Six Financial Lessons From My Father


7 Financial Lessons

“As a child, my father taught me a lot about finances.  I ignored some of his advice; it went in one ear and out the other.  But now I am applying some of the principles he taught me!”

-Peerless Money Mentor




In my post No Vacations, No Thanks, Dave Ramsey, I wrote about how my father took me on trips when I was younger.

For three years, our annual summer trip was to Biloxi, Mississippi.  Then one year we finally went somewhere new!  I could not remember what had changed while writing that blog post.

Did my father get a raise?  Win the lotto?  I had no clue!

However, now it has come back to me!  My father was able to take us on better trips by applying key financial concepts to his life.

Financial principles he tried to teach me as an adolescent that I mostly ignored.  Let’s dive in and take a look at what my father was trying to teach me!

Six Financial Lessons

Here are the six financial lessons my father tried to teach me:

  1. Get a side hustle
  2. Pay yourself first
  3. Buy used cars
  4. Avoid mindless consumption
  5. Create your own business
  6. Give back

1) Get a Side Hustle

Financial Lessons

In addition to my father’s main job, he sold sweet potato and apple pies on the side!

He mostly sold individual pies for $1 a piece but during the holidays he would sell a whole pie for a price I cannot recall.  His customers were mostly from his hometown, St. Gabriel, La.

St. Gabriel, La is a very small, country town, about 30 minutes from downtown Baton Rouge, La.

Word of his delicious pies traveled fast.  I remember riding with him to deliver pies to people within the community.

Some would see him and affectionately refer to him as the “Pie Man.”  Plenty of times I would hear this question asked, “You got any more of those sweet potato pies!?”

“No, I am all out.  I’ll have some next week” my father would respond.

Eventually my dad’s pies sell in a few of the local corner stores.  But he stopped selling pies when the cost of the ingredients to make them rose, cutting heavily into his profits.

He still bakes pies for the family get-togethers during the holidays.  My favorite has and always will be the apple pies!

How I am applying this concept now:

In addition to running this blog, my main side hustles are driving for Uber and writing freelance articles.

2) Pay Yourself First

One of my very first lessons my dad taught me growing up was the concept of paying yourself first.  My dad purchased a piggy bank for me to store my small savings in.

When he gave me money to spend, he would ask, “Now how much of that are you going to save?”

I would place a dime or two in my piggy bank and spend the rest.

After a while, though, my piggy bank would fill up!  I would bust it open and spend all the money inside.

When I ended up broke, I would reach out to the Bank of Dad for another deposit.

Although having a piggy bank taught me the value of saving, I would fail miserably at saving later in life.  After hurricane Katrina, I would be given $10,000 from FEMA but I would spend a good portion of it frivolously.

How I am applying this concept now:

My savings are on autopilot.  When my check from my main job hits my checking account, $125 is automatically transferred to my savings!

3) Buy Used Cars

My father was able to take us on nice vacations because he did not buy new cars.  Whenever he needed to purchase a car, I would see him pay for it in cash.

When I was a junior in high school, he purchased a 1992 Toyota Corolla for me.  It broke down on me several times but I was grateful for the gift.  The car got me from point A to point B throughout high school and my first week at the University of New Orleans.

At the end of my first week at UNO, I left my car in New Orleans for the weekend.  This was bad timing because hurricane Katrina was in route.  My father would have me leave the car there to get washed away by the storm.

To replace my car, my father purchased a 1999 Nissan Altima for me.  It eventually ended up breaking down on me, which led to my horrible purchase of a 2012 Nissan Altima.

How I am applying this concept now:

While I failed to learn this financial lesson, I plan on buying my next car with cash.  I am a couple payments away from paying off my current car loan!

4) Avoid Mindless Consumption

My father has never cared much about designer clothing.  I will always remember that time when I wanted new shoes in third grade.

I did not want just any new shoe; I wanted a pair of Jordan’s so I could be fly like Mike!  All the cool kids at my elementary school was wearing them, and I wanted to fit in.

But my dad cared very little about my social status.  He showed up to my school with a pair of Chuck Taylor’s.  I cannot begin to tell you how upset I was.

Thousands of crocodile tears streamed down my face but my dad was unmoved.

He would always tell us stories of how he did not replace his shoes often while growing up.  “For the price of those Jordan’s, you can get two or three pairs.” he would quip.

Another area where he did not splurge much was on fashion.  While it was frustrating not having designer clothes growing up, I now realized my father saved a lot of money this way.

He spent money on stuff he truly valued. Vacations and his children!

How I am applying this concept now:

I do not care much about designer clothing.  While I will splurge once every other year on a pair of Jordan’s, I typically shop at discount stores like Burlington’s and T.J. Maxx.  I would rather spend my money on travel, like my father!

5) Create Your Own Business!

When I was in college, my father decided to quit his job and go into business for himself.  He purchased a dump truck and named his company Uhuru Trucking.

One day I tagged along to see what life was like as a trucker.  He would rise before the sun and inspect his truck thoroughly before getting on the road.

While I did not see myself wanting to become a trucker, I admired him for creating something of his own.  Sometimes he would delegate the task of handling the expense and income sheets to my sister and I.

The business would eventually fail due to a health scare my dad went through.  While I won’t go into detail here about the health issue, I thank the creator for allowing my father to be with us today.

How I am applying this concept now:

I have created this blog.  While I have not made much money from it, I have landed some freelance opportunities.

6) Give Back!

And I can’t help the poor if I’m one of them 
So I got rich and gave back to me that’s the win, win 


My father has always found a way to give back to the community.  When I played basketball in high school, he would buy fruit for the team to eat before the games.

In addition to that, he recorded most of our team’s home and away games.

He would also allow a friend of mine to tag along with us to local college basketball games.

Following in his footsteps, I try to give whenever I can.  Sometimes I can be too giving.  But I believe pursuing financial independence means much more if you have a plan to give back to those in need.

Even if you do not have the funds to help someone in need, you can always volunteer your time!

How I am applying this concept now:

I loan money to the poor through the micro-lending platform  Since I have been grinding non-stop lately, I have not had much time to volunteer.  I hope to do more volunteering once my loans are knocked out.

Missing Lesson on Investing

While my father taught me many financial lessons, he never taught me much about investing.  Honestly, I did not learn much about investing until after graduating from the University of New Orleans with two business degrees.

While saving money is good, investing money is better!  Investing money will allow you to reach financial freedom sooner rather than later.  Due to inflation, you might actually be losing money by having it parked in a savings account.  I’ll touch on that in a later post.

For now, If you are looking for a good book on the topic, I highly recommend a book titled The Coffeehouse Investor!


Community Feedback

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  • What side hustles did your parents have?
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Author: Jerry

Jerry is a Business Insider Contributing Writer who is obsessed with personal finance. He believes you can improve your financial situation by applying principles taught by the financial independence community to your financial life.

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6 thoughts on “Six Financial Lessons From My Father

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Kimberly! Did you encounter any struggles with trying to apply the financial lessons your father taught you?

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