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Men's financial priorities shift when they become dads

MMI Copywriter

By Kim McGrigg, MMI Community Manager

Raising a son or daughter is the most important and longest job a father will ever have. This Father’s Day we recognize the 70 million dads around the country for their contribution to raising the next generation. In addition to being a driver, chef, and janitor, the job of parent requires men to teach their children about a seemingly endless number of subjects.

One thing children learn from their fathers is how to manage money. In a recent survey by the NFCC, the majority of respondents indicated that they learned the most about personal finance from their parents.   And a study by ING DIRECT found that nearly all parents feel responsible for their children’s financial education.  While there is some concern that parents don’t feel adequately prepared to teach their children about money, what might matter most is the example that they are setting.

Most people can increase their financial literacy by reading books, taking classes, or talking to experts.  But making the right financial choices isn’t only about knowledge – it’s about putting that knowledge to good use.  Unfortunately, the survey by ING DIRECT revealed that only three out of ten parents think that they are "excellent" financial role models. 

While many dads may not feel like “excellent” role models, there is some evidence that becoming a father causes men to adjust their financial priories for the good of their families.

  • Dads are good providers – More dads said they’d “get another job if they couldn’t pay the mortgage or the rent” (43% vs. 28%), and more believe that “purchasing a home today is a good investment” (75% vs. 67%) than men with no children.  (From “Home Ownership” survey, June 2011)
  • Dads do what it takes to help financially – More dads said they’d “put off plans for buying a car” (48% vs. 30%), “put off plans for buying a house” (25% vs. 16%), and “shop at less expensive stores” (61% vs. 52%) compared to men without children to help maintain their families’ financial condition during a difficult economy.  (From “Financial Literacy Month” survey, March 2009)
  • Dads have their priorities right – When asked what the silver lining might be in a tough economy, more dads said they were “spending more quality time with family and friends” (42% vs. 26%) compared to men without children.  (From “Financial Literacy Month” survey, March 2009)
  • Dads are sensible about unplanned-for money – More dads than men with no children would take care of “an obligation” with a tax refund (53% vs. 38%).  (From “Tax Time” survey, February 2007)

This Father’s Day, consider the financial lessons your dad taught you by example.  And this Father's Day, remember that one of the most important gifts you can give to a parent is to simply say “thanks.”

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How to throw a party for less than $50

 

When planning a party, it’s easy to get caught up in the desire to impress with glitz and glitter and overspend. However, it is possible to throw a great party while staying within your budget. Here’s some advice on throwing a fun, yet frugal, party your friends will remember.

Step 1: Pick your price. Ask yourself: “How much can I reasonably afford to spend on this party while still meeting my other financial obligations?” Set your limit and stick to it. Even if you only have $50 to spend on your party, you can still throw a party that your guests will love.

Step 2: Consider the details. The “who, what, where, when, and why” of your party can have a major impact on your party budget. Make some cost-conscious choices, like inviting fewer guests, hosting the party at a free location such as your home, and holding the party at a time when serving appetizers instead of a full meal is appropriate.

Step 3: Budget for the big three. Food and drink, decorations, and entertainment are the three big-budget categories for any get together. Decide how you want to allocate your party budget and look for creative ways to save in the other categories. Following are some ideas:

Food and drink

  • Potlucks are a frugal way to feed your guests and get them involved. Particularly in the case of big celebrations, your family and friends will likely be happy to help contribute to the meal.
  • Alcohol is a big budget breaker; ask guests to bring their own if they wish.
  • Combine simple, inexpensive ingredients to create delicious dishes. Cheap Eats, MMI's free eBook, has plenty of frugal recipe ideas for your party.

Decorations

  • Consider simple decorations that evoke more than one sense. Scented candles, for example, can help set the party ambiance.

Entertainment

  • Center your party around an event to provide all the entertainment you need without costing you much. Think sporting events, popular TV shows or movies, or a National Regifting Day regifting party.

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About Money Management International

Money Management International (MMI) is a nonprofit, full-service credit counseling agency, providing confidential financial guidance, financial education, counseling, and debt management assistance to consumers since 1958. MMI helps consumers trim their expenses, develop a spending plan, and repay debts. Counseling is available by appointment in branch offices and 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by telephone and Internet. Services are available in English or Spanish. To learn more, call
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