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Dad’s a Financial Planner I’m Scarred for Life


Father's Little Dividend

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.

If you have financial questions or would like to learn more about how I help my clients achieve their goals please contact me.

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  1. Roger, I love the kids stories. Sounds like they learned quite a bit, in spite of or because of you. As a mom, I’m always happy when something I think is important actually sinks in to jrs life.

    • Roger Wohlner says:

      Barbara thanks for the comment. We are fortunate that all three kids have good heads on their shoulders and also have a good deal of common sense. As a fellow parent I’m sure you know the gratification of seeing your kids become great young adults.

  2. That’s encouraging! I always try to instill science, history and financial learnings in our kids’ upbringing and they seem more interested in farting contests and the most creative ways to work poopy into a sentence. I’ll be sure to embarrass them plenty as they grow up though!

    • Roger Wohlner says:

      Our kids (19, 21,and 23) are still goofballs and are a riot when all together. Thankfully growing up has not stopped the fun part of our family dynamic, in some ways it has served to enhance it.

  3. I love reading things like this. Our little boy is only a year and half old, but I have a feeling he’ll sound a lot like your kids. I’m an accountant and I know that instilling responsible money behaviors is important to my wife and I. It sounds like you did a super job with your kids!

    • Roger Wohlner says:

      Justin thanks for the comment. First it is amazing how quickly the time goes by with kids, enjoy all of it. I suspect that with the two of you as parents your son and any siblings that might come along will learn many great lessons on frugality and finances. I’m always amazed at what my kids as young adults recall about their life at home, financial and otherwise.

  4. Roger, this was just plain funny. Nice post!


  1. […] my first financial literacy guru too! Roger Wohlner from The Chicago Financial Planner presents Dad’s a Financial Planner I’m Scarred for Life, and says, “With Father’s Day almost upon us I was reflecting on what, if any impact having […]

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