Learning about money management is a task that never ends. While you may feel like a fully-functional adult, able to run your own bank account and with a flourishing understanding of the ins and outs of financial decision-making - it’s still an uphill battle. The economy changes, your own finances alter, and you have to keep surfing the wave in a battle to keep up.
It’s made all the more difficult when you’re a parent. As soon as you bring new life into the world, you find yourself responsible not just for your own financial future, but for theirs as well. Maybe you immediately begin thinking about whether you should start a college fund for your child, or perhaps you’re more practically-minded and begin to think of provisions for when you’re no longer around. No matter how lightly you took the management of your finances before you had a child, seeing your little one clarifies the whole effort. This is something you have to get right, for their sake as much as your own.
Past, Present and Future
To provide this stability, try and break down your financial management into three sections.
Past: Management of past debts, from student loans to credit card bills. This can mean shifting debt onto low-interest rates or setting money aside to pay off quickly. Compare interest rates using the likes of MoneyCrashers.com.
Present: The every day, from the bills for your utilities to the amount you spend on groceries every month. There are some great methods available for lowering your grocery spend if this is an area of concern, as LifeHacker.com explains.
Future: Provision for the future, such as savings or life insurance. If the latter isn’t something you have thought about often, then sites such as SelectQuote.com can help point you in the right direction.
Why Is This So Important?
There’s a lot of debate about the different aspects that can go into a ‘stable’ upbringing. We all accept it’s a necessity for the health and wellbeing of our children, but society has many different ideas of what should contribute to that stability. Some may think exploration and adventure is the key point; for others it’s maintaining a strong relationship with Jesus.
The one aspect of stability that cannot be up for debate, however, is the financial one. If you don’t have stable finances, then your child is going to face an uphill battle. That’s not to say that you have to be rich to give a child a good start in life! Quite the opposite; there are other forms of enrichment - family, love, faith - that are far more important than the number of zeros at the end of the parents’ paycheck. You can be stable with relatively little; unstable despite being a millionaire.
Stability financially is what allows your kids to relax and never have to think about money. If they know there is going to be food on the table, internet available to research school projects, good quality clothes on their backs - then that’s the best leg up you can give them.