My wife and I firmly believe that our mission in life as responsible parents is to embarrass our children as often as possible. By this measure we are great parents. In all honesty (no bias of any kind here) we are blessed with three fantastic kids. They range in age from 18-23, one is out of college, one will be a senior, and our youngest will be a college sophomore in the fall.
With Father’s Day almost upon us I was reflecting on what, if any impact having a Financial Planner as a father has had on them. I have no idea what the answer is but I thought I’d share some stories about my kids related to this topic over the years.
When the kids were very young I trained them to scream “Evil” every time a commercial for one of the major brokerage houses appeared on TV. This firm had an office here in Arlington Heights. They would scream “Evil” whenever we drove past. Can you say proud (fee-only) Dad?
I’ve officed at home as often as not since my career change to this profession in the mid 90s. The TVs around the house always had CNBC on during the business day. I never thought the kids noticed until one day our son Mike (now 18) was talking about the dismal performance of the NASDAQ with his soccer coach. The coach mentioned to us that he was bemoaning the performance of his investments to Mike until he realized that he was talking to a 9 year old.
Our daughter Jennifer (now 23) was 11 or 12 when she asked my wife what to do with some cash she had accumulated from gifts over the years. My wife suggested that perhaps she might talk to me about investing it. Her response was to ask if I was any good at that and if I would make her whole on any losses.
Our daughter Jordan (who is 21) is a liberal arts major (Anthropology and Religion). She is interested in helping to alleviate human suffering. None the less she has a good head for business. She was the Treasurer of her sorority and established a budget and a budget tracking system that she was able to pass on to her successor. She will be a Trade and Investment Intern at the British Consulate here in Chicago for the summer. She has law school aspirations and gives me very dirty looks when I suggest going for an MBA.
Jennifer graduated from USC in 2010 and landed a great job with the USC Institute for Creative Technologies in PR and web design. I called one Saturday shortly after she had graduated and had started working. I asked her what she was doing and she indicated that she was updating her information in the budgeting and tracking program Mint.com. I was expecting a different answer from a 21 year old in LA.
Hopefully you haven’t found these stories to be overly dull; they always bring a smile to my face as do my kids. Happy Father’s Day to all of the Dads out there.
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