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.
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 have Stockspot investments for all three kids. These were opened quick-smart after the eye-opening power of compound interest was revealed to me several years ago. Every month we delay starting an investment strategy for our kids makes a big difference to the nest egg we are building for them.
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. We use Stockspot because they don’t charge fees for kids’ accounts – there are other ETF portfolio managers who do the same. Shop around and find something that suits you. Just don’t delay doing it!
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 move and we need to ensure they keep trying to find something (or preferably somethings) they can do regularly and happily for life.
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…).
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 it any further than that.
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, really important.
5. Educate them about food
As a person who has struggled with my weight for most of my adult life, this one is very important to me.
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. Teach them interpersonal skills
Knowing how to get along well with others is one of the best investments you can make in your Future Adult Kids. Interpersonal skills will pave the way to happy relationships, good employment and excellent connections with others. Having healthy connections with others is actually one of the keys to a long, healthy life. So get onto it!
Do you often think about what your kids’ future will be like?