When you're married and have young kids, your to-do list can seem endless. Tasks like saving and investing sound important, but can be hard to reconcile with all the other demands on your time and resources. Should you even worry about investing when you have young kids or should you wait until later in life?
What does the Bible say about investing?
Scripture absolutely supports saving and investing. To mention one instance, Proverbs 21 reminds us of how easy it is to use all our resources (money) in the moment. Instead, we’re called to be long term stewards of our family’s resources through activities like investing.
"Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man's dwelling, but a foolish man devours it." Proverbs 21:20 ESV
Why it’s so easy to ignore the need to save and invest when your kids are young
When you have a family with children, there’s demands. Demands on your time. Demands on your sleep. Demands on balance of home life and work life. Demands on your financial resources. The demands of the moment, like fixing something in your home or buying shoes for a child that grew overnight, are present in the moment. Those demands are loud and visible. The need to save for retirement…is very, very quiet.
Should you wait to save until your kids are older?
If you’re thinking about this question, saving now or later, you and your spouse might come to the conclusion that it’s important, but other needs are pressing right now. You might say “daycare is just too much right now” or “it will be easier when they’re older.” Those statements sound reasonable and logical. They’re probably wrong though. It probably won’t be easier later. In fact, it will probably be harder to get started later. There are cases where now might not be the right time. With that in mind, right now, is almost always the right time.
Things couples with kids tell themselves about why they don’t need to invest
Retirement saving is something for your 40s or 50s
The truth? The longer you wait, the harder it is. First, good habits are always more difficult to start when you wait longer. Second, compounding (earning interest on interest) needs time to work. The less time you have for something like retirement savings to compound, the more you have to make up the slack.
Our kids are young and paying for college is a long way off
The truth? It’s not far off. That thing other parents tell you about how they grow up fast? It’s true. Saving for college is difficult, but it’s much more difficult if you wait until your son or daughter’s senior year to start thinking about it.
We’ll get started when one of us gets a better job
The truth? Lots of households say this. Lots of households do advance in their career and then never do anything.
We don’t have enough money to get started right now
The truth? Investing does not require a ton of money to get started. You can start participating in your 401k at work with 1% of your paycheck. You can start an IRA or a 529 college savings account with as little as $10 in some cases.
We don’t have time right now
The truth? It can always feel like you will have time later. You probably won’t. Whether you do or not, you can do this. If you feel challenged by time, it might be appropriate to seek out someone who can help take care of some of the work behind saving and investing for you.
When is the best time to get started with investing for college, retirement, and more?
The best time was yesterday. The next best time is today. If you're not sure, think about getting some help from a fiduciary that works with families like yours.
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