by Mitch Anthony

I remember when I was about eight years old, and the ice cream-bicycle guy came down the street ringing his bell. The gaggle of neighborhood kids scattered like desperate cockroaches into their respective homes to find a dime—the cost of all the treats.

Frantically I asked my dad, “Can I have a dime for an ice cream?” He reached very slowly into his pocket for the dime, and I said, “Dad, he’s gonna leave really fast.” Dad held out the dime, but when I went to grab it, he wouldn’t let it go. “Dad,” I implored, “I gotta go!”

“Okay,” he said, “but I want to tell you something. If you’ll get on your bike and drive to Boyer’s Market, you can get the same ice cream treat for seven cents and have three cents left over for jaw breakers or gum, or whatever you want.” My eyes lit up with amazement at the prospect of having jaw breakers all afternoon in addition to the ice cream.

I ran outside with the dime in my pocket, jumped on my bike, and did exactly as my dad advised. I taunted my friends all afternoon with my surplus jaw breakers, telling them what a great deal I had gotten. As I look back on that experience and the lesson that has stayed with me, I learned two things that day:

  1. Get the most you can out of every dime.
  2. There’s always a better deal out there if you’re willing to look for it.

To this day, I strive to get the most for my money. I have learned through many a negotiation that there is a better deal available, but only to those who have the courage to ask or persist. Dad grew up poor, and I grew up with modest means and an ingrained work ethic. My children have grown up with relative affluence. I truly hope that I have done a good job of passing on financial principles and a work ethic to my children as my father did with me. I know many parents today who share my concern. According to my friend, Dick Wagner, the rules for financial success are fairly simple:

  1. Spend less than you make.
  2. Save all you can.
  3. Don’t do anything stupid.

Being instructed in Rules #1 and #2 go a long way toward helping with Rule #3. And Rule #3 is where financial advisors (and dads) can make the greatest difference in reminding their clients (and children) that wisdom trumps greed and impatience. For me…it all started with understanding the value of a dime.

© 2015 Mitch Anthony

Mitch Anthony is the founder and president of Advisor Insights Inc.and the Financial Life Planning Institute, the leading provider of financial life planning tools and programs.

For almost two decades, Mitch and his team have provided training and development for both individual advisors and major organizations throughout the world. Mitch personally consults with many of the largest and most-recognizable names in the financial services industry on both financial life planning and relationship development.

Mitch has been named one of the financial services industry’s top “Movers & Shakers” for his pioneering work, and is interviewed by the media on a regular basis. The Institute is partnering with both Texas Tech University and the University of Georgia to develop financial life planning programs for their undergraduate programs. Mitch is a popular keynote speaker, columnist for Financial Advisor magazine and Journal of Financial Planning, and host of the daily radio feature, The Daily Dose, heard on over 100 radio stations nationwide.

Mitch is also the author of many groundbreaking books for advisors and consumers, including perennial bestseller StorySelling for Financial Advisors, cited by “Financial Advisor” magazine as the number one “must-read” book for financial professionals. Mitch’s other books include The New Retirementality (now in its 4th edition), From the Boiler Room to the Living RoomYour Clients for LifeYour Client’s StoryThe Financial Lit-KitThe Cash in the HatThe Bean is Not Green, and Where Did the Money Go?. For information on these books and more resources, click here. Contact Mitch at [email protected].