Fathers are special every day but Father’s Day, celebrated in June each year stands out as a day to honour fatherhood and paternal bonds, as well as the extraordinary influence of fathers in the society. The family is the foundation – a critical unit – of society so effective leadership of that unit has massive implications for society. Father’s Day is also a good time for fathers to reflect upon the critical role they play as the head of the family.
There is enormous pressure on fathers to provide for their families. Money affects everything; from getting married and starting a family, educating children, starting a business, buying a home, caring for aging parents, losing a loved one, planning for retirement and your estate. Too many people get swept up in such events without being prepared financially. Hence, here are 12 money tips for dads:
1. Invest in yourself
You are your greatest asset; start with you to get the best return on that investment. Invest in yourself constantly and be proactive about developing yourself both personally and professionally.
We live in a world that is in a constant state of flux; how are you faring? You should always be learning, growing, and adapting with the times. Be conscious of this and be deliberate about taking your family, career, or business to the next level.
2. Seize opportunities
Are you constantly looking at the opportunities that are waiting to be tapped? What problem can you solve now? How can you adapt your products, services or skills to meet the needs of this time?
3. Establish an emergency fund
Your emergency fund should have enough cash to cover at least six to twelve months of living expenses. If you can’t achieve that just yet, start small but meticulously. Each month, as soon as your salary is credited, have a certain sum set aside towards savings. Automating your savings is the most convenient way of achieving this. Start with what you have. There is so much uncertainty; no job or business is secure.
4. Protect your family with insurance
We tend to assume that bad things won’t happen to us and far too many people ignore the need for insurance until a major mishap or setback occurs; it is then that the impact of inadequate insurance coverage becomes glaring.
As a father, it is your responsibility to prepare for the worst-case scenario, just in case. Life insurance is a must for dads, particularly if you are the primary breadwinner. No matter how meticulous you are with your finances, failure to purchase adequate insurance can impair your financial future and put you and your loved ones in a desperate situation in an instant. Motor vehicle, household, health, educational and life insurance are just a few of the various policies that are available to protect you and your family.
5. Teach your children to save and invest early
Fathers have the responsibility to teach their kids the value of money and how to manage it responsibly. Teach them the difference between wants and needs. Teach them about the dangers of instant gratification and the importance of saving for the future. These early lessons will last them a lifetime. A child who understands how to manage his or her money has a good chance of future financial independence. The gift of financial literacy is one of the greatest gifts you can give your children.
6. Create memories
Far too many family holidays end up being just mum and the kids. Don’t miss out on this precious family time during which memories are made. A family that spends quality time together builds powerful timeless bonds. You don’t need to have an expensive holiday in a faraway destination; consider a “staycation”; it is important for the kids to get to know their country as well. Explore some of the wonderful landmarks and historic sites. Pour over maps and let them do the research and choose the next destination together. Show them Africa.
7. Save for your retirement
Setting your family up for future financial independence begins with you and your spouse securing your retirement. If you don’t plan for this, you may become a burden. It is nice if your children take care of your needs because they wish to but not because you are broke. Your future security is important with healthcare insurance in place.
8. Talk about money with your partner
Money woes are a leading cause of fractured relationships and divorce. Money secrets lead to mistrust and resentment putting a huge strain on the relationship. By involving your spouse in the family finances, and working as a team to achieve family goals, there is a far greater chance for success both for money matters as well as for your relationship.
9. Save for your children’s education
Funding your children’s education ranks as one of life’s largest expenses. Plan for their education as you plan for their life. When children are still young, you have the benefit of time to select investments, including educational plans, that offer the prospect of higher returns over the long term. If sound investments are not made early, covering the huge expenses for the secondary and post-secondary years can be challenging. It takes discipline, consistency, and sacrifice to amass the money that you need to educate them and give them the best chances in life.
10. Set up an estate plan
Considering the worst-case scenario is something that no one likes to think about, but it is only by having a clear estate planning mechanism in place that you can protect your immediate family, including your wife and children, and ensure that your investments and property and other assets that you have built actually go to those that you intended them for.
Too many fathers die intestate leaving trauma and acrimony in their wake. Don’t assume that if you pass on, your spouse and children will automatically become beneficiary to your estate. If you were to die intestate, that is, without leaving a will, strict rules rank your next of kin, and your property will be distributed according to laws of intestacy, which may vary from place to place.
Review and update your will, trust and other estate planning documents periodically, to ensure that they are in accordance with your current status and intentions; check and update beneficiary designations periodically, say once a year. At some time or the other, you have probably had to fill out a form or some other documentation where you had to clearly state your next of kin. Is that still valid?
Select a guardian; if something happens to both you and your spouse, who should raise your kids? Don’t leave this to the court to decide. Consider where the guardians live, their financial situation, how many children they have and how they are being raised, their spouse and so on. Discuss the pros and cons of various options with your partner and come to a decision and include this in your will. Don’t forget to inform the guardians and gain their acceptance of this huge responsibility.
11. Embrace technology
The opportunities with the internet and social media are immense. Have you thought about establishing an online presence? The present and future are digital. Are you there? Can you build an online brand and present your content, your goods and services to the world? Can your team work from anywhere?
12. Give your family your time
Fathers and father figures can be the perfect role model for their sons and are very important in the social development of the boy child. Evidence shows that the boy child may be lagging behind, as we become more deliberate in providing much needed attention to the girl child who has been neglected for far too long. Let us be deliberate about the needs of both genders.
In the end, all the money in the world cannot replace that precious time for bonding, building and nurturing relationships with your children. Be deliberate about your involvement in raising your children; they grow up and leave home faster than you can imagine. Make your presence count.
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!