Bringing a child into this world is a pretty big deal, and the financial implications are probably even bigger. Figures doing the rounds suggest the average cost of raising a child is approximately £230,000. Gulp. Although this figure looks a little overwhelming, don't panic because the good news is that super-parents are making it happen every day. Since the cost of raising a child is so expensive, how then do you manage to put aside funds for their savings as well? There are lots of benefits of maintaining steady savings for your kids, but the most obvious one is to ensure a solid foundation as they transition to adulthood. A further benefit is that the act of saving sets a good example to your children, one habit that you hope they will pick up and continue. As your children begin to find their way in the world, savings and investments are a good way to ensure they have the flexibility and financial stability they need. We've compiled a list of creative and practical ways that you can begin saving for your child's future, irrespective of the stage of parenthood that you're at. Even if you're not a parent, this information is relevant to you as well because as they say "it takes a village to raise a child". One of the good things about the methods we will suggest below, is that most of them will give you the opportunity to carry the children along with your savings goals as they grow. Be responsible with your child's savings, just like we are responsible with the way we advertise, see here.
At the infant stage, your child is busy eating, sleeping and being cute, so it's going to be left to you to kick-start the funds that will go into their savings. It is best to get a head-start, as the longer you save, the more you'll most likely accumulate. As he or she grows, you can begin to use more creative ways to involve them in the savings process which we'll go into more detail about later on. Until then you're going to need to roll up your sleeves and put your best foot forward to learn a little bit about finances and the options available for your little one. Being responsible for your children's saving goals is a serious matter and similar to how seriously we take responsible lending.
Unless you intend to save your kids money in a gigantic piggy bank throughout their life, you're most likely going to need a savings amount to keep their money in. This area needs a lot of research as you will need to determine which accounts are best for your savings needs. Also note that most accounts are liable to be taxed once the annual interest exceeds a certain amount each year, however Junior ISAs for example allow you to save tax free up until the age of 18. You're not going to get high returns for this, but over time, it will definitely be worthwhile. Who better to invest in your child's savings than you? Consider setting up a direct debit so that a certain amount comes out each month. If you pledged to £50 a month, by the time your child is 17, they would have over £10,000, interest aside. Not such a bad start to adulthood!
This may seem like a scary option as there is risk involved, but bear in mind that sometimes the greater the risk, the greater the gain. Finance guru's say that investments might do better than your typical savings account, so you may want to consider researching the subject and speaking to experts in the field. Remember though the risk is that you could loose the amount that you invested. It is tempting to choose child related products to invest in seeing as the investment is for your child, but you should know that an investment can be held on behalf of a child and assigned their name or initials. On that premise, feel free to explore different investment options and pick whichever makes the most sense to you. Examples include:
The days of people just giving your baby hard earned cash for being unbearably cute aren't over yet. Instead of spending that money, you might want to consider throwing it into their savings account instead.
The toddler stage of your child's development has got to be one of the most entertaining, as it's when your child's personality starts coming to life. This stage of development is a great time to identify areas of talent worth nurturing and developing. The areas you identify can prove to be a great opportunity to generate funds that you can add into their savings.
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Some kids are born to be little Picassos and their art work is cute enough for people to buy. You can try framing their artwork and selling them online for a reasonable amount. Art is subjective, so you never know who might buy it. It doesn't just have to be art, you can try and sell their craft work too, such as their pottery, needlework and even their installation pieces. We kid you not!
Baby clothes and toys come in abundance as your child is growing. They're often gifted by friends and family, sometimes leaving you with more than you need. There is also the reality of your child quickly outgrowing their clothes over the years, and you having no idea what to do with the clothes aside from pile them in storage. Keep them in good condition because they can most definitely be sold. The profit you make can go into your child's savings pot.
Nothing melts people's hearts and makes them spend money like a cute and witty kid. Most people are guilty of having tons of things in their home they don't need. If you also fit into this category, consider a car boot or holding a garage sale which hosted by your little one. A large sum, if not all of the money can go to your child for doing such a great job of meeting and greeting as well as assisting you.
If you find your child has a big personality, there's a great opportunity in this digital age to monetise it. Most of us have a soft spot for a funny and cute kid, so starting a vlog and opening an accompanying social media page it's a great start to them making their own money. All you really need to start are candid videos of your kid, Internet access and a camera. If it can attract an audience then it opens up the possibility of generating revenue from sponsorship, hosting adverts and commercials.
Teenage years require you to begin to grant some independence, so it might not advisable to try and control their finances by forcing them to save at this stage. As scary as it is, your growing child will soon be leaving the nest. It may then be a good idea to equip them with the financial knowledge they need to prepare them for adulthood and financial independence.
Although it is very unlikely that your teenager will be certain about what they want to do with their life at this stage, it is a good idea to start discussing different career options. Throw the financial aspect into the mix by researching the different income possibilities for each career of interest. This will get them to start seeing how much they can earn in the future and what kind of life they can live with such earnings.
Following on from the previous suggestion, if your teen has an idea of different career paths and the financial fruit each could yield, it will help put financial goals into prospective. Ask them about the types of houses they would like to live in and the types of things they would like to own. If they mention expensive things, then explain to them expensive taste comes at a cost. They may begin to understand that to have the finer things of life, they will have to work hard and save in many instances. This should get them thinking about how they will manage their money when they begin earning
As well as doing brainstorming and research activities with them regarding finance, getting them to read books to begin understanding concepts such as credit, paying bills, investments and mortgages in the simplest way possible may help. Them understanding how money and finances work as early as possible should help prevent them from plundering the money and investments that you've provided them with in the future.
Many teens will be enthusiastic about getting a job because of the prospect of finally being able to earn money and spend it how they want. On one hand, they will learn how to earn money, but on the other they might not do great when it comes to managing it. Either way, the best way to get them to see the value of all of the money you've worked together to save for them over the years is by letting them experience first-hand the reality of having to work to earn money. If they are under 16 and/ or they can't find official employment, suggest other ways they can make money such as doing chores, baby sitting or perhaps even tutoring. The summer is great time to start or continue a job search. Here are 4 great reasons why your teen should really consider a summer job:
Some jobs only exist in the summer and are usually connected to the leisure and travel industry. For example, an outdoor waterpark in Northern Europe is unlikely to be busy or even open in the winter!
Hardly surprising that the most common time of the year to take a holiday is the summer, however employers may need to cover that time off. It may mean that there are more opportunities in the traditional summer break to work as a temp than other times of the year.
Don't restrict the search to your own country, cast the net wide and consider an opportunity in a different country, language or culture. Broaden those horizons and gain more than just some cash in the pocket.
The accumulation of most of these methods should leave your no longer so little child with a healthy sum of money over the years. Once they turn 18 and are ready to leave the nest, what do you do with their savings then? The answer is nothing, as for most savings accounts, by the age of 18 they have access to their money/investments. The best you can do is trust that you didn't do such a bad job as their personal financial advisor over the years, so they'll do a decent job managing their money on their own.
There really is no blueprint on how to save for your kids, but a combination of multiple ideas and efforts as well as using available resources will get you on the right track. Remember that there are a million and one ways to make money, and this might be applicable to methods you can use for saving for your children as well. Like any great goal you're trying to achieve, sustaining savings for your kids over the years can be an uphill challenge, but if you put the right measures in place it could be a lot easier. It will all be worth it in the end and nothing will beat the satisfaction you'll get as a parent knowing you've done your best to secure your child's future.
Do you presently have any savings for your kids? Share some ideas and tactics you've used to save money as well as methods you use to teach your kids about finances and saving on our social media pages. Feel free to share this article with people who need some inspiration to get started or motivation to keep going. For more information try the child savings page at the Money Advice Service. If you want more information on our loans, check out our Questions page.