Rich Dad, Empowered Daughter

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With their impulses reeling from one item to the next, it is easy to find a gift that children will appreciate but difficult to find one that they will love to have. As I got older and my frugality started making movements towards what it is today, finding a toy that I had really wanted but put off buying became easy for my parents. There were plenty of Barbies, X-Men figures, and Pet Shop, which I was putting off buying. These toys made wonderful presents for me, but now they sit in the attic.

The gifts that I loved to have and the presents that I still cherish today are the vocational gifts that my parents purchased for me.

I was interested in music and they bought me a computer program that taught me piano. They signed me up for voice lessons. After I learned how to play my mom’s old flute, they bought me a new one with a crisper sound. With my musical interest blossoming, they allowed me to inherit my great-grandmother’s ukulele and melodica and even purchased two Native American flutes for my mom and I to play together.

Now, I use these skills on the Trinity Worship team. The musical lessons give me a new perspective on the world; they make logic easier. I see the infinite capability of a finite number of things thanks to my understanding of musical notes. These skills likely enable me to do logic, which is the topic of my favorite classes and likely going to be an aspect of my future career.

I became interested in art and some of my gifts were paint by numbers, instructional drawing books, and a scrapbooking kit. Later, they bought me a nice drawing kit filled with colored pencils and watercolor paints as well as drawing pencils, acrylic paints, and nice brushes. My artistic interest moved to the computer and they bought me graphics programs and a drawing tablet. After my purchasing a nice camera, they purchased a nicer camera lens for me.

These have been a few of my favorite birthday and Christmas presents across the years. They are gifts that I still use on a regular basis. Furthermore, they are gifts that have enabled me to do so much more with myself.

They are vocational presents.

With the skills I learned from all of my artistic encouragement, I now a worthy employed graphic designer. I’ve been hired by three filmmakers, a musician, and a politician to design their websites, logos, and business cards.

I greatly appreciate my father and mother, the two who have invested in my career with these presents from the start. Because of their gifted investments, they have made me into someone worth hiring, even for them!

In my mom’s business, I was hired to design her clogging website as well as help with elements of her main business’s website, like the banner for her current site. For my dad, I designed his new logo, “the Marotta wing” as I call it, drawing it on the graphics tablet he bought me. I have come up with the ideas for over half of his ad campaigns, including his latest “Helping you reach your financial goals, whatever they may be…” series, as seen in the Cville Weekly. Furthermore, I have photographed over one-hundred pictures for him to use on this blog, including several pictures of my Playmobil which have gotten to come out of the attic for the first time in years.

My parents invested in my future by encouraging me in the skills I was already interested in. My interests in music and art are the primary ones that have lasted throughout the years, but those two interests have fostered so many more desires in me, which have in turn created more skills, which in turn have made me more marketable.

Giving vocational gifts that children show an interest in is often a better present in the long  run than simply gifting toys.

Follow Megan Russell:

Chief Operating Officer, CFP®, APMA®

Megan Russell has worked with Marotta Wealth Management most of her life. She loves to find ways to make the complexities of financial planning accessible to everyone. She is the author of over 800 financial articles and is known for her expertise on tax planning.