How to help your children and grandchildren make decisions for their future


As a parent, raising your children could be described as one of the greatest joys in your life. Nurturing them to the point where they can go out into the world and become their own people is a beautiful thing – but it comes with responsibility.

Many will want to attend university, travel the world, or take on apprenticeships in an industry of their choice. All these are viable options, but as your children approach their teens and early 20s, you might feel pressured when it comes to helping them choose their future path.

Especially as you may be offering to support your children financially during their first few years of adulthood, it makes sense that you may want some input into the course they take in that time.

Here’s what you need to know about directing your children and grandchildren onto the life path that suits them.

Research shows some degrees have a higher economic value than others

Although most universities charge a standard fee of £9,250 a year, regardless of the degree chosen, a study has shown that some degrees have a higher economic value than others.

Indeed, research published by the Telegraph claims that in terms of “return on investment” value, some degrees fare far better than others. While many students leave university with around £45,000 of debt, their earning prospects vary widely depending on the degree they chose, and the grade obtained.

According to the study, the “worst value” degrees, in terms of graduate earning prospects, in 2022 include:

Conversely, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the study claims the “highest value” degrees in 2022 include:

When your children are beginning their university applications and deciding what course they might take, it could be constructive to explore the graduate opportunities that degree might offer.

The Telegraph reports that fashion graduates earn an average of £23,832 a year, compared to the £36,178 salary earned by the average economics graduate.

Ultimately, your children and grandchildren will follow their passions and take the degree they are most interested in. Nevertheless, making them aware of the potential economic ramifications of their degree choice could have a positive influence on their decision.

Non-educational life experiences could be just as influential on your children’s lives

While helping your children to decide their educational future is vital, it is important to remember that non-educational life experiences could have a huge impact on them, too.

Indeed, if your child decides to take a break before settling into an apprenticeship or degree, this path could provide them with a new perspective that changes the way they see the world.

Some non-educational life experiences your young adult children could explore are:

Although you may have grand plans for your children’s education and future careers, allowing them the time to explore new avenues and strike out independently is also crucial. It may be that seeing more of the world and learning the value of hard work could spur your children onto the path that’s right for them.

Consider the challenges the younger generations may face when offering advice

You might have your own vision of what’s best for your children – after all, your life experience outweighs theirs.

However, it is important to take a careful approach when advising children or grandchildren about how they should live their life. Especially in today’s world, it appears that many young people experience heightened levels of anxiety compared with the older generations.

In fact, research from Deloitte claims that half of millennials and Generation Z “feel stressed most of the time”. The ongoing pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the constant presence of social media, and the climate crisis could all be factors that contribute to anxiety in the younger generations.

So, taking a “strongarm” approach to discussing your child’s future might not be the best tactic in this day and age. While it is important to make your opinion known, being empathetic to the pressures and stressors that the younger generations face is equally essential.

Your financial planner can help you discuss your children’s futures as a family

If you are concerned about your children’s future – be it their university degree, their travel plans, or their graduate earnings – we can help.

Discussing your children and grandchildren’s future opportunities with your financial planner can be both informative and reassuring for you and your child.

To get in touch with us, email or call 0161 8080200.

Please note

This article is for information only. Please do not act based on anything you might read in this article. All contents are based on our understanding of HMRC legislation, which is subject to change.

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