Father's Day advice from financial experts

This article has been provided by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC).

Advice is only as good as its source, and in this case the advice comes from those who have decades of experience providing financial guidance: executives of National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC) member agencies.

When asked to complete the sentence “If I knew then what I know now” with what they’d have done different financially, those who offer financial advice and solutions to consumers each day provided the following fatherly advice - from the head and the heart - for people beginning their financial journey:

  • "Require myself to wait at least 24 hours before making any major purchase; and I’m not sure 48 hours wouldn’t be a better suggestion. I still regret the emotional and impulsive decision that I made when I saw that old “Smokey and the Bandit” Trans-Am parked on the car lot many years ago. Despite the puddle of fluids accumulated on the passenger side floor-board, this was my dream car and I went in and signed paperwork without even taking it for a test drive. Worst financial decision ever! Although numerous hikes from a car broken down on the side of the road did provide a lot of exercise, I let my “wants” override my “needs” and paid for it over many years. Now, I find that if I just sleep on it for a day or two and give my mind a chance to consider all of the consequences and possibilities, I make a much more financially responsible decision."
  • "I have three wonderful sons. They are all big strapping men who are kind, gentle and intelligent. When they were growing up I, like many of my generation, spoiled them. I didn’t require them to mow the yard or do any of the chores that my father put me through. (He was a former tech sergeant during WWII.) When I became a dad I vowed that I would not make my sons do the required labor that my father imposed on me. What I should have done was seek a happy medium. Earning money and understanding the relationship between working hard and financial reward is so important. There’s a hunger that comes with wanting something so bad you will work tirelessly to earn the income to achieve it."
  • "My agency continues to see clients with overwhelming student loan obligations, and this year we’re seeing graduates with more debt than any other class before them. Therefore, I would stress the importance of saving for college. This is something I’m working on with my own kids and something I hope they pass along to theirs. A person can start by setting up a 529 plan or even just creating separate savings accounts for each child at an early age. Also, consider having them contribute to it so they are a part of the process. It might even make them study harder."
  • "Seek professional management of your retirement savings early in your career. I saved a lot relative to my earnings and have been relatively conservative in my spending habits, but I have seen the real benefit of having someone follow my investments and pick the best managers for my retirement savings. It has really made a difference."
  • "I would have lobbied earlier and harder to have financial education included as part of my school district’s curriculum."
  • "Know that there are two ways of getting everything you want in life: 1) work harder and accumulate more, or 2) desire less. When I accepted number 2, life was much more enjoyable."

Jesse Campbell is the Content Manager at MMI, focused on creating and delivering valuable educational materials that help families through everyday and extraordinary financial challenges.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.
  • The National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER) is the nation’s oldest and largest higher education finance trade association. NCHER’s membership includes state, nonprofit, and for-profit higher education service organizations, including lenders, servicers, guaranty agencies, collection agencies, financial literacy providers, and schools, interested and involved in increasing college access and success. It assists its members in shaping policies governing federal and private student loan and state grant programs on behalf of students, parents, borrowers, and families.

  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.