New parents have so much to think about that financial planning may not be at the top of the list. However, once sleep deprivation wears off, new parents will be thankful if they have completed some financial planning in advance.
“Smart financial planning not only protects families against unexpected bumps in the road, but also teaches children good financial habits,” says Brad Ledwith, a Certified Financial Planner professional. Three key financial considerations for new parents or parents-to-be include:
Life Insurance Plans. When you become a parent, it’s time to be proactive about life insurance. If you don’t have a policy, get one to ensure that your family is provided for in the event of your death.
Remember that both parents need policies, even if only one parent is employed. “Term life insurance is generally a good option for new parents because of its affordability and provision for income loss in the event of one parent’s death,” Ledwith explains.
Education Savings Accounts. With the cost of tuition rising annually, it is never too early to think about college savings options. Consider setting up a 529 plan, which allows parents, grandparents and others to deposit money into an account that grows tax-free.
The proceeds must be used for education purposes. The details vary by state, so be sure to check the rules of your state. Go-to sites for more information on 529 plans are Savingforcollege.com, American Funds and College America.
Custodial Accounts. Custodial accounts are a great way to keep monetary gifts to children in a safe place with no restrictions on future use. Funds in a custodial account can be used toward cars, housing, vacations or any other expense.
Custodial accounts also serve as educational opportunities. As children learn how to save, delay gratification and work toward a goal, a custodial account gives them an opportunity to learn about fiscal responsibility. When your child is older, you can teach him or her how to buy stocks with some of the money in a custodial account.
“Eventually, the child will wind up with the means to finance something that will serve him or her for years to come, such as a car or their first apartment. It’s a fantastic lesson about how money can work for you,” says Ledwith.
Key financial decisions for your family happen at all life stages — whether it’s budgeting to help afford everyday expenses when you have children, seeking tax breaks to help you save for college or planning to financially protect your family if anything happens to you. Working with a CFP professional can help you adapt your finances to meet the needs of your growing family. Visit LetsMakeAPlan.org for more financial tips and savings information.