May 27, 2017

Are You Funding Your Children?(Why Not Invest?)


Some may say there's no difference between the two and it's just semantics, but there is so much more power behind our words than we sometimes thinks. 
If you're a parent, I'm sure at some point you've at least thought, or most likely verbalized how much your children cost you. Many parent's bank accounts are depleted and they're run ragged and worn out. Am I right?
Our oldest child is graduating high school this year and preparing for college in the fall, the expenses are piling up with tuition, and living expenses. Our youngest daughter, is a figure skater, and plays almost all other high school sports, with the exception of basketball. Our son plays competitive hockey at the Peewee level, so if you're finding your pocket book stretched I promise you, I empathize with you. 
We've just completed the winter season of sports, and most days our bank account is a bit depressing to look at, so my natural inclination when my kids ask for something more, is to complain and remind them how much they cost me. 
Recent studies show that 42% of Canadians list Financial concerns as their top stress factor, and we've all heard that most spousal arguments are over money or financial decisions. I know from experience that when cash flow is strained in our home, you can feel the tension rise. 
I don't believe it's wise to keep your children in a bubble from the real world, so it's important for them to understand how to budget, how to live within your means, and how to deal with tough situations with regards to finances. 
The difference in terminology may seem slight, but a simple change in mindset from paying for your children's activities to investing in them, can be life changing. Not only for you, but also for your child!  
You are making an investment into your own future, the future of your grand children, into the future of the world. Our children need to understand the difference. 
I fail in this area so often, but I believe these 5 points can help to ease the stress.
1. Inspire your children
There are so many ways you can inspire your children today without spending a fortune. We live in a country that has a broad range of programs to ensure our children can have access to arts, music, sports and education.
Do your research and get them into programs that inspire them. 
2. Stop complaining about how much it costs
This one is hard, and God knows I struggle with this, but our kids(although it's true sometimes) should not be left to feel like they are a burden. 
Our children understand more than we give them credit for. Have an honest conversation with them about the costs associated to their activities, and maybe apologize for how you've made them feel. 
You might be surprised, and see a new passion and dedication to their chosen field. 
3. Joyfully remind them that you're happy to invest
I believe it's important for you to remind your child how happy you are to work on their behalf, and that you see the long term benefits of their participation. 
We are, or at least should be, our child's strongest advocate and biggest fan. 
4.  Be patient for the returns
Understand first, what the short and long term benefits are of their activities. 
These could range from having fun, learning to work as a team, keeping fit and active, learning to being coachable, etc..
Not all kids are going to become Picassos or professional athletes, but there are so many other benefits to enriching their childhoods
Be ok if there is no return. Not all investments are a sure thing. As with the stock market, there is risk. 
5.  Teach your kids to invest in others
I think this is where you will find the biggest reward. If you're a parent that has coached your child through any sport, or helped teach lessons or techniques, you know the rewarding feeling you get. 
Your children will one day invest in your grandchildren. The ripple effect of your investment into your children will continue for generations. 
We can all agree, I'm sure, that our children are worth our investment. Personally, I'm going to do a better job at ensuring my children understand that I am not just funding their activities, but rather investing in their future. 
Has this been a help to you? In what ways are you investing in your children today? 
Leave a comment below with your thoughts!

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