Father’s Day: What My Dad Taught Me about Life

Some of the links included in this article are from our sponsors. Read our Advertiser Disclosure.

In honor of Father’s Day and my dad, I hope you enjoy this post

On this Father’s Day, I wanted to share what my dad taught me about life and personal finance. Early this year I outlined my parent’s financial story. I did this in hopes to better understand how I may have gotten into my own financial trouble. What I learned was that my parents were particularly hard workers, especially my dad. This is not to diminish my mom’s accomplishments, she was a stay-at-home mom for years raising five children, but this is my dad story.

My Dad

My dad was born in 1936 in Brooklyn and passed away in 2008 in Florida at the age of 72. New York State law requires once you retire that you moved to Florida. 🙂 My dad always worked. As a teenager, he had part-time jobs. After graduating high school he joined the Navy. After being discharged from the Navy, he landed a job with the local water company and work there for 32 years. During those 32 years and raising a growing family, he worked second jobs, side hustled, worked overtime during weekend and Holidays. He later returned to the Navy as a reservist and served for another 16 years.

Even after retiring he took a part-time job for a car service. No matter how much time he spent working to bring in the extra money for the family he was always there for school and sporting events for his five children. As I got older I grew to appreciate this more about my dad, his work ethic, his dedication to his family. He had a few demons as well. He was a recovering alcoholic. He found sobriety in 1975 when I was five. I have heard my dad tell his story several times about his drinking days, and not once did his abuse impact his ability to get work or provide for his family.

After retirement, my parents moved, away I would call them every week or so to check in with them. I don’t recall the exact time frame, but it was a year or two before he passed away in one of our phone conversation which typically was brief usually a quick recap on how each other was doing and how our favorite sports team were fairing as well. I told my dad I was proud of him. Proud of his recovery, proud of his work ethic, proud of the lessons he taught me along the way. He’d always end the conversation by telling me to take care of the kids, my children his grandchildren.

In July 2008 my dad became ill, complications from an early heart attack. I had a family vacation planned with my wife and three children to visit my in-laws in California and celebrate my youngest son’s Birthday. I spoke to my dad a few days before taking the trip I wanted to know if I should visit him or go on vacation. He told me to take the family on vacation. I did. A few days into the trip I received a call from my brother that I needed to get Florida that dad was in bad shape. I flew that night and arrived the next morning. I was hoping to go directly to the hospital to visit with my dad. Unfortunately, he had passed in the night. I had missed my chance to say goodbye. In my last conversation with my dad, he ended our conversation like he normally would tell me to take care of those kids. That’s exactly what I plan on doing dad, teaching them to work hard at no matter what they do and of course to manage their finances better than I ever have.

father's day

Although he never got to witness our debt free journey or the help I offered to mom, I’m sure he knows. Happy Father’s Day, dad. I love and miss you!

28 thoughts on “Father’s Day: What My Dad Taught Me about Life”

  1. What an incredible work ethic! I can only imagine how bored my parents were, sitting through all those school concerts and soccer meets, but it always meant the world to me that they were there. Your dad sounds awesome and, even better, that he instilled in your how important family is!

    • Thanks Mel. I’m sure your parents weren’t bored. I have sat through my share of these events for my children and I’m always excited to see them participate in something they enjoy.

  2. Very nice tribute to your Dad, Brian! I’m sorry he did not live longer. My Mum died at 73 and I think this was too young. My Dad actually worked until the age of 71. Thankfully, he is still alive.

    BTW, I don’t know why I am missing all your posts. They don’t come up in my blogreader… grrr.

  3. Your dad sounds like a great parent and role model Brian. Sorry he to hear he passed but his legacy will always live on through you and your children. Life will have many curve balls but your dad always valued the most important thing, family.

  4. What loving recognition of your father and his dedication to family! While I know it’s hard not to have him here any longer, I’m sure he’s very proud of the father you are and all the hard work you’re doing for your family. Happy Father’s Day, Brian.

  5. “Take care of the kids” – that’s job #1 for Dad’s and it’s a shame that there are so many families right now that do not have that influence. It sounds like your’s knew where the focus should be, Great post – thanks for sharing on Father’s Day.

    • Thanks Kalie. I do too. My dad show such a great work ethic and dedication to his family over many ups and downs and it’s something I will always remember.

  6. People often feel badly about “not being there” when a loved one passes, but the truth is, you were there for your dad. It sounds like you had a very good relationship, and it’s wonderful that you told him how much you appreciated him. The fact that he wanted you to take your family on vacation instead of visiting him says a great deal about his character. Thanks for sharing this Fathers’ Day post, Brian.

    • Thanks Ruth. It was upsetting at that moment to realize I wouldn’t see him one last time, but when I look back I was at peace with the decision, because I knew it something he would have wanted.

  7. Such a nice article about your father. We typically “inherit” our parents attitudes towards money, spending and debt. Glad to see you worked your way out of it and to have had such a positive teacher and influence in your life.

  8. Hi Brian,

    A very touching post. What a guy your Dad. Wish he could have lived much longer so he could see all “those kids” he always told you took take care of grow up.

    He legacy lives on.

  9. It is great your dad could pass on these lessons to you. I have learned from my dad (the good and bad) and I plan to do the same (the good and bad) for my very small children. Thankfully, I have a good wife by my side to help as well.

Comments are closed.