How much do children play a role when creating budgets on your way to building wealth? I’m not talking about the $300 a month it costs to raise a child. I’m not talking about the choice between private vs public schools for the kids (The Debt Free Divas offer some good food for thought on that one) and I’m not even talking about the daunting task of paying for college, should they be inclined to attend.
What I’m wondering is how much you can, can’t, should or shouldn’t “drag” your children into your plans and adjustments to life, budgeting your way to wealth.
One side of the equation for creating budgets, to build wealth (or getting out of debt for that matter) is cutting cost wherever possible. Cutting cost can come in many forms and for some wealth builders quite extreme ones.
A recent tweet on my post “10 ways to save money on your car” received the reply “just don’t buy one”. This reply came from fellow Personal Finance bloggers at whatlifecouldbe.eu. Mr. and Mrs. W live in Germany and give a European perspective to Financial Independence. The European bit (being an expat from over there myself) made me quick to reply that: not getting a car where it could work, would make perfect sense but… in the United States most places won’t make it possible to do so.
I grew up in the Netherlands and know that every store, every school and even the dentist are within walking/biking distance of your home. The same is absolutely untrue for the majority of places here in the States.
The rebuttal to that was: “find an affordable place that does support public transportation and offers good jobs”. Logically correct again. I could go into how few and far between (if any) of those places exist but that wasn’t what came to mind initially. What came to mind was: but what about the kids? Why would someone uproot their children from their school, friends and family just so they can be financially free?
It’s not just moving somewhere to find cheaper living circumstances; many Financial Independence sites promoting minimalist living, in the pursuit of financial independence, can jump through some interesting hoops to get there. They can range from living in abject poverty to recommending living abroad several months a year to enjoy the benefit of weaker currencies.
All of that is great if you are up for it. If I was 25 again I might even join in. But I’m
not. I’m in my mid 40s but more importantly, have children. Children that go to school and for whom we moved to where we live to be closer to family and friends, not to find cheaper resources.
Am I just too concerned, too mindful? Am I restricting our possibilities due to our kids (or I should say due to my concern for them)? The answer may very well be a resounding YES.
When our kids were babies we would go through immeasurable lengths to keep them comfortable on our trip to Europe to see Opa and Oma. There are however parents that will strap their babies to their backpack and go hiking in the Amazon. Whether that is right or wrong I’m not to judge. As a matter of fact, I quietly envy those baby-backpack strapping parents.
I feel like I’m stuck in Wisconsin for the next 2 decades since we’ll still have family here, and as the kids spend more time here, the more they will be ingrained in their local lives here with school and friends. Is that even right? Military kids go from one place to the next and even though media portrays them as “broken” people I don’t necessarily believe that to be true for all (if any).
Lucky for us we already reached our Financial Independence so I won’t have to make any live changing moves to get there (anymore). The worst our kids suffer is the “we can’t afford that” once in a while due to our budget. It does beg the question if some methods to building wealth or achieving financial independence are not suitable for parents and more importantly their children. I am curious to hear how other people (maybe you) feel about this.
How much do you have to keep your children in mind on your path to building wealth or for that matter any lifestyle? Do they play a major factor or are they along for the ride?
After all, I’ve heard kids are better at adapting then us old people.
Love to get some feedback on this one.
in the meantime, Good luck reaching your financial goals.