Sometimes children are pressured into poor financial decisions by their parents. This isn’t to say that this is always the case, but I know at times I’ve felt a certain obligation to do things or make financial decisions based upon the whims and wants of parents.
From an early age, there are often certain expectations that a child feels obligated to conform to due to family history or beliefs. And while I want the best for my son, I’m going to do as much as I can to reduce the chance that he’ll be making life and financial decisions based upon family desires. While I’ll always be there for my son, I don’t want him to feel as if he needs to conform in some way to meet my financial expectations.
I always felt obligated to go to college. And while at the time it didn’t seem like the worst decision in the world, looking back on it now, I wonder if I wouldn’t have been better served with doing what I felt in my heart.
My mother had gone to college, graduate school, and got her doctorate degree. My grandfather and grandmother on my mother’s side had gone to good colleges. And it was just an expectation that I would go to college as well. After meeting with a navy recruiter as a high school senior and being offer a spot in their Nuclear Power Program for submarines, I turned down the offer in order to pursue a four-year degree because I felt it was what I was “supposed to do.”
I often wonder though, if it was indeed the correct decision and should the opportunity for my son to do something he loves that doesn’t involve a college degree, I would hope he pursues it, knowing that he can always pursue such a degree later should he choose to do so.
Buying a home can be a major financial decision in a person’s life. And sometimes family can sway you in the type of home you buy or where you buy it. In the long run, and especially if things don’t work out well with a particular home purchase, it can create animosity or other strained relations among family members.
I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll never push my son to settle down and buy a home. How and where he lives is up to him. If he’s happy living in a one-bedroom apartment with his wife, their three kids and a dog, then so be it. I’ll let him live in the environment that is conducive to his happiness — not mine.
A Regular Job
For a long period of my adolescent life, I thought that obtaining the typical Monday through Friday, 9-5 job was the way things were supposed to be done. As I grew older however, I realized that this path is not right for everyone.
After starting my freelance endeavors and especially lately with the advancement of technology and the variety of ways to make money that don’t always conform to the norm, I see no reason why someone has to settle for the typical employer-based job or career. As world economies collide, jobs are outsourced, and companies rapidly rise and fall, I think that being able to think outside the box when it comes to what a job is and how to approach the subject of finding an income is wide open and should be approached with an eye to opportunity, not just settling for a secure paycheck. But that decision will be up to my son and whatever he feels comfortable with.
My wife and I have stuck close to the Midwest for a number of years, largely because it was where family was and where we both were born. However, while in many ways it’s nice to be close to family, we’ve never been completely happy in this geographic environment, and I feel it has in some ways limited our opportunities and affected the decisions we have made.
While I would love for my son to stay close to us as he grows older, I in no way want to inhibit him from venturing out and making his own way in the world. And while if he moves far away, I’ll certainly miss him terribly, it doesn’t really make a difference where he ends up. I will somehow make a way to be there to see him one way or the other.
More From This Contributor:
5 Websites that Could Save You Money
Valuable Financial Lessons From Mom and Dad
How One Page Simplified My Financial Life
The author is not a licensed financial professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or financial advice. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.