How to help your children to get on the property ladder
These days, our children can be financially dependant on us well into their adulthood, here at The Money Guardian it is common for us to be helping clients in their 40s and 50s who have still needed help from their parents to be able to move on the property ladder, often as a result of a separation or divorce. This is a sign of the times with the increasing cost of renting, rising house prices and the need for 2 parents to be working to manage household expenses with expensive childcare costs as a result.
Circumstances that cause us as adults to struggle financially can’t always be helped, but it is possible for those of us with younger families to help our children to prepare for their future from an early age and encourage good saving & spending habits in childhood. Here we offer practical steps to start with your children while they are young, that may make all of the difference to help them get on the property ladder sooner.
Start saving for them early on in their lives
It sounds simple but too often parents delay getting around to doing this or don’t prioritise it in a structured way. Starting up savings accounts in their names so that whatever obstacles life throws at us, our children’s money is theirs and not ours. Keeping money in our own bank accounts for our children one day will make it tempting to borrow from or change the plan for, if times in our life get hard. As soon as we can after our children are born, we should open up accounts for them and consider an affordable regular amount that we can commit to, something is better than nothing no matter what you can afford.
Spend less at Birthdays & Christmasses
It’s easy to want to spoil our children on Birthdays or Christmas especially, why not split the amount you would spend on them on these occasions between gifts they can open to enjoy and savings in their bank? If a child is used to having £300 spent on them it is hard to reverse this, so start early with setting a limit on the amount you will spend on them to buy gifts and how much you will put away for them. Presents will come and go, as a parent we see countless presents bought for our children that they do very little, if anything, with. Spending less and not trying to compete with the ‘going rate’ for gifts that their friends will have them believe they have spent on them. Being confident that we know best and saving for our child’s future is the right thing to be doing for our children over excessive Birthday and Christmas spends.
Share your windfalls with them
In our lives we may from time to time come into sums of money either through winning it or being gifted it by someone, perhaps inheriting after losing a loved one. It is easy to see it that our children’s ‘time will come’ to inherit themselves. Trying to allocate a proportion of whatever we can to our children’s future – our future self will thank us for it when we are able to see our child/children in a better position or they may be less reliant on us financially in the long run.
Save the childcare costs after the childcare costs stop
Ok so getting to the end of an expensive period of chidcare is a time of celebration and a release of great financial pressure on a family, it is easy to delight in the increase in our disposable income and start planning some things we would like to do as a family with the extra spending money. Use this time also to review savings plan for children and allocate some or all of the money previously paid out on childcare to children’s savings. This doesn’t have to be forever but imagine what stretching to doing this for another 3, 6 or 9 months would generate in savings?
Take out family and income protection to get us through financial difficulties
In our lives it is likely we will face times when we may struggle financially, either through losing our jobs, changing career with a drop in income or due to ill health or in some more serious cases a diagnoses of a critical or terminal illness. When we are young, with a young family, talking to our older selves about the need to have protection in place for when we might need it, is really important. It’s also much cheaper to take out when we are young and can guarantee premiums to stay the same with many insurance polices. Preparing against the unexpected in life means when times are hard we can continue to manage our financial commitments and household expenses and even continue to save for our children.
Have life insurance in place to leave a legacy if you are not here
We don’t like to think that it could happen, but sadly for some it does and losing a parent will be the hardest thing a child will ever have to face. Money can’t replace the loss of the unconditional love of a parent and the support that a parent gives in their lifetime. Life insurance can however help a child if we were no longer there to care for them, whether it’s enough to help them get through university, a deposit for their first home or enough to help them pay for their wedding something good can come out of a very sad and difficult situation.
Always aim to save something for them
We know not everyone can afford to regularly save for their children and some may not be able to afford to save at all, but for those who can, aiming to save for our children as part of our regular commitments can make all of the difference to helping our children when they become adults and give them the best start in life. It can also be very rewarding as a parent to watch savings for them grow and share that journey and our aspirations for their future with them.
So with the right focus & finances you can start now to build a future for your children that will help them to get on the property ladder when they are ready.
At The Money Guardian, we help our clients to protect against the unexpected life events that can impact us financially such as critical illnesses, ill health or the loss of a loved one. To find out more please check out our website and get in touch.