of life down the road.


2. Approach investing as a learning experience

There are many ways to increase your money over time — budgeting, saving and learning to invest are a few key strategies. It’s never too young to begin familiarizing yourself with the stock market, whether that means asking questions to someone who has experience, reading books or even experimenting with small investments. 


From my dad

“When I was 13, my dad taught me how to read the stock prices and performance numbers in the Wall Street Journal,” says Christopher A. “He opened a brokerage account for me then too [and] taught me that investing in my future is the most important investment.”


Becoming familiar with the stock market won’t happen overnight, but taking an educational approach and learning from your mistakes will serve you well. “[My dad] also said that a bad investment is better than no investment at all,” adds Christopher. “A bad investment will still pay a dividend, which is, the knowledge of what not to do next time.” 


3. Always put your best foot forward  

From time to time, life has its fair share of challenges. But with hard work and consistent effort, you can find personal and monetary success. It’s important to remember that things don’t always come easy, especially when you’re trying something new. Approaching tasks and opportunities with a positive attitude and giving your full effort both fulfilling and necessary for financial growth.


From my dad

 “I learned you have to work for your money,” says Pamela V. “I worked on the farm. I drove tractor and plowed and combined for harvest. I really enjoy working in the field because you go to see deer, fox and other animals. Also, the sunsets were always beautiful to watch.” 


4. Practice self-discipline with spending

While it can be tempting to buy the things you want — especially when you can place an online order in a matter of seconds — thinking carefully about your purchases and how they’ll serve you in the long run is a key part of mindful spending and establishing financial stability. 


From my dad

 “My dad told me, if you don’t need it, don’t buy it,” says Frank M. “And on a similar note, if you don’t have the money don’t buy it.” 


It makes sense to invest in necessary purchases you’ll use, but aim to get in the habit of skipping the less practical ones. Likewise, establish a careful budget and stick to it so you have the funds for what you truly need and don’t accumulate debt.


Have more financial questions? Find resources for your home, business and future goals on Financial IQ.