Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin
Back to school is around the corner. For some parents, it’s a sigh of relief. For other parents, it’s a sad reminder that our children are all grown up. Nonetheless, we all can agree that the majority of our emotional efforts and work that we put forth is for the success of our children.
In light of the coming of the school year, I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on our particular vision of what we want for our children. All too often we overcompensate for what we lacked in childhood. In return, we start to forget that some of the hardship we faced, are what shaped us to be the individuals we are today.
‘Quien no lo tiene, lo hance; y quien lo tiene,lo dehance’
(He who doesn’t have it, does it, and he who has it, misuses it)
Malcolm Gladwell (social economist), wrote a piece on a Hollywood executive. His upbringing was from modest means. His family was from the great depression era. Along with living in a mixed neighborhood, he was brought up to view money differently. He spent his early years living a very frugal life. After years of hard work, he was able to build his overall financial empire to a 10 figure balance sheet. Subsequently, during the interview he was asked how his children were doing. Not surprising, he said they lacked the tools that he had to be successful.
Malcolm postulated that the optimal household income for a family was 75k/year to raise successful children. I.e. there is a diminishing marginal return when it comes to wealth and success for future generations. He showed a reverse U-curve of how both poverty and wealth can be a detriment to raising successful children.
Our goals as parents is to set our children up for success. All too often we are focused on giving our children the best education. Yet, we forget that there are other stepping stones to help them achieve long term financial success. It all starts with the fundamentals that made us who we are today. Here are some good reminders of what it might take to prepare our children for financial success.
Utilize the different educational finance options:
- 529 Plan
- Prepaid Tuition
- Coverdell Savings Account
- UGMA and UTMA
Instill specific habits that made us who we are today
- Get them signed up for challenging courses in high school
- Encourage them to get involved with extra-curricular activities in high schools
- Start a list of awards
- Work with your child to create a budget
- Look in to scholarships/ financial aid
- If your child has a side job in high school, have them contribute a certain amount of each of their paycheck to a college savings fund account ($20-50)
- PSAT/SAT prep courses
- Work with school advisor to plan out college prep
- Research college majors that fit with child’s interests
- Seek leadership roles in the extra-curricular activities
Inevitably, we get so caught up in the daily routines of school, work, bills, errands, etc. that we forget what we ultimately want for our children. Looking to the future for the success of your children starts today.