What do we give our kids?

Parents want to give the best to their kids. Sounds like a no-brainer. But there’s a big disparity in what that means.

Our parents: we saw them go deeper and deeper into debt, working for years (still working…) to give kids nicer homes, more stuff, more experiences, horses, animals, travels, college…

Joseph’s parents moved to another country for several years to pay off their mortgage back in the States. Big sacrifice, but besides paying off the mortgage, they also gave the kids an experience living abroad. But they re-mortgaged the house to send both their kids to expensive, private, liberal arts college (read: limited career opportunities after that degree!).

Other parents trying to give the best:

  • Big vacations
  • College paid for: A neighbor constantly talked about not wanting to have more kids because he had to pay for the kids college (we think there’s a burst coming in that education bubble!)
  • Bigger houses (read:mortgages) in nicer neighborhoods for the best school opportunities
  • Brand name clothing
  • Newest toys and accessories
  • New phones/technology
  • Expensive birthday parties
  • Presents to keep up with what their friends are getting
  • Big vacations to Disney World and the like

OR our choice:

Limiting kids material things doesn’t mean limiting life experiences!
Photo credit: Creative Commons
  • Small home
  • Used clothing (hand me downs or thrift store finds)
  • Older cars
  • Limited gifts at birthdays and Christmas
  • Small home birthday parties
  • Simple and close vacations

What are we ultimately giving them? Just like all parents, we want what’s best for them. While what we give them is far into a frugal style of living, we hope what we’ve given them ultimately is:

  • More time together and happy memories independent of material things
  • Sense of entrepreneurial spirit
  • Ability and strength to distinguish between material needs and wants
  • Valuing nature, family, and hard work
  • Love of learning and achievement for self improvement

Only time will tell if our choices are really best for our family, but the more we achieve financial freedom ourselves, the more we spend time with our children while also teaching them the business side of our investing and budgeting! Life lessons that can’t be overrated.

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