You give your children enough money to do something but not enough to do nothing.
~ From The Descendants
It is never too early or too late to start saving money. And although my kids are two and an infant, I am thinking about what is the best way to get them started in their adult lives. Brandon is sixteen years away from college, which is only about half the time most people take to pay off their mortgages, so saving could definitely start now.
Before I had kids, I said I would pay for their first cars so they could get jobs as early as sixteen if they’d like. Of course, before sixteen, if they wanted to do odd jobs for people or bike or walk somewhere, I’m fine with that. But always being able to walk or ride to work here isn’t as realistic for my kids as it was for me living in Washington. Here we have days that are extremely hot or extremely cold, and some days they close school for the kids who stand at the bus stop because of the wind chill.
But now that I have worked and hired people and realized the bias people get because they do or don’t have a Bachelor’s degree (even if it isn’t relevant to the job they’re applying for), I realize maybe I want to help pay for my kids’ education, too, if they feel so inclined to pursue further education. I want to set my kids up in early adulthood so that they’re successful for the remainder of adulthood without me.
But I don’t want them to be spoiled brats, either. Which is why I used that quote. If you enable your children to live as they’d like, rather than as they should, they are bound to get into trouble. When I say I would like to buy their first car, know that it won’t be a Range Rover or a Lexus. I’m not about making my children popular, rather about making them practical, responsible, independent adults. I must remember to buy them a car lame enough that they immediately want to work hard to buy a better one.
Hi Holly. I read your blog and can relate to your thoughts regarding your kids. I am a mom to 3 boys (MEN now, they are 21yrs, 24yrs, & 25yrs old). I felt the same way you feel – I didn't want to spoil them, but I did want them to have nice things. I always told them that they are no better than the other kids in their class and the other kids are no better than them. I did buy each one of them their first car. A cheaper car that was reliable and safe. The understanding was that they paid for insurance, gas, and upkeep for the vehicle and by having to – they would get a job. Each one of them did just that and now each one has a full time job to buy things that they want/need. As for college – only the oldest chose to go. I paid for 1/2 of his loans (actually I got a loan for my half) and he had to pay for 1/2. 5 years of college because he wanted to be a doctor but after the 5 years he was tired of classes and piling debt. He now pays on his part of the loans and I am making never-ending payments on my half. (over $600. per month!!) And after all of the schooling he is in management at a restaurant/sports bar…NOTHING related to the education. My advice to you would be start saving for college if you plan to help them pay for it. The payments on the loans seem never ending and is quite a big chunk of my income. Also – all 3 of my sons have different personalities and life styles. The oldest is a perfectionist and more on the preppy side. The middle one is too laid back and more on the hippie side as far as life style, and the youngest one is carefree but hard working and responsible and more on the country side as far as life style. I love them all and am proud of the men they have turned into.
Bridget (in Ohio)