Having children fundamentally realigns your priorities, leading many of us to change our approach to long-term planning.
Any parent knows having children is the most rewarding, challenging and consuming job there is.
Kids have a way of changing the way you look at life – where somebody else’s wellbeing becomes more important than your own.
When you have children, your priorities change immediately. Suddenly that holiday or expensive night out becomes traded for school fees and sports uniforms.
None of this is a particularly big sacrifice, because at the end of the day we all have the same goals in mind: To give our kids a happy childhood, and help them grow into positive, contributing members of society.
The funny thing about having kids however, is how it forces you to look at the kind of future you want.
Most of us don’t plan out in meticulous detail where we want to be, or how we want to live in 40 years time. But when it comes to our children, our dreams and plans have no end.
I already know I want to take my (as yet non-existent) grandchildren on holidays every year.
My husband and I would love to help each of our kids buy their first home, and be part of their lives as adults through travel and shared life experiences.
These are the dreams and hopes of most parents, but they cost a lot of money.
This is when the thought of retirement planning becomes real, because to make these dreams reality, you have to take care of your own financial future. Not later, but now.
A good financial adviser, and I am not one but let’s just say I’ve interviewed a lot, can help you by drawing out a long-term pathway to help you reach your goals.
But it is worthwhile doing the numbers yourself.
What kind of lifestyle do you want in the next phase of your life?
Each of your dreams has a number – and given enough time, you can fulfil all of them – but this comes with many years of planning and preparation – not just five or ten.
I have found with many of my friend’s, and in my own life, kids are a great motivator for wealth planning for the future. This is because there is nothing we would not do for our children.
I would be interested to know from advisers how many of their clients talk about their dreams for their children before their own.
Is there something we can do differently as an industry and society to push this up the agenda?
Whatever your dream, I know the only way to bring it to life is to articulate it, cost it, then plan it.
So dream big!