For dual-income families with children today, you often burn the candle at both ends trying to be the best you can be at work and the best you can be at home. You want to create magical memories for your children because some days you don’t get to see them when the sun comes up or until the sun goes down. Due to the frenetic pace you are running every day, it’s not that your competency shrinks, but your capacity shrinks, often forcing you to make bad financial decisions.
The dumbest financial lesson I see parents teach their children today is to take fancy vacations that simply aren’t in the family budget. As a side note, over-the-top birthday parties aren’t far behind on my list. Take the average parent today who has a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old and they get the bright idea to wipe Disney World off the bucket list. Going to Disney World isn’t enough. You’ve got to get a fancy room at Animal Kingdom or the Contemporary. You decide to get a fast pass for all of the different parks so you can be first in line. You spend extra money to gain access to have breakfast with Disney characters. Essentially, you make this an all-out full- throttle vacation.
About two days into the trip, let me paint you a picture. Here’s you with a dripping ice-cream cone in your hand, a Mickey hat tucked in your back pocket, and two crying kids who just want Mommy and Daddy to carry them around the park. And then, you need to wonder, did you take this trip because you really thought the kids would love it or were you overcompensating trying to impress your kids on how well Mommy and Daddy are doing in their jobs? BTW, the same goes for taking your kids to the Cayman Islands, Europe, or some other far away destination when your kids are under five years old. If you want to go to some exotic destination, then do it because YOU want to do it. Don’t go with the expectations that your kids will be better behaved or more grateful down the road because it just won’t happen.
The truth is, 20 years later, your kids won’t remember the trip, so do yourself a favor and save the money. Find a nice location with a good hotel swimming pool and that’s about all you’ll need and years later you can teach your kids an important lesson. Only spend money on vacations that will really create lasting memories. Hip Hip Hooray!
Disney lovers…. Don’t hate on me! Lol!
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Ted Jenkin is a frequent guest columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Headline News Weekend Express. He is the co-CEO of oXYGen Financial. You can follow him on LinkedIn @ www.linkedin.com/in/theceoadvisor or on Twitter @tedjenkin.