Our very first introduction to money is the sound of jingling coins. From there on, the initial introduction to the concept of money and finance comes in when you go on shopping trips with your father and see him exchanging colourful pieces of paper with the shopkeeper. Growing up, children learn and absorb financial behaviour from the traits exhibited by their parents. In a way, our first financial gurus are our parents, and no matter what age we are, we turn to our dads for financial advice.
Each conversation or decision about matters pertaining to money, investments and retirement plans made by fathers eventually shapes up the next generation’s beliefs and attitude about financial preparedness. However, to err is human and even dads can get it wrong from time to time.
As we reside in a continually evolving world, traditional pieces of financial advice, passed on from the previous generation, may not always cater to the present best interests. There are certain areas where their advice still hits gold, and then there are some that can be outdated.
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OLD IS STILL GOLD
Stay miles away from debt
Our fathers have always been clear on their stance towards debt – not interested – and that’s an attitude everyone should adopt. On every first of the month, you may see him taking care of all his bills. Timely payment of bills is the cornerstone of healthy financial behaviour as it leaves no room for debt or default. If you are a credit cardholder, it becomes all the more imperative to do so in order to avoid extra charges or a dent on your credit score. Even a one-time default can land pretty hard on your credit score.
Save a penny today to enjoy on a rainy day
Our fathers may not be the biggest fans of credit cards, financial planning and saving is one thing that they swear by. For our fathers, the goals may have been simpler – owning a house, securing children’s’ education, and preparing for retirement – they achieved all of it by the virtue of meticulous financial planning. Keeping track of each rupee is the best lesson that fathers pass on to their young ones, as one can never go wrong with saving up. While the goals change with every new generation, saving from an early age is a habit that will help in the long run.
Knowledge is key
Fathers have always believed in applying the power of knowledge in all areas of life, especially while making financial decisions. Whether it is the purchase of the first car or a house, fathers would first do their due diligence before taking the final call and would insist that all family members do so. It stands true in the current scenario as well. For instance, a car is useless unless you know how to drive it or you may get a credit card but it is of no use unless you have a thorough understanding of how it works. With matters of money specifically, the more that you research, the better it will be for you.
Conservative attitude towards credit
Fathers are always mindful of their spending patterns. Despite the advanced payment methods available at our disposal, cash continues to be the king for them. There remains deep-seated distress towards the thought of using credit cards as freely as a debit card or cash. The irregular use stems from a fear of spending beyond budget, falling into debt trap or becoming the next prey of a credit card scammer. In a country like India where youngsters constitute a big part of the population, access to credit and credit cards is important. It enables them to achieve the aspirational lifestyle they wish to lead, and fulfil their desire for better things in life. To put it in a nutshell, holding a credit card to one’s name instils a sense of responsibility from an early stage. After all, there is no better way to teach youngsters than leading by example.
Lack of conversations about money
In an Indian household system, conversations about money are mostly hush-hush and conducted among a few. Youngsters are rarely ever included in it, if ever, as a result, they grow up to become adults who are suddenly handed over the responsibility to manage their own finances with limited know-how. It is high time fathers started talking about financial matters openly with their kids, discussed the family’s financial objectives with them, in turn helping them become financially literate. It can be something as simple as what credit cards do, why credit is important or how to maintain a budget.
Staying away from digital platforms
The advancements in technology have ensured that one can manage their money with limited hassles. Fathers don’t need to spend hours poring over bills, cataloguing them and maintaining books, as the same can be seamlessly done via digital payment platforms which can help track finances and also ensures timely bill payments. By getting over the reservations regarding digital options and apps, our fathers can set themselves up for automated tracking and payments, thus eliminating any need for worrying.
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