You give your children enough money to do something but not enough to do nothing.
~ From The Descendants
It is never too early or too late to start saving money. And although my kids are two and an infant, I am thinking about what is the best way to get them started in their adult lives. Brandon is sixteen years away from college, which is only about half the time most people take to pay off their mortgages, so saving could definitely start now.
Before I had kids, I said I would pay for their first cars so they could get jobs as early as sixteen if they'd like. Of course, before sixteen, if they wanted to do odd jobs for people or bike or walk somewhere, I'm fine with that. But always being able to walk or ride to work here isn't as realistic for my kids as it was for me living in Washington. Here we have days that are extremely hot or extremely cold, and some days they close school for the kids who stand at the bus stop because of the wind chill.
But now that I have worked and hired people and realized the bias people get because they do or don't have a Bachelor's degree (even if it isn't relevant to the job they're applying for), I realize maybe I want to help pay for my kids' education, too, if they feel so inclined to pursue further education. I want to set my kids up in early adulthood so that they're successful for the remainder of adulthood without me.
But I don't want them to be spoiled brats, either. Which is why I used that quote. If you enable your children to live as they'd like, rather than as they should, they are bound to get into trouble. When I say I would like to buy their first car, know that it won't be a Range Rover or a Lexus. I'm not about making my children popular, rather about making them practical, responsible, independent adults. I must remember to buy them a car lame enough that they immediately want to work hard to buy a better one.