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The Best Money Advice From Dad

Geoff Williams

Everyone becomes an expert not just from their training or education but because of their influences in life. We are who we are because of everything we experience, but arguably, nobody influences us more than our parents. For Mother's Day, we featured financial advice from the mothers of financial experts, and now in honor of Father's Day, we're offering up money tips from the fathers of personal finance professionals throughout the country.

[Read: The Best Money Advice From Mom.]

Make money every chance you can.

"As a factory worker, overtime work was the only opportunity to earn extra income for the family, so my dad would work 12- to 16-hour days, seven days a week, when given the chance. My dad would always say when you work and can pay your own bills that you are free from others telling you how to live."

Gerard Olson is a finance professor at Villanova School of Business in Villanova, Penn. His father, Joseph, was a combat wounded World War II veteran. Olson adds of his father: "I saw my dad in a lot of pain through the years resulting from his leg amputation and other war-related ailments, but he took great pride that he never missed a day of work, except to go fishing, of course." Joseph Olson passed away in 2009.

Your money needs to be working, too.

"There are two ways to make money. You can work for it, which will be difficult and you can only make so much since the day isn't endless, and you can have your money work for you. You should be doing both, making money and putting your money in an investment that will work as hard as you, yourself, worked for the money. Hard-earned money should be saved and able to grow with interest."

David Richmond is the founder of the Richmond Brothers, a financial planning firm in Jackson, Mich. His father, Bill, who worked in insurance throughout his career, often gave that advice to his son. Bill, a resident of Jackson, will be 75 next month and still sells insurance.

Your savings is as important as the phone bill.

"The most important thing my father taught me, which is something that I have used throughout my 23-year career, is to live within my means and pay yourself first. Savings were budgeted in our household just like paying the phone bill. It was just something we did. Even as a young child, I was given a savings account and taught to put a portion of my earnings, initially my allowance, into it."

Jim Scheinberg is managing partner at North Pier Fiduciary Management, an asset management firm specializing in retirement plan consulting and headquartered in Los Angeles. His father is Dr. Herman Scheinberg, 82, a resident of Santa Fe, N.M. Still, "Dr. Herman," as his patients call him, frequently flies to Chicago where he still has a medical practice as an allergist and pediatrician.

[See: 50 Smart Money Moves to Make Now.]

Pay your debts and never cheat.

"My dad taught us to be honest, work hard and always with integrity. We used to joke that any time I had to put in extra time to learn something or rework a project, it was a learning experience, and the cost of getting it right was the tuition. My family remembers one of my father's favorite sayings: 'I'd rather owe it to you than cheat you out of it.'"

That's what Arlynn Bitter Peavey, a certified public accountant who runs her own consulting firm in Oakland, Calif., remembers learning from her father, William Bitter, who everyone called Bill. He worked as a professional engineer and manager of health and safety for an IBM research lab and was a big believer in giving back to the community. In the 1970s and 1980s, he allowed his house to become an emergency foster home. Peavey recalls sharing their home with three other siblings and a lot of foster children over the years - more than 300 kids. He and his wife adopted three of them.

Don't live like a king if you're a peasant.

"My dad was a child of the Depression. Based on that experience, he was very anti-debt. He always emphasized living within your means and thought that the only acceptable debt was home mortgage debt and, grudgingly, car loans ... He had credit cards but always paid the balance in full each month. He never paid any interest."

Rob Seltzer is a CPA in Los Angeles. His father, Jerry, had a master's degree in scenic design in theater but became a speech pathologist who worked with the developmentally disabled and also taught public speaking at a junior college. He passed away a month shy of his 80th birthday in 2001.

[See: How to Improve Your Finances at Every Age.]

Don't be greedy.

"My father advised if you stick your hand inside the marble jar and try to take out all the marbles, you won't get any marbles. Once your fist is full of marbles, it will never fit back through the jar opening. The basic takeaways were don't be greedy and you cannot have it all ... You cannot take everything on at once and you cannot expect immediate results. The plan should be to keep things balanced and take issues one at a time."

This advice was given to Susan Fulton, founder of FBB Capital Partners, an investment management and wealth advisory firm in Bethesda, Md. Her father was Durward Ellsworth Breakefield, who enlisted in the U.S. Army at age 18 in 1928, spending the next 37 years in the Army, serving in World War II, Korea and Vietnam and rising through the ranks to become a brigadier general. He died in 1980 at age 70.

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