I’m a father of three amazing children. I’m also a husband and a business owner, and I try to do the best I can as a human being. That said, my most favorite thing in the world is being a father to Aviva, Isabella, and Emmet. These three special people are my reason for, well, everything.
Much like many of us, sometimes I’m not fully present. Sometimes I lose my temper. And, sometimes I give in to things (like work) which takes me away from being the father I know I can be. This led me to signing up for a service called WonderDads. It’s a neat site that helps one focus on being a better dad.
By joining and reading through their ebook, I became aware of a staggering statistic. Before I share it, let me give some context. At Diversified, we want to help our clients achieve balance when it comes to wealth, health, and happiness. Thus, when I hear or learn something that I think will help, I share it.
Alright, here’s the stat and my comments. If you’re a parent, or even a grandparent, please share with your kids. I think it will help reprioritize your life.
BY THE TIME YOUR CHILD TURNS 12, YOU’VE SPENT 91% OF YOUR TIME TOGETHER!
Now that you’ve picked yourself up off the floor, let me continue.
Think about that for a moment. You’ll spend more time in those 12 years with your children then you will in the rest of their lives. As a matter of fact, 1 year of your kid’s pre-12 life is almost equivalent to the rest of your time together post 12.
I share this not to depress you (although it is depressing), but more as a call to action. I work with a lot of people and I always ask them what matters most in their lives. What brings them happiness? The number one answer I get is time with their kids. If you’re like me and pulled in many directions all the time, I’d bet you’d like to be better at prioritizing time with them. (I commend you if you’ve already found this balance.)
Where do you go from here?
Now that I’ve ruined your day (sorry, misery likes company), what can we do to fix it? I’ll speak for myself and maybe others will feel similarly. For me, knowing is half the battle. Now we know how front-loaded these moments are, and that means we must make the most of those early years, where not only memories, but bonds are formed.
The other day I was having drinks with a good friend and we discussed how tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us. That may be a bit grim, but it’s a frame of mind more than anything.
Knowing this data, I’m going to really think through my decisions. I’m a habitual email checker for one and moving forward, I’m going to have “no cell phone time” at night with my children, so I can really focus on being present. Do I watch that show at night, or play a board game with the kids? Do we lounge around on a Saturday or go out and make memories? Now knowing you had 12 years to spend most of your time with your kids, what would you have done differently? In my case, a lot!
Be spontaneous, but also plan. Some of the best moments in life are spontaneous. Just last week, we decided to eat dinner as a family outside. My oldest daughter, Aviva, was so happy and loved the evening. She said it was going to be a boring night, but now it’s a great night! In addition, I’m a firm believer that in order to make change in your life, it will take great effort and planning. Whether it be for special times with your children, vacations, or whatever else. Just slow down for a minute and work on yourself. Think through what you’re going to do differently and write it down. That act alone makes it more likely you’ll succeed.
Make the most of the 91%, but don’t forget the 9%.
Although this article is focused on changing behaviors to help lead a happier and more balanced life as a parent, let’s not lose sight of the long term either. The first bunch of years can be amazing and time well spent, but I’m hopeful that if you work on those early years, it will change the later years, as well.
Eventually, your kids will want to hang with you (even after 12, although maybe you’ll lose them for a few years in between). Their friends will want to hang at your house. My kids will want to vacation with us and when they have children, my hope is that they’ll be around us all the time (which I’ve told my kids daddy will buy them a house next to them if they stay local, hey I fight dirty). Much like anything in life, the more you put in, the more you get out. Hopefully, today’s blog will help you think even a little bit differently, like me. Thanks for reading and stay wealthy, healthy, and happy.
In his role as Financial Planner, Andrew forges lifelong relationships with clients. He coaches them through all stages of life and guides them to better achieve their life goals. Andrew loves helping others by spreading his knowledge on finance, investments, and the pursuit of happiness/fulfillment. He writes nationally recognized, weekly blog posts on these topics and is a regular contributor to Kiplinger. Andrew has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, Financial Advisor Magazine, US News & World Report, USA Today, CNBC, along with many other publications.
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