Four things my Father taught me about money

She Talk Cents
Jun 16 · 6 min read

A few years
ago, I called up my Dad on Father’s Day and very excitedly said, “Papa, Happy
Father’s Day”. He off-course could not understand what I was saying. So I said,
“Papa, today is Father’s Day — a day to celebrate Fathers. So Happy Father’s
Day!”

And he
goes, “Thank you beta, so what can I gift you?”

Fathers.
Always ever want to give.

I have
always wondered as a child and I wonder even now, how is he like that?

Now that I earn my money, I know how a random expense of Rs 10,000 “spoils” my budget completely, gives me stress. And with Papa, I have always seen him most happy when he is buying us something, most of which has been randomly asked for!

My father
had to travel a lot for his work. He had his own business, so that gave him the
flexibility to visit us once every month/month-and-a-half for a week or so.

It used to
be festive when he visited.

He would
convert the dining table into ping pong table, play badminton with us, get us
something new every time, drop us to school and pick us up too, feed all three
of us, put us to bed, wake us up (which was a big relief from my mother’s style
of waking us), laugh with all his heart and do his happy dance sometimes.

Now I
understand he was trying to not miss doing anything with us and feeding on our
happy energy to get going for another month away from home.

In all this, he never really sat us down and taught us things about money explicitly.

But over the years, as situation demanded, he has taught me stuff that has contributed more to my personality than anything else.

I am sure
even he does not realize it, but I was listening and observing. With all
sincerity.

Buy things on full payment, or don’t buy at all

He has always been against loans/debt of any kind.

The only exception being Education, that also because our education was absolutely non-negotiable. It could not be compromised.

Other than that, he believes if you can’t buy it in full, don’t buy it in parts too. Nothing is as important as a stress-free sleep.

It has
helped me stay away from loans in worst of times. And am I thankful!

As is every
child’s duty, I did rebel against this momentarily and went ahead with Credit
card. The misuse taught me a lesson or two, which is here.

Today,
there may be arguments against this about taking loan instead of blocking the
money that can be invested elsewhere, but that’s not really the point. Even if
it was and he tried to make it, I would not have understood it.

With money,
I have realized, parents can show direction, warn the pitfalls but a lot of
things are not understood till you do it yourself.

And I think
he did a fine job of hammering an anti-debt stance in my head.

I have seen
some bad times, but I know, my father unknowingly saved me from seeing the
worst by keeping me away from debt.

Value
yourself, only then will you be valued

This was when I got my first ever job. My joining was on 15th July. My father came home on 27th-28th June to meet me before I leave for work.

We were going somewhere when I received a call from my new super-boss asking me to join on 1st July instead of 15th July.

As with anyone with the first ever joining, I was anxious. I wanted to spend time with Papa because by now he had shifted base abroad and was visiting after 6–7 months. Also, I just was uncomfortable with someone ordering me around.

It was my first experience of employment and it was not a good feeling at all.

My father sensed it I believe. He asked me what I wanted to do.

I said , “ I don’t get this. When 15th is decided, how can they ask me to join before. What about my plans? I want to join on 15th only”. Off course, I did not know ‘boss is always right’ concept then, thankfully, and that let me have an opinion on this matter.

And I will never ever forget what my father did.

He made me write an email saying,

As confirmed earlier I am eager to join the organisation on 15th July and look forward to the work I would be doing. Since I have made plans to spend time with my father, it would not be possible to join on 1st. Please confirm if I can join on 15th July.

Warm Regards,

Akanksha Vaish

Executive

<organisation name> ”

Yes, he made me sign-off as a current employee of that organisation! Even before I joined! While I was asking if I can join!

Here’s the reply I got form the super-boss– “Dear Akanksha, I look forward to see you on 15th July”

The answer
could have been a “no”, “you are not required anymore”, “how dare you” or maybe
a “wtf?”

I was ready
for one of these.

My father
was confident of the reply that I actually got. He also did tell me what worse
could happen, but he let me go by my heart.

What he said was this , “value yourself and you will be valued. Bend and they will bend you more

What I heard was this, “you are more important than the money they give you”.

Never be
intimidated by money or position

Somewhere the same incident also removed my fear of authority even before I faced one.

I think it has got something to do with knowing that your Father has your back.

I started
seeing ‘people in authority’ as just ‘people’. The ‘super-boss’ as just someone
‘senior with more experience’. A ‘CEO’ as someone ‘who takes decisions that
other seniors cannot’.

It was
never about fear of anyone getting angry at me anymore.

My father has a better way of saying it. “Someone else’s money or position will not define how I behave. My ideals and thoughts will. I will always be an equal in a conversation”.

I am
there, always but make sure you don’t need me

I have lost
count of how many times my father has been my rock-solid support mentally and
emotionally in my adult life, as I am sure your fathers have been to you.

And then came a time when I had to make this call to him, asking for money — Rs 50,000. He transferred immediately, no questions asked.

After my
work was done, he called me up and said something that jolted me back to
reality, something that was needed and only a parent could do it.

He said , “Beta you know I am always there, but I don’t expect you to call me for Rs 50,000. 5 lakh-6 lakh, I can still understand. Not that I would like it either. But Rs 50,000? You are much better than that. I just want you to know that I am there, always but make sure you don’t need me. Every time I ask you if you need anything and you say, “no papa”, that’s the day I have my best sleep. And I did not sleep last night”.

It must not
have been easy for him, being someone who never said no to his children. But he
had to teach me this for my own sake.

Today, my father is coming home. Looking forward to wish him Father’s Day again :)

I am not
there to meet him. I will meet him after a month or so. I have a job and work
that keeps me occupied.

I am making
sure he gets a good night sleep, every day.


Originally published at She Talk Cents.

    She Talk Cents

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