The Greatest Gift

I wrote on this subject for my Buzz Around Wayne County article, but I wanted to add to it because I am only allowed 250 words with the paper.  You can see the original article on my social media pages.  The Holiday Season brings a great question: Instead of buying every object our children want for Christmas, shouldn’t we balance the present with the future?

One instructor at a seminar asked the audience if we were born after 1988.  I didn’t know where he was going with this, but his point really peaked my interest as a personal financial planner.  He said (very sarcastically) that children born after 1988 had the best parents ever!  When a child showed any interest in something, the parent would buy everything related to that subject.  It was a marketing and entrepreneurship seminar, so his point was about how we are losing our imaginations with each generation.  He said our children were forgetting how to play.  He used the example of past generations finding a stick in their yard and creating a game through their creativity and imagination.  Now children are lost to boredom if a screen is not involved.  Sure, there are exceptions and this isn’t to debate how children are raised, so let’s look at this from a financial view.

Over the 18 years you raise your child, you will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, so overspending can definitely be a problem with your financial plan.  Yes, it’s important to help a child pursue their dreams, but we have to be careful, especially considering a child can change their mind every few minutes.  Yes, it would be a great if your child became a pro athlete with the resources to take care of the whole family, but just picking up a baseball doesn’t guarantee that your toddler will play in the pros.

College is a huge expense and it is great to help your child, but there are scholarships, grants, loans, and other sources to help with education.  However, there aren’t many options for your retirement.  This is why contributing to your retirement may be the best gift for your children.  Retirement is not all about vacations.  It is also about caring for your spouse and yourself as you age.  Do you really want to place that burden on your children?

Perhaps you have seen your parents care for your grandparents.  Maybe you are caring for an aging parent while you are raising your children.  It’s not an easy job.  As medicine continues to advance, we may continue living longer.  The world is hectic and we can assume it won’t slow down.  Will our children have time to care for us?  Will they possess the skills needed?  Do we want our kids to stop pursuing their dreams because of us?

A retirement fund may not solve these problems, but it could at least provide us with some options.  I would be glad to help you start planning for your family’s future.

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