Financial Planning Tips from Dads

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Financial Planning

With Father's Day just around the corner, we look for ways to thank our fathers for all that they have done for us. For many of us, our fathers are the ones managing our family finances and investments.

Brandan Chen

Financial Planner

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Unbeknownst to us, they spend much of their time ensuring that our finances are in check and that the family has a sound financial plan in place to tide through sunny and rainy days.

If you are a young adult starting to manage your own finances, perhaps it is time to take charge of your financial security by actively learning more about financial planning. If you are a working professional equipped with the relevant knowledge, it could be time to start implementing a good financial plan for your family.

This article looks at financial planning from a father's perspective. What goes through a dad's mind when he is considering not just his expenses and investments, but also that of his family’s. So ahead of Father's Day, we have gathered three fatherly advices for financial planning:

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Lim, 52

Director in multinational company

Father of 2 (age 22 and 19)

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What is something you have done with your children in mind that you are proud of to share?

My wife and I bought Savers plans for our children, which mature when they reach 18 and 21. The plan was to help to fund their university education. Since they were young, we always made sure that they saved part of their allowance. They did it in a very traditional way, putting coins into small piggy banks. What my wife and I did was to double our children's savings. Meaning if they saved $15 that month, we will top up $15 and a total of $30 would go into their savings account. Counting the money, then putting it into the account allowed our children to see how much their savings was growing on their bank book, which encouraged them to save even more. Now that my children are old enough to start managing their finances, it is heartening to see that they continue to save up a significant amount of their money each month.

What was a piece of advice you received from your dad in managing your finances?

My dad was very thrifty, rarely spending on any big-ticket items. His way of managing money was simple: spend less, save more. He never had the luxury of having extra money and time to go on frequent overseas trips. I remember my siblings and I were only encouraged to buy things that we needed. This is something that has become a norm for me. I don't often spend unnecessarily. As for my children, I remind them to watch their spending, especially when payment is cashless these days, which means they tend not to feel the pinch.

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Mark, 40


Father of 2 (age 9 and 7)

What is something you have done with your children in mind that you are proud of to share?

My wife and I are both working towards being financially stable and self-reliant in our retirement stage of life. We want to be able to retire without relying on our children too much and to enjoy our retirement without financial worries.

In terms of smaller things, I try to make it a habit for my sons to save up a portion of their pocket money. We make sure they know the importance of not spending all the money we give them, because they can save the remainder and use it to buy something they want for themselves. To me, it is very important that my children are sensible and have this awareness about finances from a young age.

What was a piece of advice you received from your dad in managing your finances?

One advice from my dad that has stuck with me is to live within my means. My dad was very frugal and taught me from young that I always need to have savings, and the more, the merrier. This habit from young is the main reason why I make it a point to: 1) take a close look at my family's monthly expenses every month 2) plan ahead and 3) spend less where I can, especially when I have things to save up towards.

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Darren, 31

Manager in Logistics Company


What is something you have done with your children in mind that you are proud of to share?

As a father-to-be, I have yet to experience how much having a child costs except based on what my friends say, so I am trying to save as much as I can now, on top of maintaining an emergency fund. Since it is an unknown as to how much we will need, my wife and I do not really spend much money apart from the basic necessities and paying the bills. It is not often that we indulge in dining at an expensive restaurant or purchase expensive clothes. We want to save way more than enough to be able to provide the best for our child.

What was a piece of advice you received from your dad in managing your finances?

When I was younger and even now, my father is someone that I will turn to for advice on any financial matters. I think the most impactful thing my dad implemented when I was young was having two separate boxes, one for spending and one for my savings account. So how this worked was when I saved up my allowance, I could decide how much I wanted to put in the spend box (which I could use to buy myself something) and the save box which my parents will put into my bank account. This is something that I wish to do with my children later on.

Everyday Advice

All fathers ultimately want the best for their children; for them to be financially stable and financially-savvy as they progress through life. While specific advice, teaching styles and actions carried out might differ from father to father, these fathers have shared useful advice to be heeded. While retirement might seem far away for some young fathers, planning many years ahead can help to ease the journey towards retirement.

Having more savings would provide a good safety net for the future. For some people, building up sufficient savings might be more challenging than expected. There are endowment plans available which can help you to meet your financial goals, be it to finance your child's education or prepare for your retirement.

Rounding it up

To have good financial planning often easier said than done. It goes beyond watching your spending and keeping a stash of money for rainy days. It often involves getting a long-term plan such as endowment or investment plans. For fathers with endowment or investment plans already in place, it could be a good time to review and reassess your financial situation, insurance protection and investment objectives to see if you are still on track to achieve the financial goals you set out to meet.


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This article is for your information only and does not consider your specific investment objectives, financial situation or needs. We recommend that you seek advice from a Manulife Financial Consultant before making a commitment to purchase a policy.