Thoughts On Money


Pearls of Wisdom

Pipe

Hello and welcome to the latest publication of Thoughts on Money.  Before we get started today, I wanted to recommend that you listen to the most recent Dividend Café podcast/vidcast that was published earlier this week.  Here you’ll find The Bahnsen Group Investment Committee discussing all things trade war and what a prudent portfolio manager ought to be focused on in times such as these.  I know you will really enjoy it!

Dividend Café Special Edition Podcast/Vidcast  

Now back to our normal programming…

In 2018 my wife and I welcomed our beautiful baby boy into the world.  It has been a whirlwind of a year, and I just can’t believe how fast life is passing us by.  As I contemplate about the future, I begin to think about what type of parent I aspire to be and the life lessons I want to pass down to my son.

As a financial advisor, these thoughts naturally drift towards how I want to teach our kids about money.  The world of personal finance is a complex one, full of complicated equations, rules and regulations, competing philosophies, and an endless number of strategies.

So, what is a parent to do?  Could there be some timeless wisdom that one might be able to pass down to the next generation?  I believe so.  Today on TOM, we will cover three finance tidbits to pass down to your children.

And off we go…

  1. Give First

Most personal finance books start with this advice, “pay yourself first.”  This is a common adage and an encouragement for folks to save before they spend.  For my son, I will encourage him to give first.

The idea is to remind ourselves that money isn’t something to obsess over or to covet, but rather a tool to fund one’s goals.  In life, I have had countless experiences of friends, family, and even strangers going out of their way to invest in me.  As cliché as this may sound, I feel called to “pay it forward” a theme made popular recently in a book and movie of the same name.  Giving is not a natural thing for most people to do.  Most certainly, not something we do before we ‘give’ to ourselves.

The advice I will give my son is that simply by the act of giving first, he might develop a healthy relationship to money and that he will find joy in investing in others. I will encourage my son to set giving goals, just like one might set savings goals.  I will advise him to be accountable to these goals and to be diligent about looking for new opportunities to give to.

  1. Know Your Numbers

This advice will always stick with me.  An old boss used to tell me, “Know your numbers.”  Even saying it now, I can hear his voice.  He stressed the importance of knowing all your numbers for your business – to know your year-over-year revenue growth, to be able to recite your monthly expenses from the previous quarter, to have your sales targets committed to memory, and so on.

He didn’t advise this to challenge my memorization skills, but rather, he knew that this type of familiarity and awareness is what leads to clarity and perspective of my current and future financial state, one of the engines behind my life’s goals.  When you have an intimate understanding of your numbers, you start to see the patterns and identify the opportunities for how you might improve on your business or your personal finances.

Just like sports fanatics store all kinds of statistics on their favorite players and teams, you should have this same familiarity with your personal finances.  You should know what percentage of your income you saved last year; you should know exactly how much you spent over the last three months, you should know how much you pay in taxes, you should know your numbers.

My son doesn’t even know the number “one” just yet…but as he learns, I hope he applies this principle to his life.

  1. Be Patient

My son is going to grow up in the era of instant gratification – you can do just about everything from a simple push of a button on your phone: food delivery, plane tickets, transfer money to friends, etc.  For some, patience may become an antiquated virtue.

Many of the tenets of personal finance depend on one’s ability to be patient.  Dave Ramsey, a personal finance radio host, says it this way, “One definition of maturity is learning to delay pleasure.”  This may be the toughest advice to adhere to, as it is antithetical to the instant gratification movement, but when it comes to using money wisely, patience is often the answer.

At times, you might need to be patient with a purchase that you really want to make now – a new toy, a new car, or a new house.  At times, your patience might be tested when your investments aren’t going as you hoped they would.  Other times, you may need to be patient as you work towards your dream job.  If your patience permeates your approach to money, I believe you will be blessed many times over by it.

***

“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.”
― Albert Einstein

And that’s it.  Simple.  Give first, know your numbers, and be patient.  I hope my son can glean truth from these three pearls of wisdom that will help him along his own financial journey.

Perhaps you have your own pearls of wisdom that you plan to pass down.  I would love to hear them.  You can email me at tcummings@thebahnsengroup.com.

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