Many thanks to Real Life Home for their post on one of the most life-changing transitions one can go through–parenthood! And all major transitions require a good deal of planning . . .
When you become a parent, your priorities change. You no longer think about what you wear on Friday evening but how you’ll provide for your family each and every day. By the way, Unsettled Essence presents some great steps you can take throughout your lifetime to help soften the blow of any issues that may arise in the days ahead.
Before the Stork
Planning for your children’s futures begins before they are born. Start by prioritizing your health, establishing yourself in your career, and getting life insurance. Keep in mind, there are lots of areas about yourself to evaluate before you invest in insurance. These include whether or not you have outstanding debts and what, if any, life insurance is provided by your employer. If you’re married, you’ll want to decide if both you and your spouse need insurance and plan ahead for major life changes, such as buying a large home or having multiple children that you plan to put through college.
Speaking of college, it’s never too late to further your own education. Earning an MBA is one way to increase your earning potential over the long term, and it’s more accessible than ever with online degree offerings. Graduates from Western Governors University’s online MBA program, for example, increased their salaries by an average of $16,200. Getting your degree online allows you to study remotely, which saves time by not requiring trips to the classroom or lecture hall, and on your own schedule, meaning you’re able to continue working full-time. You earn while you learn.
Life as a Family
Once your children are born, it becomes a matter of financial self-discipline. Learn to budget, and always spend less than you earn. Money left over in excess of your monthly expenses should go into savings or an investment vehicle. When planning for a child’s future, SmartAsset asserts that a 529 savings plan, custodial IRA, or CD ladder are smart options that can help your money grow.
Looking at the Long Term
As your family continues to grow, you’ll want to look even further ahead than college. A few smart ways to do this are to create a written will, plan ahead for your own long-term care needs, and solidify your final wishes in the unfortunate event of your untimely passing.
To create your will, the Personal Capital blog says to start by knowing who will draft the document for you. If you want to do it on your own, find out who can serve as a witness in your state. You also need to appoint a personal representative, which is someone that you trust to ensure that your wishes are carried out. Be specific in your distribution instructions so that there is no question of who inherits what money or other assets.
By the time you are in your 50s or 60s, your children are adults, supposedly with families of their own and no longer in need of your financial support. However, now is the perfect time to plan ahead for your long-term care needs. Your health insurance probably won’t cover custodial care, such as an assisted living center. And if you buy before your 60s, you will pay less to ensure that your living arrangements are covered if the time comes.
Planning for your funeral is another benevolent act of love you can do for your children. This eases the burden on them and can help save you money, which is important if you plan to leave behind a financial legacy. Contact your local funeral home and ask about prepaid expenses; your life insurance company may also have burial plans that can cover your final expenses if you have already let your policy gap or converted it into cash.
You love your family, and you only want the best for them. Making smart financial decisions from the beginning is one way to look out for them. From funding their college to making sure you have money for assisted living later in life, everything you do as the head of your household matters. Remember, your family’s financial future won’t just fall into place. It is your love, dedication, and diligence that will make it happen.
Need more inspirational ideas? Check out Real Life Home for more DIY resources.