Planning for your child’s future

April 20, 2022

Every parent has hopes and dreams for their family, yet they are often unsure about the practical steps they can take to help their children have a solid foundation for the future. 

Patti Hudson-Bowen, a Sagicor agency manager with the Wayne Mohammed branch in San Fernando, has some tips that she shares with all her clients.

The 17-year insurance veteran said, “I don’t believe in simply planning for education but really it’s about planning for the future. It’s important to have a vision and a plan for your child’s life. The adage ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail’ also applies to this, since not mapping out a direction for your child increases the number of people in society who are trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives.”

Hudson-Bowen offers four tips to help parents strategise for such an important goal.

Start paying attention to your child’s skills and talents at an early age. It is said “if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” She agrees. “The earlier we figure this out, the better our lives could be. Everything you notice your child is good at, encourage them and help them develop it. That’s how they discover their purpose. Send them on short courses, let them research it online, let them practice with family and friends. This will help them hone and improve their skills.” 

Hudson-Bowen gave the example of her niece who is a natural at hairdressing and that’s the career path she’s being encouraged to take through qualification and training with experienced hairdressers so that she can be an entrepreneur in the field. 

Discuss their future with them. Parents are encouraged to have frequent discussions with their child on what they want to with their life. Do your own vision board and show them how to do theirs. Get them excited about their future career and you should be excited about it as well. 

Hudson-Bowen said, “When my daughter was about eight years old, she started writing stories and illustrating them. So, I told her you’re going to be an author. She and one of her best friends from primary school sat down and came up with the name of the business, picked a location, gave their parents jobs, drew out the uniforms and even wrote out an application form for future employees. I encouraged her all along until she kept nagging me to go to PriceSmart to buy supplies for the business; then I had to let her know – these were future plans. But I felt happy as a parent knowing I had a budding entrepreneur on my hands who was only eight at the time and who already understood how to do a business plan!”

Allow them the freedom to change their minds. The agency manager said it’s important that parents aren’t set on a specific path for their child. Children go through different phases, liking one thing this minute and something else the next. As a parent, you should allow them the freedom to experiment with different options, they’ll eventually settle on one area eventually. The key is to ensure they are always focused on a goal and heading towards that direction as compared to not focused on anything at all. 

She said, “My nephew just completed his CSEC examination and did very well. He loves and knows everything about cars but is not sure what car-related field he should get into. While he’s making up his mind, he enrolled in Roytec to do a business management degree. This will help him get an understanding of how businesses operate, as well as equip him to complete projects, work in teams, etc. When he finally makes up his mind, he would have grown intellectually and would have a wealth of knowledge under his belt which would assist him in any area he ventures into.”

Invest in their future. “Whether to pay for university or help them start up their business, I believe the next generation should always be better off than the previous one,” Hudson-Bowen said. “We need to invest and save to ensure we can help our children become the best they can be. Having the finances to cover their full university tuition and expenses is ideal but if you can only save enough to help them do short courses after secondary school, don’t be discouraged. It all counts and makes a difference. 

“This is where a financial planner comes in. They can work with you and help assess your current finances and circumstances and plan for the future.”

Sagicor agency manager Patti Hudson-Bowen from the Wayne Mohammed branch in San Fernando