As parents, we teach our kids about finances whether we know it or not. Sometimes it’s intentional, and sometimes they just observe it. Some lessons are good ones, and some, unfortunately, are not. Today I’ll share both what I learned from my dad and also what I teach my kids.

Let’s start off with lessons from my dad.

1. Slow and steady wins the race. When I was a kid, my dad worked a lot, including three jobs most of the time, and he always made sure to save for retirement. I’m sure it wasn’t a big percentage, but by doing it consistently over a long period of time, he was able to save a good amount of money for retirement.

2. Nobody on their deathbed ever wished they spent more time at the office. My dad said this all the time, and I still like hearing it from him to this day because it helps keep things in perspective. It’s easy to get caught up in work, but your kids need your attention too. You need to remember to enjoy life because sadly, we don’t all make it to retirement!

3. A system doesn’t have to be sophisticated to work. I always remember my dad using an index card system for paying bills, saving etc. It all fit in a 5-by-7-inch box and he still uses the same one to this day. Just find a system that works for you and follow it.

4. Pay yourself first! I’m always amazed at how people say they have no money to save but do for other bills. There is no one more important that you owe money to than yourself!

5. Don’t be afraid to take chances. Many times my dad told me about opportunities he had but regretted not taking. I totally understand not wanting to take chances when you have a family. So do it as early in life as you can or take them strategically when you are older.

6. You may not need to go to college to be successful. Some of my wealthiest clients are skilled tradesmen.

What do I teach my own kids? I have a little different perspective due to what I do for a living, so clearly my kids have an advantage.

1. Save more than you think you can and start earlier than you think you can. If you save $100 month and do it for 60 years, you’ll have around $2.3 million. Now imagine saving $200 or $3,000! That’s a lot of money.

2. Spend/share/save — My kids, due to their ages, are required to put ⅓ away for spending money, ⅓ for long-term savings and ⅓ to give to others. This isn’t feasible when they get older but 20% savings, 10% sharing and 70% spending is! Give back whether it’s money, time, or influence.

3. Teach them about investing and compound interest. $1 today is about $100 in 60 years invested at 8% and $176 at 9%. So how bad do you really want that Xbox game? If it’s $50, it will cost you $5000 in the future.

4. Good debt vs. bad debt. If it goes up in value, it’s good debt. If not, then it’s bad debt. Period.

5. Passive income is better than earned income. It sure would be nice to have income you don’t work for right? That’s called passive income. Think rental property, lending etc. Find an area you’d be comfortable investing in and collect the potential future rewards.

T. Eric Reich, CIMA, CFP, CLU, ChFC is president and founder of Reich Asset Management and can be reached at 609-486-5073 or

Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. Reich Asset Management, LLC is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by Kestra Investment Services, LLC or Kestra Advisory Services, LLC. This is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor with regard to your individual situation.

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