Saving for Retirement or Your Children’s Future

Why planning for a secure retirement is as important as helping your children get ahead.


As a father, I completely understand the desire to provide the best for one's children. But we shouldn’t do so at the cost of our own financial future. Faced with a decision between buying a new bike for your kid or contributing to a Roth IRA for a retirement that is decades in the future, the choice seems clear. However, the next time you choose to buy the best for your children, consider the following:

[See Parents Using Retirement Savings for College Costs.]

Your kids don’t need the added burden. At the end of the day, most children will take care of their aging parents at least emotionally and perhaps financially too. If you don't have money to pay for your own retirement, your children will either pitch in or at the very least worry about your financial situation, putting unnecessary pressure on themselves. Why put them through that stress?

Your kids have more time to experience everything. Your child's whole life is ahead of him or her, with plenty of time to enjoy everything. There's really no rush to throw all your money at trying to get your children everything that they want at a very young age.

[See 5 Ways to Help Your Children Become Wealthy.]

Not buying everything for them will actually help your kids. The way to teach young children about being financially responsible is definitely not by trying to please them every step of the way. Giving in to their demands is actually the easy way out. By teaching children delayed gratification early, they will learn to build a good financial future on their own.

There are more resources available for your kids than you think. One of the major obstacles of your retirement savings as a parent is your child's college fund. But if you do the research, there are many grants and loans available at the federal, state, and school level. Financial help is available for your kids, as long as you help them take the time to apply. Even after they finish college, there are resources to help them pay off their student loans.

[See 7 Ways to Pay for College Without Sacrificing Retirement.]

What your kids need is love and time, not money and toys. Many dual income families try to compensate for a lack of time with their children by showering them with gifts. We all know that, while money is important, it cannot compensate for everything. Spend more time with your children, and you will realize that it's not the money they need, but your love. Save your money for your retirement, and give your children the time and care they deserve.

David Ning runs MoneyNing, a personal finance site aimed at helping others change their habits for a better financial future. He suggests that everyone to sign up for an online savings account to get more out of our hard earned money.