Life experiences vs. gifts for your children

By Brett Anderson

St. Croix Advisors

When it comes time to figure out where your money should go in providing an enjoyable lifestyle for you and your family, it can be a toss-up between life experiences and gifts. We all are well aware that taking a vacation is expensive, yet giving gifts to our children and spouses throughout the year is expensive as well.

Therefore, the question comes down to where you allocate your fun money each year. Every person and family has preferences as to what sort of lifestyle they would like to live, and it is necessary to budget out the money no matter how much or how little you may have.

Some may argue that life experiences give your family memories, which last a lifetime while others may argue that gifts will be there forever to be remembered. With life experiences it can often come to time, flight expenses, family obligations and much more, which is why it is so much harder to make time to go to a place like Disney World. Yet, I have never heard any of my friends or clients say that the time and money spent wasn’t worth it.

It is necessary to figure out which vacation destination is right for your family as well as what you can afford and how much time you’re able to take off work. Once you’ve figured those details out and booked the trip, it’s helpful to consider small goals for the trip.

Do you want to see a site together as a family? Would you like to grow closer to your children during the trip? By journaling these positive thoughts, it will help set the tone for the memories you make on the trip as well as help with the planning of the itinerary.

Do you want to spend time doing more activities or have more downtime? While gifts are fun and can attract excitement long after they’re given, chances are the memories you’ve made together (especially with the help of the pictures you took) will long outlast most of the random items that are offered throughout the year.