3 Things About Personal Finance I Wish My Father Taught Me Earlier
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3 Things About Personal Finance I Wish My Father Taught Me Earlier

Dion Lim
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Like most Asian kids these days, my main role as a student was to study well and get into a good university/job.

Which was what I did for the past 10 years – to be independent and do well on the ‘model student’ path. 

It was not until my Quarter Life Crisis last year, which really pushed me to explore more opportunities out in the working world.

To be more financially independent at the age of 20  – which then brought me here to Seedly.  

My dad was not particularly supportive of it – he wanted me to solely focus on my studies. 

Before coming to Seedly, I am pretty much financially illiterate.

“Personal Finance” felt like a whole new world for me. (Cues music~)

Not Knowing What Personal Finance Is

Something that was very important for me, yet it wasn’t taught in school

Nor at home. (Not explicitly at least)

3 Things About Personal Finance I Wish My Father Taught Me Earlier

Growing up, my father never placed pressure on me and always gave me the freedom to try new things independently. 

That, I was really grateful for. 

I guess he figured that ‘Money’ was something that I’d learn in school or through life. 

But after going through my financial journey myself, I wished that there were 3 things he had taught me earlier. 

After all,

 “It’s good to learn from your own mistakes. It’s better to learn from other people’s mistakes” – Warren Buffett

1. Story Telling and Discussion About Money

Story Telling and Discussion About Money

Being the nosy girl I am, I’ll always give my dad a poke to ask him about how much he earns.

BUT.

He always refuses to tell me.

And simply ends the conversation by saying that we are self-sufficient. 

While I do understand that he wouldn’t want me to fret over money matters at such a young age, I feel that it was necessary for me to gain exposure to ‘Money’ as a topic.

To talk openly about money, ask questions, start learning to save and budget. 

Especially so when it is such a relevant topic to us but yet it is not taught anywhere. 

Hence, I would say that my financial illiteracy stemmed from my lack of exposure to the ‘Money’ topic. 

2. The Importance of Managing My Finances

Learning About How To Manage My Finances

My dad never explained to me the need to budget and how to go about doing so. 

When it comes to saving money, the young (and dumb) me probably had zero ideas on how to do so. 

I probably spent all my pocket money on food or all the cool items in my school’s bookstore in primary school. 

Even if I had shillings as savings, I would merely collect them in my piggy bank at home. 

When it comes to ang bao, my father would then take them away for ‘safe-keeping sake’.

I pretty much didn’t have a lot of control over my finances.

Until I realised that I was missing out on the eighth wonder of the world – Compound Interest

It was only until this year did I change to a high-interest rate savings account.

I was using my secret piggy bank or my POSB Kids Savings account which only gave me a mere 0.05% p.a. interest rate.

Which would have probably cost me a return trip to Iceland… 

3. Investing Early

Importance of Investing Early

Tbh, I never thought that I would start investing in my life. 

I’ve always thought of Investment as something that was very scary and risky. 

My dad once told me that he had burnt his fingers badly in the past, almost to the extent of bankruptcy. 

(Not sure if he was exaggerating, but enough to scare me off)

Only now at Seedly, do I learn the importance of investing early.

If only my father had taught me how to invest earlier, or if they have had the foresight to give me a financial headstart 20 years ago

Then, who knows if I’d be a 21-year-old, female version of Warren Buffett! 

I mean, even Warren Buffett himself regrets not starting earlier despite having bought his first stock at the tender age of 11…

3 Personal Finance Lessons That My Father Did Teach Me

So, those are 3 things I wished that my father was able to guide me earlier in terms of my financial journey as I grew up.

That being said, there are still many other lessons he did teach me via his actions.

Of which I am extremely grateful he did. 

1. Being Prudent About Spending 

Being Prudent About Spending

My dad is a very prudent person.

For instance, when it comes to traveling, he always chooses to take public transportation instead of taking taxi or Grab rides

The young me never understood why my dad was so ‘kiamsiap’ about money.

Until now, of course. 

While my dad loves me, he doesn’t let me have everything I want. 

That taught me the importance of delayed gratification, and the need to work for the things I wanted to buy.

In addition, he constantly reminds me to keep track of my expenditure so as to maximise my savings.

2. Not Being Wasteful About Anything

Not To Be Wasteful About Anything

Till today, my dad will nag at me for buying something new (like shoes, especially because I have many of them), or for ordering food delivery

Because of the money I have wasted. 

Thinking back now, while I still vividly remember the young me complaining about getting my sister’s used clothes instead of new ones.

I am now actually very thankful for the hand me downs up till today. (Free clothes and with no cost hehe!)

I mean, it is for sustainable fashion (but the free part is a bonus!) 

3. Being Hardworking 

My Dad Being Hardworking

To begin with, my dad did not come from a well-off family. 

On top of that, he had 6 other siblings. (Which is pretty obvious that there weren’t much to go around)

Despite that, he worked really hard together with my mum to where he is today. 

From studying part-time, while working to taking care of the family.

All at the same time. 

His continuous effort brought him to where he is now – a happy self-sufficient old man with 2 grown daughters who love him. 

Thoughts on Lessons I Learnt From My Dad

Although my father never sat me down and taught me about money, he did show me these money lessons implicitly through his actions. 

Such as being frugal and working hard to give my sister and me a better life. 

Looking back now made me realise why he did what he did. 

Thank you and I Love You Dad

Thank you, Daddy, for being my hidden finance superman

I love you.

About Dion Lim
Busy undergrad by day, an aspiring entrepreneur by night. Fuelled by floorball and doodling, I chomp on bite-size pieces of finance to prep for an adventure that won’t make me yawn.
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