I don’t know about you, but I’ve barely come up for air since having the kids. It’s relentless! Every day is just packed with the doing of it all. We are so consumed with everyday busyness of raising kids, that there is little time left over to think about the big picture. The things we need to focus on to invest in our kids’ future.
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Of course, plenty of the everyday stuff we do will benefit them for life. It’s just nice to take a moment to streamline things. To make sure that our daily life with the kids is putting us on track to where we want them (and us!) to be in future.
Here are 6 things I reckon we ought to be giving a lot more thought to.
This one is important too: 10 things parents do that really matters to kids
6 ways to invest in our kids’ future
1. Kick-start their investment portfolio
We’ve been working with Stockspot for nearly a month now, and everything I’m learning has been super-useful and revealing. One of the most eye-opening things has been the way compound interest can really give our kids’ future a massive kick-off. Every month we delay starting an investment strategy for our kids makes a big difference to the nest egg we are building for them.
I look at that chart and I can already see that poor ol’ Max (who is 14) is going to be a huge $10K out of pocket compared to Lottie (10) – and we will have only invested around $3,500 more for Lottie! If only we had started earlier for Max. A little each month that we will pretend we never had and… huge returns compared to putting it in the bank (or, gulp, frittering it away).
In other words: start today. Start now. Stockspot don’t charge fees when you invest on behalf of your kids.
Read more on Stockspot: Kids invest for free
2. Find their exercise sweet spot
Not every kid is into sports and it can be hard to get a non-sporty kid to stay active. The thing is, we need to keep at it. Especially now the kids are getting older and are less inclined to play tag or kick a ball around with friends during and after school. Instead, we are more likely to find them hunched over a screen. Our kids need to exercise and we need to ensure they keep trying to find something (or preferably somethings) they can do regularly and happily for life.
Then there’s sports like martial arts, boxing, fencing, archery, tennis, canoeing, athletics, handball, cycling, gymnastics, rowing, skateboarding, surfing, rock climbing, diving…
Think outside the box for this one. Traditional sports like netball, rugby, cricket or soccer aren’t for everyone. But maybe volleyball, basketball, softball, hockey, lacrosse or water polo are. Then there’s sports like martial arts, boxing, fencing, archery, tennis, canoeing, athletics, handball, cycling, gymnastics, rowing, skateboarding, surfing, rock climbing, diving… keep trying and eventually they will find a passion that keeps them active for life.
3. Think long-term for education
We’ve very much been a ‘next step’ kind of parent: we rarely really look beyond what comes next. So, when we were looking into preschools, we didn’t consider where they were a ‘feeder’ school for big school. Then the high school we pretty much decided because it was up the road and good.
I know a lot of other parents are much better at this than we are, but we are getting wiser now. We are talking about long-term interests for subject choices and starting to map out what that looks like for uni or TAFE, and possible exchange programs for the kids to experience more of the world. A rough guide to education, if you will. Fact is, we want be able to afford any and all of the options our kids’ choose (see ‘kick-start their investment portfolio’ above…).
Every month we delay starting an investment strategy for our kids makes a big difference to the nest egg we are building for them.
4. Make a will
Do you have a will? We don’t have a will! I always figured that if we died, everything would be split evenly between the kids. And then it’s all just too gruesome to think about.
Time to stop burying my head in the sand (no pun intended – gasp) and wo-man up and go get the will done. That way, we are fully in control of who executes our will (another pun, OMG) and, most importantly, who will care for our children if we die before they are 18. So yeah, a will is really important.
5. Educate about food
As a person who has struggled with her weight for most of my adult life, this one is very important to me. I am trying to instil in my kids a common sense approach to food and eating that will stay with them for life. I like Michael Pollan‘s sensible, “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” For me, it’s about making good choices every day through instilling good habits, and eating as close to nature as possible. It’s about avoiding nonsense “foods” like soft drink and lollies. Good eating habits now are an investment in our kids’ future health.
6. Ensure they are insured
Insurance can be a bit polarising, but I think it makes sense to plan for the ‘what ifs’ and then forget about them. If the ‘what if’ happens, it won’t limit the kids’ options or choices. Insurance basically means they can make plans without worrying about the unexpected.
Do you often think about what your kids’ future will be like?
Image by Anna Samoylova