It’s interesting. My parents had me do all of the following growing up:
Read Robert T. Kiyosaki books @ the dinner table as kids
Open up with my ROTH IRA @ age 14
Become an entrepreneur in elementary school through various side gigs — including establishing a lemonade stand, selling Arbonne with my mom, cleaning churches, cleaning upscale condominiums, writing articles, selling products or my stuff on e-commerce sites, listening and reading to personal development tapes, and books that my mother then paid me for completing, teaching piano and guitar, and more.
They also invested in many extracurricular activities:
Study abroad programs
My parents genuinely set me up for success. I will be forever grateful to my parents. I didn’t have to run with all of the knowledge and opportunities they exposed me to, but I decided to continually improve and do life better than the average person.
Here’s The Issue, Though
In my eyes, my parents over-invested in me because, as I reflect, I didn’t see them invest in their own selves and financial well-being as they did for me.
That’s a problem.
Often parents will sacrifice their own financial well-being to invest in their kids' extracurricular activities, college funds, closets (e.g., clothing and shoes), and invaluable experiences.
Parents will literally go broke and be broke but still continually invest in their kids without ever taking a moment to say: “Hey! What about me? What about my future? What about my life?”
Advice to Parents: Don’t Compromise Your Financial Health For Your Kids
Sure it pays off for some kids. We hear stories about the single parent who invested their every dollar into their son, daughter, or non-binary kid who went on to become a legendary athlete, celebrity, or business tycoon. But more often than not, this doesn’t happen, and the parents are left with empty pockets, drained souls — from over-giving, and at times, bitterness.
Remember to Prioritize YOU
We need to have conversations about this topic more because I don’t see them — often or at all.
Parents: When it comes to money, take care of yourself first because time is not on your side anymore.
Empower your children to invest and be financially independent at a young age. After I left the nest, I paid my way for college, I paid for my own car, and I never had to borrow money from my parents, and I’m thankful I was able to do this. With all that, I wish my parents had focused on investing in their retirement accounts sooner than later because when you start investing later, you’re playing catch up for all the lost time. Wouldn’t it have been easier to start investing and prioritizing your financial well-being a decade or two ago versus now?
Here’s How It Goes For Many Parents
Step 1: You invest your every dollar, time, and energy in the kids
Step 2: The kids grow up and eventually leave the nest
Step 3: You’re left with loads of debt, no savings, less time, and less energy
Let’s End The Dependence On Each Other
We need to end parents being dependent upon their kids financially — later in life, and kids being financially dependent on their parents when all they really need is a job and the gumption to make more financially sound decisions. But all of this takes discipline and boundaries, something painful and hard to implement, which is why most people avoid it. However, discipline and maintaining healthy boundaries make life easier for everyone.
I wish my parents had invested more in themselves earlier in life. They realize it now, too.
When we reach a catalytic realization, all we can do is move forward from there and establish a new game plan. Remember, though, the longer you wait to make a change, the harder it will be to recover and gain financial independence.
Take tremendous care and unconditionally love your kids within your means, but be sure to take tremendous care and unconditionally love yourself first.
Destiny S. Harris is a writer, poet, entrepreneur, teacher, and techie who offers free books daily on amazon. Destiny obtained three degrees in political science, psychology, and women’s studies. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook, or @ destinyh.com
This article is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered Financial or Legal Advice. Not all information will be accurate. Consult a financial professional before making any significant financial decisions.