Starting a family and having children changes your life forever. As a parent, you will find that you are always looking to protect your child and ensure they have the best future possible. Whether it is sticking to a family budget to put away money for their college education or a rainy day, or teaching them valuable life skills, you want to be assured they will be able to handle the unpredictability of life even when you aren't around anymore. However, shocking research has shown that parents are not teaching these life skills in their kids. By simply taking a few steps now and continuously throughout your children’s lives, you can not only rest assured their future is secure, but that they are also capable of building on that foundation you leave them with.
1) Make Life Skills a Priority From a Young Age - Self Help and Financial Literacy
“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”
Giving your child the life skills to succeed on their own is one of the best and most proactive actions you can take. Life skills such as a financial education set them up to form good habits and make informed decisions. At a time when Americans are facing a financial literacy crisis, educating our children about financial basics from as young as 7 years old could be the factor that sets them up to avoid the all too common debt trap we are experiencing as consumers today.
It doesn't end there either. Teaching self-help skills such as cooking, budgeting, and communication skills not only fosters their development and promotes independence, it drives confidence for them to go through life and handle the different situations that come at them. It helps them as they head off to college, at their multiple job interviews, and even in raising their own families in the future.
2) Teach Them Healthy Lifestyle Habits - Physical and Mental Health
Teaching your kids all around healthy habits means you are teaching them the importance of taking care of oneself. A healthy diet means fewer medical complications in their future, and good mental health practices mean they can grow up to be well rounded, happy individuals. Start with implementing a good routine when it comes to eating, sleep and being active.
Many studies have shown the link between kids being active and better physical and emotional health as adults. It is also advisable that you teach your kids the importance of asking for help when needed. Millions of adults are facing stress and poor mental health alone thanks to their refusal to ask for help or their lack of knowledge about where to go. Make sure they know who to turn to in separate situations in the event that you're not around.
3) Protect Your Family and Its Assets by Protecting Yourself
Over 68 percent of Americans say they need life insurance, yet only 57 percent of families have any medical or life coverage. According to NGLIC.com, health, life, and long-term insurance policies act as a buffer against future costs, such as the illness of a parent and breadwinner in the family. In the event of a long-term illness, your household income is affected, which can lead to a domino effect on your family life and the stability in your child’s life. End of life costs such as funeral expenses can also be a lot to handle, and if not provided for, expensive to bear. You should also think of protecting your assets in the interests of your child by writing a will or starting a trust in their name. Almost 60 percent of Americans don’t have wills, according to AARP. Heading to a lawyer to legalize your wishes when it comes to end of life decisions, your estate and care of your child (if under 18) are also great suggestions you can act on now, and take those heavy decisions off their plates when the time comes.
4) Invest in Their Financial and Educational Future
Of course, a part of preparing and protecting your child’s future entails investing in that future. This means setting up savings and college accounts for your child to rely on in the event that you or your partner is no longer around. It is also a good idea to get them started on understanding the basics of a savings account and encourage thrifty habits as well. A college investment account helps them reduce their reliance on those student loans many are still repaying, even heading into their retirement, and also allows them to access the option of further education and self-development. Education is the stepping stone for many other avenues, including career progression and self-sufficiency.
At the end of the day, we all want the best for our children, now and in the future. This means taking steps as a parent to ensure that their future is secure and that your child is prepared to face that future with confidence and skill. Taking a few minutes today to make small decisions can cause a significant ripple effect for years after you’re no longer around, and your child will thank you for it.