Do you know, some of the most interesting adults I’ve ever met still don’t know what they want to do with their lives. This revelation dawned on me recently, shortly after making the decision to become a mature student and train as a midwife. For some people, there is only ever one path in life. For others, the path is long and has many twists and turns. When I think about the kind of futures I want for my ever expanding gang of kids (we’ve nearly got enough for a five a side team now!), I don’t mind which path they take as long as they are happy. To ensure that any potential happy life is secured, I’ve decided to speak to my children about career goals and how to make sure they get what they want out of life.
Fund their future
Let’s talk ISAs. That’s an individual savings account. More specifically, let’s talk Junior ISAs. Don’t worry, there’s nothing too technical about these wonderful little money saving accounts. A Junior ISA (see here) is simply a way for your young one to save money, completely tax free. Unlike other junior savings accounts (such as the old Child Trust Fund), you won’t need to cash out the savings when your child reaches 18 – the junior account will simply automatically convert to an adult account. Why is all this important? Because a career often needs a little start-up capital. From higher education and apprenticeships to business ideas and flying the family nest, an ISA is a great way to make sure that there’s enough money in the coffers to support their dreams.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
As I mentioned, some people simply don’t know what they want to do in life, and some may even never find out. As long as my children grow into well rounded and caring adults who manage to settle on some vocation or other that they find to be fulfilling in some way, that’s all I can ask. But what if they do want to be a scientist or a basketball player or a chef or a Navy officer in charge of their own ship, and what if they know this but no-one has ever taken the time to ask them and explain the route towards that goal? My advice is to speak to your child about what they want to do when they grow up, and together look into the qualifications they need to make that happen. Don’t let their dreams go unrealised.
Get the extracurricular advantage
Sometimes, qualifications aren’t enough. You need experience to get ahead. If your child shows an interest in a specific professional field, make sure you look into how they could gain experience in that area. Using the example of a Navy sea captain, the sea cadets is great way to get them started. A career in architecture or the law might be a little more difficult to explore at an early age, but there’s no harm in contacting local experts – gaining a mentor or securing some volunteer work could be invaluable in standing out when employers are searching for new staff.