Recent trends show that millennials care more about travel and experiences than previous generations. Now that millennials are parents, I wanted to point out the importance of including your children in those experiences. By investing in experiences for the whole family, you can provide valuable financial lessons to your children as well.
As a child, I had the opportunity to live overseas as my father’s career with Time Warner took me to American Schools in Budapest, Hungary and Tokyo, Japan. At the time, I did not realize the value of these experiences in my development as a human. (Admittedly, I still have a long way to go in that department.) I learned various languages in these experiences, had amazing teachers that challenged me, and learned from the cultures represented by my fellow students. Vital lessons in confidence were gained when I was allowed to travel around a recently post-Soviet Budapest at age 12 without my parents. A love of math and economics was born out of calculating exchange rates for my more artistically inclined mother. All of this is to say that these experiences with different cultures at a young age had a lasting impression on me.
According to a study from Nerdwallet, 81% of American families with children younger than age 18 planned on taking a summer vacation in 2018. The average family planned to spend $2256 last year on vacation. * That is a lot of money for the average budget and it gets me excited to imagine all of the great experiences that were had.
Travel benefits your children and their lives and can even plant seeds that may lead to their career choice later on in life. (No pressure intended, and no, that does not mean that a family tour of Alcatraz should be cancelled for fear of developing a love of a life of crime.) Traveling is believed to boost confidence and curiosity and can spark a passion to learn about various cultures. A study by the Student and Youth Travel Association reports that 74% of teachers believed that travel has “a very positive impact on students’ personal development.”** For those of you cringing at the cost of your summer vacation, you can take some solace in the fact that your kids are gaining much more than a few laughs and family memories. They just may develop into better humans that are prepared for the world. Maybe your summer vacation to the beach will spawn a future marine biologist; your trip to Washington DC could encourage a career in politics; or your trip to the National Parks could spark a career as a park ranger.
Math is a key teaching tool for travel time with your children. Applicable lessons can stem from having your kids calculate the answer to the dreaded “Are we there yet?” Well, we are travelling at a rate of speed of X miles per hour and we are Y miles away from our destination. You tell me when we will arrive, kiddos. Giving your children a small budget for a purchase can also exercise this skill. You have three dollars and have to decide between an ice cream cone or candy. While this may sound silly, you are actually building the foundation of your child’s budgeting skills.
As a child, I was always a math dork. I kind of took pride in that. I zeroed in on that strength and did not develop my love for writing until later years. Truly, I did not develop the love for writing until my 30’s, when it became an important part of my business life. We bring journals for our girls to document our travels. I encourage Lila (10) and Amelia (7) to not only document their experiences, but to also record the feelings that they had. With a partial eye roll, they know that these journals are to be lifelong souvenirs of our experience. Use any travel or summer vacation to teach your children the joy of writing and journaling.
As you venture out on your own family travels, I hope that these thoughts will inspire you to use the time as a learning tool for your children. Don’t leave them at home with a babysitter while you feed your own Millennial wanderlust. Bring the family along and help encourage a variety of life skills for your own child.
Matt Logan Inc. is an independent firm with Securities offered through Summit Brokerage Services, Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC. Advisory services offered through Summit Financial Group Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Summit Brokerage Services, Inc., its affiliates and Matt Logan Inc. do not give tax or legal advice. You should consult an experienced professional regarding the tax consequences of a specific transaction. These are the views of Matt Logan Inc, and not necessarily those of Summit Brokerage Services, Inc. and any of its affiliates and should not be construed as investment advice.