If you ask most people, “what is the largest investment you will make in your life?” they will most likely tell you that it’s either their home, their boat, their exotic automobile, or another pricey item. These are the expensive items that society tells us we should want, so it has to be one of them, right?

When you think about investments, most people think about things like stocks, bonds, treasury bills, real estate, paintings, and expensive cars. However, a large investment that most people frequently forget is their children.

When you look closely, the process of raising children is indeed very expensive. If you don’t believe me, ask a few responsible parents how much money they have they spent on their children from birth to adulthood and their responses will surprise you. The range of this investment can be from several thousands of dollars up to a couple of million dollars, depending upon the family’s finances. Some people will even go into debt trying to help their children.

Anytime you spend a significant amount of financial resources and time in one area, these two elements combined constitute an investment. There are many people who don’t look at parenting this way, as they believe that it is their responsibility to do all that they can. However, just because your motivations are selfless, doesn’t mean it is not an investment.

Many parents make this large investment in their children because they believe that at the end of the day, it’s going to turn them into successful adults. Most people will put their money where their heart is, and if their children mean that much to them, they would do whatever is necessary.

Unlike most investments, raising children has different terms.  It doesn’t have a fixed timetable nor a fixed expected return.  Investing in your children can go on for years and years. You may have to help them out financially way into adulthood.  And, if they fall along the way, you may need to keep helping them until they get back on their feet. This is the life of responsible parents, as they know the ups and downs of life.

As I alluded to earlier, time is another critical part of investing that must be included in the calculations.  For example, taking your children back and forth to school, to the doctor, to their sports practices, or to after school activities. All of these activities represent a huge investment in time that parents make to ensure their kids have a good upbringing. We make these sacrifices, hoping that our children grow up and do well in adulthood.  At that point, our investment yields a positive return.

There are also more immediate benefits that can be obtained from making this investment into your children. For example, if your children excel in school, there is a strong possibility that they will receive some fringe benefits such as getting college scholarships, receiving merit grants, or being selected for prestigious internship programs.

I recall when my wife and I were notified that our children had received a few scholarships to help pay for college. I was more thrilled than my children. It was good to know that all of the years my wife and I drove our kids from one function to another, took them to various activities, and attended all of those after school functions to show our support had finally paid off. Plus, there was no way I could afford to pay over $200,000 to send my children to college.

I commend any parent that elects to make their child a priority because it’s not an easy task to do. It’s also best to make this investment while they are young where you can see your investment grow over time. Of the multiple things that I have invested in throughout my life, I can safely say that my children have been my largest investment and I don’t regret it, not one bit.

In the end, I’m glad that I realized the importance of investing in my children while they were very young. Now that they have grown up and are doing well, thank God I can safely state that I have received an outstanding return on my investment.

The purpose of this article is not to brag about how I have been blessed, but to let you know how important it is to invest in your children’s growth.  This investment can also have lifetime benefits for you and your children because when they grow up, hopefully, they will do the same for their kids. Seeing that process repeat itself in the next generation will make your investment even more impressive. So if someone ask you now, “what is your largest investment?” I hope that you will smile and agree with me that it’s our children.