10 Priceless Financial Lessons Taught by Dads


Mercer Advisors team members share the financial lessons they learned from their fathers that they still treasure today.

Dad sharing priceless financial lessons

Throughout life, we often turn to our fathers for guidance and advice on various events, chapters, and milestones. In honor of Father’s Day, we asked team members at Mercer Advisors to share the valuable pieces of financial wisdom their fathers imparted to them.

1. There are no short cuts – persistence is key for long-term financial freedom

My dad wasn’t one for shortcuts. He believed in putting in the hard work, and his dedication to his career was undeniable. He managed to juggle work and family life with admirable ease, all while meticulously tracking the finances of his own business and our family (with the help of our mom, of course). He instilled in me a deep respect for responsible money management. Now, seeing him comfortably retired, financially secure, and able to travel the world with my mom – that’s the ultimate testament to the power of his dedication. It’s a constant reminder that building a strong financial foundation, brick by brick, year after year, is the key to long-term security and freedom, all while making time for the things that truly matter.

Sloan Petereit, CFP®, CDFA®
Sr. Financial Planner

2. Save and invest, tax-free

One of the first financial planning items that I learned from my dad came when I got my first job. He introduced me to the idea of saving to a Roth IRA and having the growth compound tax free for decades. I started this account when I was a teenager, and I learned a lot about investing early along with the tax benefits of a Roth IRA.

Jack W. McCloskey, CFP®
Sr. Wealth Advisor, Sr. Director

3. Spend wisely and enjoy the great outdoors

My dad, who came from Peru, showed me important financial lessons more by what he did than what he said. He ran his business for almost 40 years and, throughout, he showed me how important it is to work hard, manage a business well, make smart investments, and spend money wisely. He also taught me to love adventure. He took me on camping trips to different places in the Western U.S., showing me that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy the beauty of nature.

Rudolph E. Brandes, JD, LLM, CFP®
Sr. Wealth Advisor

4. Leave room for generosity

I have always admired my dad’s approach to generosity and giving. From a young age, he taught me the importance of being generous with my time, talents, and treasures. Our lives, time, wealth, and resources are gifts to be stewarded wisely and used not only for our own benefit, but to invest in the people and causes we care most about, both locally and globally.

Alexa Willis, CFP®
Wealth Advisor

5. Respect money

My dad taught me that respecting money was all about respecting the person whose time went into earning it. That also translated to respecting the “things” purchased with money, such as taking care of my bike and keeping my wallet (with cash in it) orderly.

Dad also taught me that respecting money does not mean giving it power over us because that can cause conflict or break relationships – we need to guard against giving it that power.

Alan D. Thomson, CFP®
Sr. Wealth Advisor

6. Diversify

I learned the value of diversification from my father. We grew up on a farm in Minnesota and we planted corn AND soybeans, rather than focusing on just one crop. Having multiple crops allowed my father to sell whichever had a better price and store the other in our silos for future sales. Each harvest was unpredictable for which crop would have better yield or what the price would be, so having options allowed my father to smooth out his “returns”.

David Kerber, CFP®, CRPC®, ABFP®, MPAS®
Sr. Wealth Advisor, Sr. Director

7. Manage cash flow

Observing my father, who was a career missionary and never made more than $60,000 per year before retiring, managing cash flow was such a blessing. He was able to pay off his house, educate five kids, and be “economically free” by age 60 because he was a shrewd manager of his cash flow. It wasn’t about the money in his bank account, it was what he did with what he had that made the impact.

Matt Cook, CFP®
Managing Director

8. Learn how to be financially literate

In high school, my father taught me how to prepare our family’s tax return. When tax time came around, my father and I would go to the public library and pull all the tax worksheets from the shelves. As a former mathematician, he taught me how to be careful with numbers, understand how one number influences others, review my work, and feel proud of the outcome. Throughout this, I also learned how not to be intimidated by complex instructions and to be financially literate. I attribute this very activity to spawning the career I have in financial planning today.

Jennifer Baick, MBA, CFP®, CDFA®
Vice President, Financial Planning Group

9. Work hard and make time for family

I learned many things from my father, but two things come to mind. The first was the value of hard work. My dad (and grandfather) are/were incredibly hardworking men. Most of my childhood, my dad was out the door and working long before I was even awake. Which ties into the second lesson I learned, which was to make time for family. One of the reasons he would start work so early was so he could always attend soccer games, swim meets, or baseball games in the afternoons. The balance of hard work and focus on family are two very impactful lessons that I learned from him.

Josh DeForest, CFA, CFP®
Executive Managing Director

10. Educate yourself on finance

Growing up, The Wall Street Journal was a constant fixture in our household. Most Fridays, my dad would tune into Wall Street Week to learn what the market leaders had to say about that week’s events. What remains with me today is the importance of financial education and literacy. I feel so fortunate that I’m able to use my knowledge to positively impact others as they navigate their path to financial independence.

David Gardner, CFP®, EA
Sr. Wealth Advisor, Director

Would you like to know more about these Mercer Advisors team members? You can find their bios in our advisory team directory.

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Mercer Advisors Inc. is a parent company of Mercer Global Advisors Inc. and is not involved with investment services. Mercer Global Advisors Inc. (“Mercer Advisors”) is registered as an investment advisor with the SEC. The firm only transacts business in states where it is properly registered or is excluded or exempted from registration requirements.

All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author as of the date of publication and are subject to change. Some of the research and ratings shown in this presentation come from third parties that are not affiliated with Mercer Advisors. For financial planning advice specific to your circumstances, talk to a qualified professional at Mercer Advisors.

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