I believe life has seasons. I had the first 25 years to me, now the next 25 years are my kids, then I get another 25+ years back to me. So right now I’m 38, with kids 14, 12, 9, and I have been trying to hang on to my high savings rate of 40%-50% for the last 2 years. But, I have finally come to the conclusion that even that is going to have to be given to my kids.
Babies and elementary kids aren’t that expensive, but middle schoolers and high schoolers are going to kill your budget. The kids eat more, grow through clothes and shoes every 6 months, do more activities, shower longer, charge more things using electricity, want more expensive crap, and I haven’t even hit driving ages yet with increased insurance, and maybe an extra crappy car for the family. My current savings rate is around 20% and I will fight to keep that going…this is my bottom!
I am still maxing out my Roth IRA ($500) and my wife’s Roth IRA ($500) each month, I am still putting money into my savings account for future investments ($300), I am still putting $300 a month in my 403b, and $150 a month into the 529 for the kids, just in case they don’t work hard college fund (they are gifted in many ways). I still have my teacher retirement with Texas, and we are still paying double mortgage payments on our house to get rid of that in about 5-7 years. We have no debt, we travel hack a little, and we have a travel fund for vacations a few times a year.
We aren’t doing bad at all!! But, I know what we had going a few years ago, and how exciting it was to watch those accounts grow, compound, and get us closer to financial freedom. Our retirement plan is still intact, with our teacher retirement, Roth IRA’s, 403b, house paid off, no debt, at an early age of 52. I know we are way ahead of the game with our early money from twelve to fifteen years ago still compounding, but psychologically it hurts because I know I can do better if I can somehow make my kids less expensive. But, I can’t…
I love my kids and I only have them in my house full time for another 9 years (1st child 4 more years), so I know this season will end soon enough (It’s sad), and I can have my time and resources back (happy savings rate, but sad the kids are gone). For right now I am enjoying them playing sports, having adventures, seeing the world travelling and at camps, and showering too long while complaining that I never give them anything they want. Kids right…We’ll laugh at this one day very soon. For now, I’m at my bottom and I know I will have to fight to keep this in the coming years. Good luck to all the parents out there!!
Any more experienced parent have savings tips for driving and teenagers let me know in the comments! Thanks