Google in 2004.
Okay, but Really
There is a multitude of different investments you can make, all with varying degrees of risk, return, and liquidity. In the investment world, we weigh these three factors against each other constantly to figure out the correct percentage of assets to allocate to each type of investment. Generally, the riskier an investment, the higher the potential payout. But what if I told you that there is a number one investment you can make that far exceeds the return of any other where risk is not a factor?
“What? You’re crazy!” I know it sounds suspicious, but it’s true! There is one investment you can make that produces more value than any other, and that is your children. The reason that investing in the future generations has no risk and limitless return is because it is not an investment for direct monetary gain, per se. To be clear, when I say “return” or “investment” in this context, I am not talking about money. I am talking about value and time. Most people would agree that kids are more valuable than any amount of money and worth investing the time into. This means the return itself is not exactly measurable, but that does not take away the value of that return in any way. After all, they are your number one investment.
College Debt, the Opportunity Killer
Student loans have continued to increase, and they’ve never been higher.
According to Forbes, the total student loan debt in the US is just over $1.5 trillion dollars (2019). When the numbers get this large, it is hard to put them into perspective. For reference, a trillion dollars is taking a million dollars, and multiplying that by another million… In short, that’s a lot of student loan debt.
There are many reasons why this number is so high, but that is a topic for another time. I’m not going to focus on ways to fix the problem at large but instead will give insight into why it’s important, and some of the best actions that I believe you can take in regard to your number one investment.
Your Family and Legacy
The importance of your legacy and your children’s future cannot be measured. Your kids are the future of the entire world. No pressure to them of course. Why does that matter to you? Well, if you consider yourself to be the most important person in your life, then I suppose it doesn’t. But if you care about your children more than yourself, it matters to you more than anyone. With the level of uncertainty we have always faced when it comes to the future, it is important to set the next generation up with as many opportunities and as little roadblocks as possible.
Start with Yourself
Slow down there, pal. Before you start thinking about handing over all your money to your kids, you must make sure that you yourself are financially secure. In other words, you must first have your own portfolio in order. How does that line go? Secure your own mask before helping others with theirs? This concept certainly applies to more than just bags that fall from the roof of airplanes. Financial security is more than just about having enough money or even more than enough money. It’s about having your money and assets in the right places. This is why a wealth advisor’s job is so important. We understand the market trends, statistical data, current economic events, and most importantly, we know how to deal with the uncertainty that our economy faces so that the future generations can be set up for the brightest future.
Saving for Retirement Vs. Saving for Your Child’s Education
Many parents struggle with deciding how much they should be saving for their retirement vs. how much they should set aside for their children’s education. The first thing to understand is the different lengths of time that each event has. College is generally four years, while retirement is around twenty years or more. Another important thing to understand is that, as expensive as college can be, there are more than enough ways to pay for it, including grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study. Retirement, on the other hand, is up to the retiree to fund. Generally, if money is tight, you will most likely want to focus on your retirement fund, so you don’t rely on your children’s support after you retire. However, if you are diligent with your personal savings or retirement funds, planning for your child’s future is an invaluable investment and gift to your number one investment.
Creating a Plan
As important as it is to invest time into your children to teach them, nurture them, and help them grow, setting aside money for them can be a great idea. Having enough money to send your child to school doesn’t just happen by chance, however. A study from Sallie May in 2018 shows that parents with a structured, well-advised savings plan for their children’s education have over double the savings than those without a plan by the time their child goes to college. This is good news for you since you know your number one investment and you’re a responsible parent looking to set their child up for success. This is no surprise and can easily be applied to any other monetary goal that you may have. Plans work, especially ones that have data supporting their successes.
Click here to speak with a financial advisor about creating a plan that’s right for you!
The 529 Plan
We know that you want the best for your kids. You most likely want to give your kids the entire world, but since I’m guessing you can’t afford that, opening a 529 is a good alternative. Qualified Tuition Plans (529 plan) are state-sponsored savings plans designed for future education costs. Residence from all 50 states can begin investing for these plans. Here are the benefits, and why you might want to consider a 529 for your child’s future education.
• There are no restrictions on age or income
• You have full control over your investment
• Other individuals can contribute gifts into the account
• The beneficiary is flexible
• Most importantly – tax advantages – As long as the money ends up being used for qualified tuition expenses (tuition, room and board, computers, textbooks, other fees), it grows federally tax-free, and is not taxed when withdrawn. See graph below.
Hypothetical account with a $500 monthly contribution growing at 6% and assuming a 28% tax bracket.
(Disclaimer- These are hypothetical numbers for visualization purposes only. This graph is not illustrative of any particular return from a specific account and is not intending to predict the outcome of any future 529 investments.)
Overall, every generation has a major responsibility to the next. Your number one investment has extraordinary value. Investing in them is more than just simply saving for their education. It’s about setting an example, while teaching them important values and how to be responsible with their own money as well. Having and raising children, teaching them, and saving money for them is more than an investment, it’s a sacrifice. We know you want what’s best for your kids. That is why you invest so much time, money, and effort raising them, so they can be set up for as many opportunities as possible as they grow up. We aren’t talking about specific stocks, bonds, and numbers, we’re talking about value. Investing in the next generation in any way is one of the greatest investments you can make. After all, investing was never about today, it’s about the future.