Almost every single person on the planet has a list of goals. In fact, most people have several lists. They have their main goals, then a sub list for each goal detailing the steps to achieving that goal. Then there are sometimes even further sub lists for each of those detailed points that tell you how to achieve each step. Making a list of goals is pretty standard, whether these goals are big or small, and the ultimate list of goals is the bucket list. It’s a rather morbid idea when you think about it. A bucket list, by definition, is a list of things you would like to achieve before your number is up. Before you meet your maker. Before you die. The idea that we should be concentrating on our death by achieving small victories is in bad taste and it serves as a reminder of our own mortality. Thinking about the time that will come to us all at some point or another is nothing short of terrifying for some, and it is usually something that we would all rather not think about.

When you are a parent, life seems to go by in a blink. One moment, you’re holding your new born baby and you’re daydreaming about everything that they will ever achieve, and the next they’re 18 and you’re waving them off to college. You go from being a new parent, to being the proud owner of a fully grown adult that you made from scratch. Getting your children from babyhood to adulthood in one piece and with good manners is bucket list item number one scratched off, surely? Usually, a child entering your life can really change your priorities, and it’s because of this change that you need to sit down and evaluate what you would like to achieve before you get too old to get to goal. You have changed your life by having a family, so what other bucket list items should you be including so that you can get to the end of your life totally satisfied?

Buy A Dream House.

It’s one of those items that should be on your list if you love the idea of security. When you are a parent and raising a family, that little two-bedroom apartment in the city just isn’t going to cut it. You are probably daydreaming of the perfect suburban home, with a white picket fence and a yard for the children to ride their bikes in. It takes time to find your dream house, and it also takes time to fund it. Finding the right mortgage broker and saving up the deposit that you need for a new home is not easy, but when you use a company like Altrua, it becomes a little easier. You have to decide how many children you want before you go ahead and buy a house, unless of course you are happy to buy small and upgrade later. Being the master of your own home, it’s on you to decide how you upgrade the house you buy, when you upgrade it and when you should sell it on for more of a profit. Buying a bigger house is always the right thing to do if the size doesn’t suit you, and once you find that dream house, you can settle the children in the right way. Make sure that you consider the distance to work when you buy outside the city, and assess the schools in the district so that you know that your children are going to be getting the best education close to home.

Travel

It may not have crossed your mind, but life is full of stress, and many people – including you – lay awake at night and contemplate the long list of tasks that you need to achieve the next day. Wouldn’t it be nicer to be kept awake by vacation planning? That round the world trip that you have saved up for years is a much nicer prospect than panicking about the next thing on your to-do list, right? It’s far more fun to be kept up by excitement than by worry, and you can find this excitement once you work out where you would like to go. Traveling as a parent means bringing the children with you and that there is part of the adventure. Making a plan to save up and visit a variety of destinations across the globe means you are going to be a big part in giving your children a cultural education that they wouldn’t receive anywhere else. There aren’t many parents who would deliberately plan to ski in the Andes after trying authentic Thai food in the other side of the world. Make your trip educational and exciting at the same time, and you can factor in traveling the globe into your family. It’s something that most people save for when the children leave the home for good, but if you bring them with you instead, you are going to carve out memories that you never thought you would be able to give them. Don’t worry about the how, just make a plan for right now and start saving up.

Have An Adventure

One of the most common themes of a bucket list is that the items upon it are often ‘out there’. Bungee jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. Cave diving in the deepest Asian caves. Taking a cruise from one side of the world to the other, seeing the sights and gaining new experiences as you go. A bucket list can take you way outside of your comfort zone and push you to push your own boundaries. Heading to Thailand to try locusts and meet tigers isn’t on the bucket list of most, as both of those items create discomfort for some. Bringing the whole family along with you to each of these adventures can get expensive, but if you choose to live a little frugally, you could tick off these adventures one by one. If your children are a little older and about to leave high school, find out from them what they would like to include on their adventure list. Then sit down and make a financial plan to include everyone’s dreams.

Retire Piggy Bank

Save For Retirement

It’s not something that turns up on the list for most people, but when you’re a parent to teenagers, it needs to be on yours. You spent a lot of time saving for their education, and now the kids are off to college. The question now is whether you took the time to save for yourself. Retirement isn’t far away and when you want to enjoy it securely, you have to have ensured that the mortgage is paid off, the debts are gone, and you have enough money in your 401(K) to cover you for the remaining years in your life. It may be a way off yet, but your retirement should be a time for you to kick back and enjoy yourself a little bit. Planning for that now and doing that properly by speaking to a financial advisor means that you are going to set up your later years well enough in advance. It should be a bucket list item, because you are creating a security for your family that they will rely on you for.

Parent-child cooking

Teach Some More

When you are a parent, you start their life teaching your children everything that they need to know. You teach them to talk, walk, use a potty, eat their food correctly – you name it, you’ve taught them the basics. As a parent, you only get eighteen years of their undivided attention at home before they’re packing up and heading off to college, so you need to keep teaching. A bucket list item of teaching them may seem like a no-brainer, but it is WHAT you teach that matters. Teaching your child to have courage in the face of fear and be kind in the face of ugliness is crucial for their adulthood. Teach them to cook. Get messy in the kitchen and bite your tongue when flour goes everywhere. Teach them to balance a cheque book and pay their bills. Teach them to budget their wages at the corner store so that they can save to buy a house of their own one day. Teach them that when they achieve the little goals, the big ones aren’t far behind them. Ticking the boxes of a bucket list give you a sense of accomplishment. It’s always nice to set a task and achieve it, but it’s so much bigger when you are a parent. Accomplishment makes you feel proud, which gives your confidence and self-esteem a huge kick. When you are living a life ruled by your bucket list, you are constantly motivated and buzzing with the thought of having something ‘more’ to go for in life than the usual routines. That feeling of success? That’s addictive.

A parent bucket list may seem like a ridiculous notion. Writing goals that may be totally unachievable based on income and time does seem ridiculous, but that is the whole point of having a goal! You have something to aim for and once you do manage to arrange your life so that your goal goes from ridiculous to achievable, you get a sense of pride. Your bucket list of achievements creates a legacy for your family and for yourself. The stories will be legendary and you can live your life knowing you made something happen that was exciting.

 

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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