It seems lately that I’ve been surrounded by a plethora of good news about my family and friends with regard to grown children. At my age (29) the discussions around friends seem to center around the exploits and travails of our children, now out of college (ok- I’m not 29) and progressing into the real world. New jobs, marriages, children…it’s all in the package. We, as parents, try to help our kids keep on the straight and narrow, but you know the score…what do we know? You get that too? The roll of the eyes, the shake of the head? I remember an old saying I read some years ago…”when my child was 12, I knew nothing. When he/she came out of college and we began to have intelligent adult conversation, he/she was amazed at what I knew. It was amazing what I learned in those few years.”
When reaching adulthood, our children have new challenges, not unlike we did. The times are different, and the barriers the same: getting a job, marriage, living quarters, first baby, yadayadayada. Here are a few things to pass along to them- tell them it’s from me. If it’s from you, you know the result!
Let’s first tackle the just-out-of-college-and-don’t-have-a-job-yet-so-can-I-still-live-at-home conversation. When my daughter graduated college and came home, we had this conversation. After much deliberations and agreement, we came to the following deal: We would house her, feed her, pay for her medical and car insurance for 3 months to give her time to get a job. After the 3 months, it would be her obligation to pay for her car insurance, and we assume that health insurance would be paid for by her new employer. In addition, as soon as she was qualified to participate in the 401(k) plan, she would put away 10% of her salary. If not, she would pay us $500 a month for rent, and I would definitely not give it back.
She was employed in 2 months, and satisfied all the above. When she stopped working to bless us with a Grandson, she had quite a retirement start in the pot. Great job.
Usually, the first residence for our kids is an apartment. Make sure they take out renters insurance to cover them for fire, theft, and personal liability in the case someone gets injured on their premises. If broken into and robbed, the sheer invasion of privacy is disturbing enough: losing everything and not being able to replace it without going to Mom and Dad is even harder.
Life insurance is an issue rarely talked about but very often needed at some point in our lives. At our kids’ young age, the cost of insurance is inexpensive in comparison to it being priced later in life. Talk to your insurance agent or your Chestnut Planner about designing a permanent (not term) insurance program for them at this greatly reduced rate. Remember, although you may feel they don’t need it now, eventually they will meet the love of their life and get married, necessitating the purchase of life insurance. Buy it now while they’re young and it’s “on sale.”
Do estate planning, including a will, power of attorney, living will and health care proxy. In later blogs, I will explain in detail these documents. There is nothing more tragic than a parent losing a child. If they own things, just being the parent does not automatically mean everything gets transferred to you unless the child has previously stated so. Help your child learn about this “grown-up issue” early in life.
Once involved in a 401(k) or other pension plan, consult a professional for help. Asking the guy in the next cubicle which investments he or she picked is not the best way to direct your future. Introduce them to your Certified Financial Planner™ and then stay out of it- let them establish their own relationship.
It’s tough watching them grow up. It tougher watching them make mistakes…but we must all find our path, whatever it may be. Some just have more potholes than others…