Ask a good looking tennis pro to offer their view on the sanctity of marriage and you might be surprised. Away from prying eyes, there is a fair amount of “but we never hooked up” going on.
At it’s core, this post is about keeping your home life a mile away from an unfortunate outcome.
About the time our first child was born (2008), I found my financial life under pressure. The approach we took was unconventional.
We downsized and, effectively, spent half the proceeds from the sale of our home on childcare. I did this with the full knowledge of the annuity math underlying our financial lives. Over a decade, our childcare bill was the equivalent of ~5 years worth of current living expenses.
Most financial advisers would advise against selling a house to pay for childcare. Many families go the other direction => up-sizing: (a) complexity, (b) bills and (c) financial stress… when the kids arrive.
Downsizing was one of my best decisions of the last 20 years. It enabled me: (a) to get help to directly improve the quality of my marriage, (b) to give my wife some space, and (c) to maintain some form of personal life, at a time of great change.
This next one was a happy accident – I just wanted the kids out of the house.
My wife found an outstanding preschool. The lesson: socialize your kids as early as possible.
While my kids don’t always get along with each other, they are experts at getting along with others. Not spending this money would have been a false economy.
=> Total here was equivalent to another year of current living expenses.
Unexpected bonus from this choice => spending time with outstanding preschool teachers made me a better parent AND give me a deep respect for the quiet achievers in childhood education.
Because we focused on socialization, all three of my kids started Kindergarten behind their peers. We didn’t panic and this worked itself out by the middle of Grade Two. We gave a big push in Grade One to support our son learning to read – lots of little lessons at home and at school.
So it worked out to ~50% increase in Core Cost of Living for a dozen years.
Another way to quantify for you… finish college debt free, save $1,000 a month for 20 years, roll the capital into a good real estate deal… Gone by my 50th birthday.
The Lesson: the skills required to accumulate Financial Capital are different from what it takes to develop Human Capital (kids and marriages).
I don’t miss the “half a house” – it was an excellent trade.
Childcare, early education and health insurance => if you want to bring something to your adult kids, without creating incentives for consumption, then these items could be a good place to start.
It’s easy for a well-intentioned, conventionally successful family member to create lifestyle inflation for their entire family system.
Helping pay for preschool seems a pretty safe bet for help-without-harm.
PS: If you spend your weekends out of the house then remember my warning about your spouse “not hooking up” => most bad things done to me, have a seed in choices made by me.
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