Preparing For The Big Milestones In Your Children’s Lives

Having children means you need to be prepared for anything.  From the small problems we all share, like how to keep the magic of Christmas alive, to the larger problems that can crop up, such as medical bills.  As they grow older you will need to be prepared for heartaches, new jobs, fashion demands and the ever so popular gap year.

Let’s take a look at three of the big events that are bound to crop up as your children come of age and, how to negotiate your way around them.

Hit The Road

financial milestones - learning to drive image

Image by JeShoots

One of the biggest events in your child’s life is going to be learning to drive.  This is their first opportunity to taste freedom.  No more worrying about lifts or relying on mum and dad to get them to the party.  Owning your first car is much more than it seems.

Getting young people on the road is not a cheap affair.  Driving lessons don’t come cheap, Insurance costs for new drivers are insane and quite often more expensive than the car itself.  Of course you are going to want to keep them as safe as you can so purchasing a cheap, second hand car might not be the route you want to go down.

Teaching your children to save from a young age will help bring the cost of getting them mobile down for you.  It is also really beneficial for them to experience the feeling you get when you buy something special with your own money.  They are far more likely to take care of it if they can place a value on the effort and sacrifices it took to buy it.  However, there are lots of incentives for taking out a finance deal on a new car.  Many manufactures offer a years free insurance on certain model in their range which takes one of the huge costs of driving away and gives you a year to build up no claims bonuses.  Perhaps you could take out the agreement and have your child pay the monthly payments to you from their earnings or, by taking on more tasks around the house.

Should you be buying a second hand car then you will need to consider the insurance costs.  Get online and research the best companies for getting them covered and consider all the options for helping them.  Whilst you cannot protect them when they are behind the wheel you can make sure they are covered for the emergencies that can happen.  If you can afford it, give them their insurance as a birthday or Christmas present or share the cost with other family members.

Of course all of this depends on whether they can pass their driving test.  Whilst driving instructors are the best educated to help them achieve this, relying on them can be a pricey business.  Once your kids have mastered the basics consider taking them out with you and letting them practice.  You will need to do your research too because most of us have picked up bad habits over the years.  Do not share these with your children!

The last area to pay attention to is car maintenance.  Teaching the basics of servicing is really important.  Tyre pressures, washer fluid, how to use snow chains.  All this stuff will ensure they are switched on if things go wrong.  Get them into the routine of regularly checking their vehicle over and also, make sure they keep water and a light snack in their glove box.

financial milestones - gap year image

Image from Unsplash

Some of us won’t have to worry about our sons and daughters coming home to announce they want to take a break in their education.  However it is now a very common break to make and there are some real benefits to it.

Travelling the world to increase your cultural awareness and life experience can add a real boost when it comes to getting your first job.  There are loads of ways to ensure your children get a year to discover themselves whilst ensuring they don’t waste this opportunity or create a hurdle within their education.

There are various different routes your children can take.  Considering a volunteer package is a really fantastic idea and there are loads on offer which will support their education.  For sport fanatics there are opportunities to teach out in Africa.  Ghana welcome English teaching assistants plus there are numerous conservations projects.  Keeping it closer to home you could look at homeless shelters, wildlife and nature conservation groups or working with the vulnerable.

Financing a gap year can be hard.  So try to encourage your children to think about this and work out how they can fund their choice.  Perhaps evening work or part time work will help pay for flights or expenses.

Of course one of the biggest worries is what happens if something goes wrong whilst they are in another country.  Make sure they have a good insurance policy.  Failing that talk to friends and family to help raise money.  Depending on the situation you could even look at social media or crowd funding.  In absolute ‘back against the wall’ emergencies, you may need to consider a loan.  There are some great companies offering a variety of finance packages take a look at Swift Money Short Term Loans and work out if this is the right route for you.  Just make sure you have exhausted all options before getting yourself into debt.

Heartbreak Hotel

financial milestones - broken heart image

Image from Pexels

The awful inevitable that at some point your son or daughter will turn up in your kitchen with that indescribable look of pain, comes sooner than you think when kids hit their late teens.  It is a part of life we all have been through and when it is the break up of your first love, it seems even more cutting than ever.

The most important thing you can do is listen.  Offer advice when prompted but be their rock.  Talking is the only way they are going to work through the devastation of a relationship break up.

There can be financial implications involved.  Perhaps the couple were living together in their first home, or had debts they shared.  So whilst listening to them, perhaps offer some logical advice.  It can help to be constructive if you are trying to heal a broken heart and financial pressures are only ever going to cause more tension.

It could be worth, depending on the age of your children, talking to the other parents to take the pressure off them by managing any financial affairs they have.  Allowing them to concentrate on the emotional affects not the financial ones.

Just try to remember that broken hearts do mend and with time they will find their own way through.  Girls are probably easier to support in times like this but boys will need your support even more.  Stay calm, because the truth is watching your baby feeling completely empty is one of the hardest things you will have to do as a parent.  You can’t fix this one, you can only make it a little easier.

Think ahead, stay prepared, research all your options but make sure you give your offspring a little push to be more financially and emotionally aware.