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The Best Investment for Your Child (Hint: You Can’t Buy It)

If you opened this post with the hope that I will provide you the best investment tip for your child, I’m sorry to disappoint you as it is not about that.

But then, you may want to still read it till the end, because the ‘best investment’ that I’m talking about today is one that your money can’t buy.

Yes, that’s true!

The idea to write this post came from a disturbing article I read in a newspaper some time back.

It was about how parents these days are too busy to talk to their kids. The article laid bare some worrying results from a study, which indeed are reflections of today’s fast-paced, consumption-driven society of ours.

Here are some details that got me disturbed…

  • More than 80% mothers feed their babies while watching television so that they eat fast without creating a fuss.
  • Fathers spend around 8 minutes a day talking to their children.
  • Working mothers spend around 11 minutes a day talking to their children.
  • Stay-at-home mothers do not talk to their children for more than 30 minutes a day.
  • Stay-at-home mothers are rarely home with the children. And when they are, they are so bored that they keep them engaged in videogames.
  • Fathers, many a times, are not even aware of what their child is studying.

All This, For What?
“Why are you running a rat race, dear?” I asked an old friend who was cribbing about his last pay rise, which he thought was peanuts.

“I have no choice Vishal! I want to provide everything to my family…my kids!”

“And what’s that ‘everything’?” I asked.

“Best toys, best clothes, best education, best videogames, etc. etc. etc.”

“Wow! And what about the best time?” I quizzed him. “You don’t want to provide them with their best time?”

“Best time? What’s that? Isn’t all this enough?” he responded, somewhat perplexed.

“You see Ravi, we all are running a race against time to earn more and more money, and invest the same to grow our money even further…just to provide a great life to our children.

“But my point is, and this is what I have realized in the last three years of staying close to my family – the only thing a child requires is your time. Everything else is secondary.”

Not Money, Not Investments…Your Child Needs Your Time
Indeed, that’s true! I have been working from home over the past three years. And what I have realized staying close to my 9 year old daughter is that the best time she has during the entire day is the time she spends with me, her mother, and her younger brother.

Not any toy, not any visit to the mall, not the cartoon channels, and not even the videogame…all she wants is for her parents to spend some quality time with her.

And believe me, even a child as small as 3 years (my son) or 9 years (my daughter) old understands clearly her priorities in life.

It’s only when we parents flip the priorities to our convenience – first provide them everything that money can buy, and only then give them our time if it’s available – that the child starts to believe that this is the way life is to be lived.

My daughter, who earlier believed that all money that I brought home came from the ATM, now knows the value of money and that it is earned by way of hard work – only because I took out time to explain this to her.

“But you work from home Vishal, and thus have all the time in the world to spend with your child,” you might say. “I don’t have that much time as I work on a job and stay out of home for a large part of my day.”

I understand that, my friend!

But then, not hours or days, what a child needs from her parents are a few minutes of ‘devoted’ time each day. Nothing else would please her!

She won’t need your money or your investments that you are making for her higher education (these are, if at all, bonuses to make her future comfortable).

All she will need is for you to spend some quality time with her – understand what else makes her happy and what makes her sad.

“Vishal is getting philosophical here!” you might wonder. “Why is he telling all this on a platform meant to discuss investing ideas?”

Well, I am writing this because all investment ideas and advice about saving and investing for a child’s future would come to naught if the child’s present is not taken care of well…less financially and more emotionally.

After all, this is what I have learned from my daughter – Children need to know that they are important. They need to know they are loved and they need to know they are secure.

Your pleasure from your new house and your latest pay raise may subside. But the amazing experience you have from the good times you spend with your child will never fade.

Your child needs time with you. She needs your undivided attention. She needs to make happy memories with you. She needs to laugh with you.

Life can pull you in a thousand directions, and you might ignore it especially when your child is little.

But remember – She won’t stay little for long.

So, slow down…take some time…give some time…invest some time.

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About the Author

Vishal Khandelwal is the founder of Safal Niveshak. He works with small investors to help them become smart and independent in their stock market investing decisions. He is a SEBI registered Research Analyst. Connect with Vishal on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Hi Vishal,

    A very wonderful post. We are all today in a rat race and as they say in the rat race only the rats wins..Yes, we are no more than rats today…We are so engrossed in the material world that we do not have any time for our near and dear ones.

    BTW your daughter is very cute….

    • Thanks for your feedback, and the compliment, Gajendra! I will be happy if this post has the desired impact on people who must slow down, and invest some time in their children.

  2. Sorry to see only 1 comment for a post that should have given every parent an intriguing thought about their present relationships. I would say selah wait and think abourfor a moment my dear parents…

  3. Ketan Amin says:

    Excellent Post!!! Must read for all parents.

  4. RichFellow says:

    Commendable job Vishal,
    Washing ur child’s face, combing ur child’s hair, helping them wear their socks and shoes, making them laugh(by making certain facial expressions), dancing with them(it is not necessary to be an expert dancer, just swing ur body with them) are the activities money can’t buy.
    If u can help them with their “su su” and “potty”, its an amazing experience.
    I am self employed professional and i am lucky to spend good quality time with my one and half year son.

  5. In the midst of running in the proverbial ‘rat race’, we have forgotten to step back and see where we are running to. Timely post.

  6. Priyanka Khandelwal Gupta says:

    Amazing thought… after becoming a mother I have realized that nothing is more wonderful than spending time with your child and observing her growing… I would never like to miss a single opportunity of her new developments everyday…she is 4 months old now and I can still remember the time when she first smiled to me, when she first rolled over her tummy and now when she can recognize my voice even if I call her from another room… this is magic… thanks a lot Vishal to give us a moment to think about these small things about our children again… Safal Niveshak rocks!!!

  7. Shankar Patil says:

    That was such a wondeful post, I really loved it…You have clearly quoted how to enjoy every small things with children and make life much butter..
    And it was great to see these many comments for this post….:-)

  8. Ashoka Rajan says:

    Dear Vishal, excellent article

    thank you very much

  9. Wonderful.

  10. Thank you everyone for your words of appreciation! I hope the post has the desired impact on people who must slow down, and invest some time in their children.

  11. This is a very appropriate article, lots of parents are more inclined towards fulfilling their kid’s needs, in the meantime they forget the moments that their kids need to spend with them. But none of the parents does this on purpose, this is a dog eat dog world. You don’t work, you don’t make money, you don’t provide the best education, you don’t admit your kids into best schools, colleges etc etc You are left behind. Self realization is a wonderful thing, it’s never too late.
    I remember during the Safal Niveshak workshop, one older gentleman was arguing that their kids need to spend time with their parents, especially “communicate”. I felt really bad for him because he was saying in a forum because he was hurt. So, this article is not only to take care of your kids, also take care of your parents. All the good you do to your kids has already been done to you by your parents.

  12. Awanish Chandra says:

    Well, i am father of 18 months old kid and frankly saying i have not spent much time with him yet….perhaps my non-working wife has provided me good cushion to focus more on my job…..but i would keep this article in my mind…..when my kid start pushing 2 years +………..

  13. Hi Vishal,
    Thanks a lot for putting forward your thoughts in such a eloquent manner….which makes others to stop and think…
    All of us go through different phases of life for which most of it were never mentored. Its a personal journey and a continous thought process and understanding which makes us a litlle maturer with each day passing by..But bringing up kids is the most demanding aspect….
    Thanks for writing such a lovely post and making me think where do I stand..

    Thanks
    Rupa (working mom of 3yr daughter)

  14. Hi Vishal,

    Good article. I am a father of 2. Every word written by you is so true and important for every parent to understand. I always ensure that I DEVOTE atleast 30mins if not more with my kids daily. Parents should think where they are heading in the rat race.

  15. Harshad Parulekar says:

    Very nice post Vishal, Loved it!!

  16. Dear Vishal,
    Your non-investing posts makes this forum a complete one. This forum gives so much learning and self realization to everyone and should be a school for one and all. Great article and a learning for my future 🙂
    Although I try spending most time with my parents and keeping them happy. Will have to remember the learnings once i have kids 😀

    Thanks
    Vikas

  17. Bhavesh Chauhan says:

    Awesome article Vishal.

  18. Sudhanshu says:

    I follow all this and actually know what it all means. I have went through it, lost valuable time and have changed myself to enjoy life with my two kids. Life now is what Life must be. Living with the next generation, breathing with next generation.

  19. Lakshmipathy says:

    Agreed . Thanks for writing in.

  20. Skoti Reddy says:

    Dear Vishal,
    Thank you very much

  21. Anil Kumar Tulsiram says:

    Good one Vishal. When I started working from home initially it was very tough for me to adjust. I was working 12-14 hours a day previously and not used to spend so much time with my son. Then few things happened [that a long story] that changed me completely. I fully agree with your thoughts

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