Parenting is no cakewalk. I mean, ask any parent. From the moment we learn about the arrival of that bundle of joy, we start dreaming of their future. Of course, the moment of truth comes later. How are we going to finance those glorious dreams? Naturally we want our little rays of sunshine to choose the career they’re passionate about.
With rising costs in education, how much should we save to make sure they realize their dreams?
How to plan for a child’s future?
The answer? Do your homework
I remember when my son was born, every day I’d dream a different dream about his career. With so many options available, we had to be ready to support him and to do this, do our homework. It is not just a matter of being prepared financially, but emotionally as well – to make sure children’s aspirations are fulfilled.
Through his growing years, my son showed an aptitude for a number of interests. As a child, he wanted to be a number of things. Watching him play with his building blocks, we thought, yes, an architect. He sang, and we thought, singer, musician! He sketched and we thought, artist!
One thing we were sure of – we would support him in whatever he was passionate about. When he was in high school, we got busy looking at courses and universities. By the time he finished his 10th grade, he surprised us by deciding to choose Science. This brought on a flurry of research and running from pillar to post to find out information about entrance exams, shortlisting colleges and of course, costs.
I suspect this is the case with most parents because one thing is certain:
Children’s education and their future is the biggest priority for parents and the only way to achieve this goal is through a solid plan backed by the right investment vehicle.
As older parents, we were also very conscious about the time factor and began saving and investing early, so as to be prepared when the time came.
Now, he’s in college and we’re relieved he, and we, are on the right track. That doesn’t mean we’ve stopped investing, because it is a long road to the future.
I was quite excited when I saw this investor education video about the ELSS initiative to educate investors on the merits of sharing less with the taxman, which revolved around planning, setting investment goals, and deadlines based on which action could be taken to fulfil them.
I am glad to see investment companies creating the much needed awareness in people about the need to invest rather than just save for their children’s future.
One such initiative that I found intriguing is the #DoYourHomework campaign that focuses on the importance of planning for various life goals. Interestingly, children have a good awareness of career options available to them today and these go far beyond the traditional choices. They are smart and know what they want to do in life, rather than waiting to be steered around by their parents.
In this scenario, parents are more conscious about their children’s education and education related expenses than retirement planning. This is a good thing, since parents acknowledge their children’s desire to follow their passion and are ready to support them.
But while they are aware about the fact that education costs are only on the rise, they’ve no idea how much they need to invest. Naturally, most of them are not even prepared to handle the high costs. If children want to pursue education abroad, the financial roadblocks are scary, since it involves living expenses in addition to tuition fees.
The #DoYourHomework campaign
The #DoYourHomework campaign’s aim is two-fold and focused on parents:
- To provoke them to align themselves with what their children want
- To explore how they can plan their finances to help their children achieve their dreams
The Do Your Homework experiment involved both parents and their children.
Children were asked to visualize and draw a picture of what they wanted to become.
Parents were asked to paint a picture of what they wantedtheir children to become. No interaction was allowed between the two groups during the activity.
When parents and children revealed their ideas, guess what they found?
Children showed an enthusiasm for both conventional and unconventional careers while parents had a very different view.
The entire activity was captured on video. Here it is:
The message was clear.
Children today have innumerable career options. Whatever they choose to become, you (parents) need to be prepared
The #DoYourHomework Platform helps parents do their homework by offering information about:
- Education costs, career-wise across countries, both present and future
- Ideal investment to make to meet education expenses in the future with the help of an education calculator
Let’s face it, learning has to be fun to be effective, no matter what the age group. The campaign included the following:
- Curated books for children to enable them explore various careers via stories, coloring books and crossword puzzles.
- Over a three-week period, parents participated in the #DoYourHomework at 17 Crossword Bookstore outlets across 7 cities and Mumbai’s Kidzania.
- An activity game called “It’s a DRAW” was created for parents and kids to help parents discover hidden treasures about their children.
- The Homework App was made available to parents to help them instantly find the costs of education across courses and destinations. Besides the future value of the course, the app also shows how much investment is required to reach that goal.
The #DoYourHomework initiative is designed to reach out to parents online with the crucial message of being aware of the need to plan. After all, children’s education and their future is a parent’s most important life goal. When parents begin estimating the future cost of education at an early stage and plan their investment, life definitely becomes a happy journey.
Are you a parent? How do you #DoYourHomework to make your child’s career dreams come true?