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 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.
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!
Brian is a Dad, husband, and an IT professional by trade. A Personal Finance Blogger since 2013. Who, with his family, has successfully paid off over $100K worth of consumer debt. Now that Brian is debt-free, his mission is to help his three children prepare for their financial lives and educate others to achieved financial success. Brian is involved in his local community. As a Financial Committee Chair with the Board of Education of his local school district, he has helped successfully launch a K-12 financial literacy program in a six thousand student district.