SURVEY SAYS: Financial Advice From Dad

Sunday was Father’s Day.

Fathers give their children advice about a great number of things in life.

But, last week, I asked NewsDash readers, “Did your father give you financial advice, or advice specifically about retirement savings?” I also asked readers to share some of the best financial or retirement advice their father offered.

More than two-thirds (67.7%) of responding readers reported their father gave them financial advice, while 32.3% said they didn’t. About advice specific to retirement savings and planning, 38.7% indicated their fathers gave them such advice, and 61.3% said they didn’t.

Financial or retirement savings advice from their father’s shared by readers included:

Pay yourself 10% of what you make for retirement before you pay anything else.

My father was not good with money so his advice was to learn fiscal responsibility from mom.

My dad said to first make sure you get your house paid for, because it is easier to be hungry with a roof over your head than to be hungry and have no place to sleep.

“Always have at least $20,000 in an account that you can get to in an emergency.”

The only “good” debt is an educational loan, a mortgage, or one modest car loan if you need it. Otherwise, live debt-free.

Paying interest, other than for a mortgage, was basically a “sin” in our home.

Always live below your means so you have a cushion.

My grandfather told me to invest in utilities. I invested both my time and my money, and now I’ll be retiring from a utility at age 61.

Unfortunately my Dad passed away when I was 12. I learned on my own to save. As a teenager, I used an envelope system to divide the money I earned from babysitting and other jobs. Now, I still save and invest but in different ways. When I was 16, I wanted to have made a million dollars and calculated how that could happen. So saving has been a part of my life all along. I wish young people of today would seek the advice of us ‘elders’ to help dream big.

My father always turned every learning opportunity into financial advice, some of the best that have remained with me are: 1) start saving at a young age and grow your nest egg exponentially larger than if saving is delayed. 2) Don’t make rash purchases, take time to think about the need, walk away, do the math, and only then with a clear conscience and clear head, make the decision. 3) There’s no such thing as a free dog/cat!

Money doesn’t grow on trees!!

As a single parent, my mom was both mother and father. She led by example. She didn’t carry any debt, and if she couldn’t afford something, she didn’t buy it. Best advice anyone could get. As an adult, I have paid off two houses and am living debt free at 55. The best retirement and financial advice I could have every received was from my mom’s example. Don’t accumulate debt. Pretty darn simple

He instilled in me at a young age the importance of saving.

Needs and wants are different. Plan for the needs and save for the wants.

My Dad practiced saving first and adjust your lifestyle to live on what is left. In essence, always live below your means.

As a woman, not having a father in my life was ‘advice’ — learned to be fiercely independent.

Start contributing to your 401(k) as soon as you’re eligible.

My dad believed in disciplined saving and equity investments. Even after retirement, he was fully invested in equities.

Neither of my parents offered me financial advice, not sure what that means…

Pay cash whenever possible so you don’t overspend. Don’t live above your means. Always pay your bills on time. Don’t forget to pay yourself. Follow these simple rules and you should have a healthy financial future.

Don’t borrow money unless you can make money.

When the tooth fairy left a quarter, he said spend a nickel and save 20 cents. His advice was unwavering- “Save, save, save!”

In verbatim comments about financial advice from Dad, readers shared their progress/results from taking Dad’s advice, such as the one whose father said to keep $20,000 in emergency savings. One reader explained Dad’s words of wisdom, “There is no free dog/cat.” Readers also shared more advice from fathers and grandfathers; one shared lessons he’s teaching his children, and one shared the advice the reader gave to parents. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said: “So I saved and saved and saved, and I'm retiring next year in my mid-fifties. THANK YOU Daddy!!!!!” 

A big thanks to all who participated in the survey.


Although he didn't practice his advice. I am hoping to retire in a few years around 55 years of age. It worked for me.

One day, my brother and I were ages 10 and 13 and we decided to play poker with our allowance. My dad sat down with us and proceeded to win all of our money, and never gave it back. His advice: never gamble with money that you can't afford to lose as the house always wins in the end.

I just wish I had listened to my father when I was younger to start saving for retirement. Then I might not have to work until I'm 70.

Not only was he right, but any time I dip below that, even for an emergency, I know he's looking down and disapproving!

His loathing of credit card debt has served me well!

My grandfather, who suffered raising 4 children during the great depression, told me to save $.10 out of every $1.00. Great advice to a child and look where we would all be if we followed his advice.

He shared it very seldom - but lived that way for decades. He was able to set up a retirement savings plan and finalize it while suffering from a terminal illness - which has been a huge example of courage, sacrifice and comfort.

Growing up in a rural area and being an animal lover lost/stray animals frequently showed up, some of which were my doing. He was correct, while they might be free initially, the cost of food, vet bills, etc. certainly add up! I think about that advice often but it never impacted my actions to take in "just one more"!

Dad was never a big spender; he was a saver, and when he retired, he was the same way. When he finally went into a nursing home, we had no concerns about his ability to stay there for a good long time.

Dad was in the military, so I don't think he thought about saving for retirement, because he didn't have to.

I have always lived that way, and it's allowed my husband and me to have enough savings to provide us a comfortable retirement, even though neither of us have pensions. Thanks Dad!

I've met young employees that say their fathers tell them (1) they must be in the 401(k) plan and (2) where to invest in the 401(k) plan -- and usually it's good advice!

save save and save

Dad always said not to be afraid of the stock market. "Regardless of what the market does," he said, "you don't have a loss until you actually sell. Sit tight and wait it out." Good advice.

As a Dad, I'm trying to teach my kids how to balance science & math with history: hopefully this will lead them to financial success by not repeating mistakes of the past.

My dad had his own small business so his retirement was what he saved and invested on his own. He always stressed that you are responsible for your own retirement so start saving early and invest wisely. He retired at the age of 57 and is still going strong at 87.

When I started working in the retirement services industry (over 30 years ago) and my Dad was in his 50s and still working, I offered him some advice about saving additional funds in an IRA. He was lucky enough to have completely Employer funded retirement plans, a profit sharing plan and an ESOP, but no pension plan.

So I saved and saved and saved, and I'm retiring next year in my mid-fifties. THANK YOU Daddy!!!!!


NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not necessarily the stance of Asset International or its affiliates.