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SOMERS: Parents, tell your kids to save, but live too

It’s important to teach your kids the value of good money habits, but there is also tremendous value in experiences that create memories that will last a lifetime.
It’s important to teach your kids the value of good money habits, but there is also tremendous value in experiences that create memories that will last a lifetime. - 123RF Stock Photo

Parents want their kids to grow up in the best possible way. So, we pass on our experience and knowledge and help them develop the skills that will – we hope – enable them to achieve their goals and get the most enjoyment and satisfaction on their voyage through life.

Ours is a complex world and we want to make sure our kids are equipped to deal with every complexity, including developing strong money management skills.

Jeff Somers
Jeff Somers

We want our kids to be happy so we love them and nurture them and give them “stuff”: the most incredible toys, the trendiest clothes, the newest cell phones, the hottest — whatever.

Yes, it’s important to teach your kids the value of good money habits, of saving and planning for their future. And yes, there is both emotional and real value in giving your kids “stuff” that makes them happy. But there is also tremendous value in experiences that create memories that will last a lifetime.

Here’s how one father explained it: “I bought my kids $100 tickets to their first concert as a Chanukah gift and they were thrilled. But on the morning of the concert one of my kids experienced “buyer’s remorse”.  He asked, “If I don’t go to the concert can I have a different gift?”

I gently advised him against trading his ticket for a toy, saying, “Son, you’ll forget the toy in a few years but you’ll always remember your first concert.’”

As parents, we should not only give our kids the gift of our knowledge and the gift of “stuff”, we should also give them the gift of memories and encourage them to appreciate that life needs to be lived.

As Bob Dylan, a recent recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature and a pop icon through many years, has written: “Take care of all your memories. For you cannot relive them.”

Now, it’s entirely possible your kids will have no idea who Bob Dylan is, but nevertheless, his words ring true for any generation.

So, teach your kids well, support and nurture them, give them “stuff” that brings them (and you) joy – but be sure to teach them to live, too. Memories can be more important than money, but it certainly helps to have the financial resources that allow your kids to enjoy those memories unencumbered by financial stress and strain.

You can help make their memories; your professional advisor can help make your financial future and theirs memorably secure.

Jeff Somers, BA, RRC, CFP works at Investors Group in Charlottetown. This column, written and published by Investors Group Financial Services Inc. and Investors Group Securities Inc. presents general information only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any investments. Contact your own adviser for specific advice about your circumstances.

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