Letter To My Son: How To Be Financially Wise

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE READ MY DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.

 

Author’s note:  My wife gave birth to our second son on Saturday.  We are over the moon.  Now that it’s our second time around and I know what I’m getting myself into, I am twice as excited.  

 

With the first kiddo, I was super nervous.  I wasn’t even sure how to hold a newborn or really even how to change a diaper.  After gaining some valuable experience with baby #1, I feel much more confident.  

 

I wrote a letter to my oldest son on his first birthday about how he could become wise.  I thought it would be fun to write something for our newest addition as well.

 

Son, (or as your Mom calls you, “Mom’s Best Baby”.  Yes, I know Mom refers to all of her children this way, so it’s hard to truly know who is the best.)

 

When I was growing up, I always wanted a Power Wheels Jeep.  Heck, I would have been happy driving around in the Barbie Jeep.  But your grandparents told me that they couldn’t afford one.

 

You, however, will be able to ride around in a Power Wheels Jeep.  That’s not because your parents are fabulously wealthy.  You get to ride around in one because your Mom is an incredible deal-finder.  She was able to leverage Craigslist and other websites to acquire great items at fantastic deals.  In fact, the Power Wheels Jeep that you get to ride around in was completely free.  

 

Why am I telling you this?

 

I have no doubt to you will have fun driving around in your Jeep.  Your brother has already determined that you will sit in the passenger seat and enjoy listening to some sweet classic rock with him.  However, I want you to know that material possessions matter far less than your friends and family, and most importantly, your relationship with God.

 

When you pass by a huge mansion or luxury car, just remember, it’s all just stuff.  It can disappear in a matter of seconds.  Life isn’t about impressing people.  While having a lot of money may be nice, real greatness stems from the positive impact you can make as a result of it.

 

“In every day, there are 1,440 minutes. That means we have 1,440 daily opportunities to make a positive impact.”

-Les Brown

 

Seek to make an impact every moment that you can.  That is your legacy here on this earth, not your material possessions or the amount of money in your bank account.

 

How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.  The most complicated task can be broken down simplistically.

 

That concept applies to investing.  Investing may seem confusing.  It’s not.  Invest in the S&P 500.  If history is a guide, you will be fine.  Little by little, you will see your investments rise over time.

 

With that said, I will try to teach you as much about the financial world as I can.  You can make a lot of money and still be poor.  You can make a little bit of money but be rich.

 

The secret is you need to spend less than you make.  Create goals and benchmarks for your life.  If you want to have a certain amount of money by a certain age, you need to work backwards from your big picture to determine the details of your plan.  

 

 

Making a Fast Buck

You will probably have friends who will hustle to make a fast buck.  Whenever you think about trying to make a fast buck, think about whose food you like eating.

 

Anytime that I cooked, it was normally not very good because I rushed through recipes and tried to take short cuts.  In contrast, when your Mom cooks, she always takes her time, uses the proper ingredients, and it turns out much better.  

 

More often than not, someone who attempts to make a fast buck takes short cuts, doesn’t fully understand the risks, and while sometimes things turn out right, more often than not, there is a disaster afterwards.

 

For instance, back in the 1990’s, everyone suddenly became day traders.  In the 2000’s, everyone became real estate experts by flipping houses.  Most failed.  

 

I don’t know what the hot investment will be years from now.  However, if a friend says they’re making tons of money using debt as leverage, mark my words, they will probably be poor within five years.

 

Your Lifestyle

After you graduate college, you will not have the same lifestyle as that of your mom and me.  It took your mom and I many years to create the lifestyle that we live today.  Don’t expect it immediately, or you will be sorely disappointed.  It takes a lot of patience and hard work to attain a comfortable lifestyle.  Relax and enjoy the journey there.  That’s half the fun.

 

Goals and Results

I know we live in a results-oriented world.  However, while you are growing up, I will emphasize your effort more than the results.  This is to instill your work ethic.  Yes, in the “real world”, effort and results will matter.  Instead of setting you back, I can assure you that you’ll come to realize results often follow hard work and effort.

 

The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.  Once you reach some of your goals, chances are you may not be satisfied.  Don’t be like me when I was younger.  Stop and celebrate your achieved goals.  Life is fun.  Celebrate any chance that you get.  You will always be able to set up another goal.

 

If you fail at one of your goals, don’t worry.  The bar isn’t set high enough if you can reach all of your goals easily.  Always stretch out of your comfort zone.

 

Like I told your brother, you will probably make mistakes with money.  Everyone does.  Whether it’s buying a home at the wrong time or purchasing the wrong stock, don’t get discouraged.  Be patient, but don’t let paralysis by analysis ruin your life.

 

Time

Remember, the most valuable thing in the world is time, not money.  Who cares if you make a million dollars if you aren’t able to spend your time the way you desire?  Try to find a job that you’re excited to go to each day.  Make sure it allows for a healthy work-life balance.  Just remember though, there may be some tradeoffs along the way.  

 

Finally, if you’re still reading this, let me conclude with this thought.  Being wise with your finances is one of the most important ways to leave a strong legacy for your children, and even your children’s children.  That may seem very long down the road, but even your smallest financial decisions can have a big impact.  So, my son, be wise.

 

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.

James 1:5

Mustard Seed Money

Welcome to the website. A mustard seed is a very small seed but astonishingly grows very large over time. My hope is that through your financial journey that your small investment in time, money and faith will grow beyond anything that you could ever imagine.



57 Comments

  1. This is such a great idea. Your sons are definitely going to be financially wise with this advice and your guidance. I like the point about goals and results because sometimes I forget that the results I get may be because of the effort I gave.

  2. Congratulations on your second baby! This is one of the most sincere and meaningful letters from parents to children I have ever seen.

    I like that you use very simple analogies to make your point about complicated topics like investment and style. I’m sure your son will greatly appreciate this letter when he reads it in the future 🙂
    Ms. Frugal Asian Finance recently posted…The Pros & Cons Of Living With In-lawsMy Profile

    • Thanks Jason!!! He has been a monstrous eater so far. So not as much sleep as we’d like. Hopefully once his stomach gets a bit bigger hopefully he’ll be able to sleep a little bit longer 🙂

  3. It’s great that you prioritize passing knowledge from generation to generation rather than passing on money. I have the same philosophy too as I would like my kids to learn how to earn and save their money from my knowledge rather than expecting an inheritance from me.

    I think that knowledge is much more valuable than any amount of money that you pass on to your kids.
    Leo T. Ly @ isaved5k.com recently posted…What Are You Thankful For This Thanksgiving?My Profile

  4. Oh wow congratulations!!!Your sons are really blessed to have such a great dad. Your letter was so moving and touching.

    I especially loved this advice:”After you graduate college, you will not have the same lifestyle as that of your mom and me. It took your mom and I many years to create the lifestyle that we live today. Don’t expect it immediately, or you will be sorely disappointed”.

    • Glad you enjoyed the letter 🙂 I have known too many friends that have tried to live their parents lifestyles and I’m not sure who they are trying to impress…

  5. Congratulations! What a sweet letter to your newest addition. 🙂 And kudos for using Craigslist – sparing our planet from death by plastic. I think my letters to my kids will certainly touch on finances. If you can be responsible enough there you’ll avoid stress later on.

  6. Congrats on having your second son. That was a great letter. You have planted a seed for your children to be successful. That success will go far beyond just managing their money. Enjoy!
    Dave recently posted…Six Month Blog ReviewMy Profile

    • Thanks Dave for the kind words. I hope I can help guide him into being a successful adult 🙂 Although it’d be nice if he let us sleep just a little bit more 🙂

  7. Congrats! I like this letter, too!

    We aren’t having children, but I’ve often thought about even writing letters to myself to read in the future. To remind myself to enjoy the journey even when I have not yet ‘arrived’ at my destination. To encourage me to continue, and live every day to the fullest.

  8. Congratulations on baby number 2! Raising two boys can be crazy, but so much fun! We had no clue when our first came along, either, ha!
    This is a sweet letter and filled with sage advice. Love it and hope you all have a smooth transition to being parents of two!

  9. Congrats and great article! We have also be able to provide our kids with some super cool toys that I could have only dreamed of as a kid because of deal finding. You can save a lot by always buying toys on craigslist.

    • Thanks for stopping by RJ!!! It’s definitely nice to be able to provide for our kiddos what we couldn’t afford. Although, he gets just as much joy watching planes in the sky as playing on the power wheels 🙂

  10. A hearty congrats to the whole family on the new arrival!! Great advice; I never heard the elephant saying before. So many things in life require step by step procedure and patience. And you really don’t want things to happen in a rush. Also love the part about celebrating your goals; it gives us reason to achieve more and more 🙂
    SMM recently posted…Be Your Own AuditorMy Profile

  11. Congratulations!! How sweet to have 2 of “Moms Best Baby” – what are the odds? 😉

    So much great advice here, but I am partial to “Don’t expect it immediately, or you will be sorely disappointed. It takes a lot of patience and hard work to attain a comfortable lifestyle. ” This is what is lacking in younger kids these days. It isn’t their fault being born into a period where everything is instant gratification, but it is your duty as parents to show the big picture. This sums it up perfectly.
    Miss Mazuma recently posted…Early Retirement: Roadblocks & ContemplationsMy Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by Miss Mazuma!!! It’s definitely easy to get caught up in the instant gratification culture that we live in. Hopefully we can help show what happens with hard work 🙂

  12. Awesome advice to your son, time and knowledge are very crucial and letting him know about it is very great of you to pass on.
    Congrats on baby #2 MSM!!! Get all the sleep you can get….well you probably know that already from your first born!!
    Kris recently posted…My Financial MistakesMy Profile

  13. Great stuff. i wish my parents had written something like this to me when I was first born. i really like the part about making a fast buck. Easy money opportunities rarely work out and usually lead to disaster. It’s better to take your time and educate yourself to know what you’re doing before jumping in. thanks for sharing your letter!
    Budget Kitty recently posted…The Best Survey Sites To Make Extra Money From HomeMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Budget Kitty!!! I definitely agree taking your time and educating is much better than jumping in the deep end before you know what you’re doing. I’ve seen too many people get hurt by not knowing what they’re doing.

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