My perspective on parenting changed due to my pursuit of FI. My dreams for my children are vastly different today because of my own journey towards financial independence. Their futures will look different now that FI is a part of our everyday life. I could never have imagined the depths of FI’s impact.
So, how exactly have their lives changed due to this FI journey?
Outside of the obvious financial legacy trajectory that will come as a result of our FI journey, my desire is that my children also reach FI themselves. This new requirement means that their money lessons (their knowledge about finances) have already begun, and I am their first teacher.
When the time comes and they begin earning a sizable income, they will have the knowledge and practice needed to become masters of their money.
Today, instead of preparing them for a strict college-only path, I prepare them for what I feel is a greater goal–developing their own talent stack. This goal will lead them to the satisfying feeling of autonomy and self-reliance while building skills that are of interest to them and deemed valuable by society.
Learning Core Skills
So where to start? There are so many areas in which to educate our children. Where do we begin and what is the progression of teaching?
To begin with, I knew I needed to support my children in developing Core Skills. Core Skills include:
- Curiosity and Exploration
- Financial Literacy
- Time Management
- Organizational Skills
These core skills support the development of autonomy and self-governance. Every parent yearns for the day that these skills are achieved by their children. Core skill mastery presents itself when your child exhibits behaviors such as completing their homework without constant re-directions, getting themselves dressed in the morning without your assistance, and many others. Improved time management and organizational skills will open the door to introducing the next level of skill development, Marketable Skills.
Learning Marketable Skills
Marketable skills are the skills that form the basis of the talent stack. These skills can be described as artistic or technical skills that are seen as valuable and in high demand.
For example, this year my daughter made the transition from 100% consumer to part-time content creator by developing her own YouTube Channel. This transition was designed to be a deliberate learning experience. We took this opportunity to explore concepts such as audience awareness, script composition, public speaking, and storyboard development.
At the start we remained involved in the whole process, from start to finish, providing her with clear guidance. By the third or fourth episode, however, we were completely hands off–thereby supporting her autonomy to learn and problem solve.
Creating Their Own Talent Stack
Within the ChooseFI community, we often refer to the talent stack–a set of cultivated skills aimed at making a person more marketable; while simultaneously increasing their autonomy and sustainability within their current environment. These stacked talents can be used to create side hustle income, to save money by completing our own repairs, or these talents can be used to increase our earnings within our current W-2 jobs.
There comes a time when your child begins to recognize and internalize the talents and skills that they possess. Once that realization occurs, the development of additional skills becomes an independent process. The heavy lifting of learning becomes theirs.
As parents, we initially serve as a conduit through which our children can realize their own unique and special identities. In our family, our goal for our kids is for them to explore their talents and develop their skills at a stage much earlier than we did. For my part, I’ve spent the last few years of my FI journey cultivating my own list of talents to stack. I’ve learned to build websites, started a six-figure brick and mortar business, co-hosted a podcast and I even learned to computer code.
During the talent stacking process, I made sure that my children witnessed my learning. They witnessed the astonishing transformations that are possible when you apply consistent practice and willpower. Believe me when I say that I involved them at every turn.
For example, my 10-year-old daughter helped me debug computer programs that I built. My four year old posed for pictures for my clinic ads. And my 12 year old helped me practice my podcast scripts.
Looking back, there was no way I would have felt comfortable devoting my time to learning these wonderful new skills in isolation. By involving my family in the learning process, we spent extra family time together, and we all benefited by growing our knowledge. The kids and my husband were part of each new experience.
It took finding FI to begin thinking outside of the box with my own talent stack. In addition, I began pursuing the financial side of FI almost a decade later than I wish I started. I will ensure that my kids benefit from the dual privileges of cultivating their unique, self-defined talent stacks while pursuing financial independence with time on their side.
- Little FI-ers: Is Education Everything? Planning And Saving For Our Kids
- How To Get Your Kids On The FI Bandwagon
- Chore Charts, Ages, And Pay: Teach Your Kids Responsibility