Why Raising Children Is Like Investing In A Retirement Account.

Author of 5 books, podcaster, parent trainer, husband and father.

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A few days ago I received a statement from my investment guy at Morgan Stanley. I was encouraged to see that my investment account was growing. Always a good sign for a guy who hopes to retire before I'm dead :-). But, for as much growth as the account had sustained, I still had a long way to go until the dividends started paying off. As I sifted through each page, the thought occurred to me- raising children is very much the same.

We’ve never been oblivious to the long road ahead of us when it comes to raising our children. But it has become cluttered at times. We have lost sight of the overall end goal in this parenting gig. This is especially true when things become difficult. What we are realizing every day, is that our children’s growth (and our growth as their parents) takes many years of consistency and focus.

Picture it like a Roth IRA or a 401K. If you opened an account at age 25 and then decided to quit at age 30, you’ll certainly have some growth (thanks to compounding interest) but not as much as if you consistently invested all the way until age 60 or 65. It takes a commitment to a very long period of time.


I remember opening my investment account in 2008. I can remember where I was, what the room looked like, and even the clothes I wore. I figure I can remember so well because I was handing over a rather hefty initial deposit to open the account. Anytime large amounts of money exchange hands my senses are sharpened! 🙂

My investment guy looked at me and explained that this was a long term account. In short- it would not grow unless I committed to investing over a long period of time.

How true is that in raising children? When they’re born, you’re basically setting out on a 20 year journey. You must commit to a long-term investment. It doesn’t work to parent heavy for the first 10 years of their life and then lighten up, go more hands off during the teenage years, and wait until they’re an adult to try and reap the dividends. Likewise, it’s detrimental to take it easy during their early years and then kick it into overdrive during the teenage years. That’s a recipe for rebellion!

Consistently parenting, hands on, all in, over the entire course of their childhood (birth through 20) is what will yield the greatest dividend.


I was speaking to a group of parents a few weeks ago about, what I call, the 4th place of influence. The principle is this- from birth to age 10 or 11, your child’s world revolves around you, their parent. You are the strongest voice of influence. In this regard, you sit atop the list at a lofty number 1, followed by other adults, friends and the culture around them!

But then, right about the pre-teen years (age 12) until the college years (ages 19-21) a major shift happens. Their friends and the culture around them seem to have all the influence and all the power. You, the parent, seem to be rendered speechless and powerless. You drop from 1 to 4 on the list (coming in behind their friends, the culture, and other adults).

Lots of parents give up in this season. But this is where you must stay the course more than ever.

Why? It’s simple: while your influence drops in rankings during the teenage years, you’re still on the list. You’re just in 4th place instead of 1st. Your child is still taking cues from you. It just doesn’t seem like it. You must invest heavier than ever during this time. During the economic downturn a few years back, my investment guy encouraged me, more than ever, to stay the course, and keep investing.

The dividends, if you do this in your parenting, will be enormous. The odds of you and your child becoming great friends when they become a full-fledged adult later on, are overwhelmingly in your favor. But you have to stay the course. You have to keep investing, and investing, day, after day, during the tumultuous years of adolescence!

My retirement account will payoff, someday. Not today. If I wait until I’m 60 or 65, I could have a large amount of money for retirement. If I panic and give-up now, or panic and withdraw my money, it’s not worth very much. Plus I get a big fat penalty slapped on me. The account hasn’t reached it’s full potential. There is still so much growth that needs to occur.

The same thing is true in raising your children! It’s a marathon, not a sprint. It’s a journey, not a destination!

What are some other things you are learning in your parenting journey when it comes to the investment?

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Mike and Kristin Berry are the Co-Founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and have been parents for nearly two decades. They are the authors of six books, and the host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is the executive assistant to Mike and Kristin Berry. And she is the best in the land. In addition to providing a warm and friendly response to the many emails our company receives on a weekly basis, she also manages Mike and Kristin’s speaking and meeting schedules, and makes sure that team events go off without a hitch.

Nicole Goerges

Nicole Goerges is a Content Contributor & Special Consultant for The Honestly Adoption Company. She works with Mike and Kristin as a recurring co-host for the Honestly Adoption Podcast, and co-host of Kitchen Table Talks, exclusive video content for Oasis Community, along with Kristin. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and former foster parent.

Matt McCarrick

Matt McCarrick is the Content Production Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. If you’ve loved listening to our podcast, or enjoyed any of the videos trainings we’ve published, you have Matt to thank. He oversees all of our content production, from video edits, to making sure the tags are correct on YouTube, to uploading new videos to Oasis, to hitting publish on a podcast episode, he’s a content wonder!

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the Community Engagement Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends the bulk of her time interacting with, and helping, people through our various social media channels, as well as providing support for Oasis Community members through chat support or Zoom calls. In the same spirit as Beaver, Karen is also passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and supported. Karen is also an FASD trainer and travels often, equipping and encouraging parents.

Beaver Trumble

Beaver Trumble is the Customer Care Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. Chances are, if you have been in need of technical support, or forgotten your password to one of our courses, you have interacted with Beaver. He is an absolute pro at customer care. In fact, he single-handedly revolutionized our customer care department last year. Beaver is passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and encouraged.

Kristin Berry

Kristin Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Content Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends most of her time researching and connecting with guests for our podcast, as well as direction, designing and publishing a lot of the content for our social media channels, blog and podcast. She loves to connect with fellow parents around the world, and share the message of hope with them.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Marketing Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. He spends the bulk of his time and energy designing and building many of the resources you see within our company, as well as social media and email campaigns. His goal is to use media as a means to encourage and equip parents around the world. He is also the co-host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.