My dad taught me a lot about money. I didn’t have an allowance as a kid, but I was able to work around the house and on the farm for an hourly wage. Some things weren’t paid (taking out the trash, cleaning my room, clearing the table) while others were (mowing the yard, painting barns).
I’ve had a saving account as long as I can remember and Dad took me to the bank to open a checking account in middle school. I saved for and bought my first vehicle, though he and Mom surprised me with some “Happy Birthday” financial assistance when I pulled out my checkbook to buy that 1994 Ford Ranger.
Of all the financial lessons he taught me, two stand out.
Just because someone has nice things, doesn’t mean they have money. I had started to notice that other people had more and nicer possessions than we did, and I asked Dad about that. He told me about this thing called debt and said, “Brian, anybody can have stuff. You go to the bank or the store and borrow money. But that stuff isn’t really yours, you’re paying someone else for the privilege of using something you don’t own.”
Secondly, unless you’re a taxi driver, Never have a car payment. We were in town during lunch one day and saw a friend from church. He was 16 (I was 10 or 11) and showing off his new car. Later my dad told me that a car is one of the worst items for which to borrow money. He explained depreciation. He told me to borrow only for things that make money (houses), not things that depreciate like cars and electronics. His advice has saved me plenty of money when I consider how much I’ve saved in 10+ years by never paying interest or full-coverage insurance for a car.