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How can I invest for my child when I’m in debt?

One of the questions I get most is how to invest for a child’s future. When I ask some follow up questions, I often find out that the parent is in debt, has little money, and hasn’t invested yet for their own future. I honor and respect the motivation. The parent didn’t get a financial head start when they were a kid, so they want to do better for their own children. That’s fantastic.‎

But to do the best for your own kids, the oxygen mask rule applies. If you’re in debt, broke, and setting a bad financial example, squeezing a few bucks to set aside for your child won’t help much. The way to help the most is by taking care of your own finances first. Set a great example. Talk to your child about debt, and why you’re focusing on getting out of debt. Get your own retirement secure so you’re not a burden later on. When you do those things, you’ll find a few more years down the road you WILL be in a position to help cashflow college or give generously to your child. And the example and education you gave them will be worth far more than a smaller cash gift that you put aside before you were financially secure yourself.‎

I prioritize dollars in the following phases:‎

1. Max out your 401k match‎
2. Pay off all non-mortgage debt‎
3. Save an emergency fund‎
4. Invest for a healthy retirement‎
5. Save for a house down payment and kid’s college‎
6. Invest more and pay off your mortgage‎

So until you’re on phase 5 above, focus on moving through the other ones to make sure you’re in a great financial position to help your children even more. The example you set will be life changing for them as well. ‎

As always, reminding you to build wealth by following the two PFC rules: 1.) Live below your means and 2.) Invest early and often.‎


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Jeremy Circle

Hi, I’m Jeremy! I retired at 36 and currently have a net worth of over $4 million. 

Personal Finance Club is here to give simple, unbiased information on how to win with money and become a multi-millionaire!


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