BOSTON (CBS) – We are going to have a baby. What should our financial goals be?
Expecting a baby makes people view the world differently. The transition from couple to family requires a fresh assessment of all aspects of your life. Along with the joy and excitement, there is a long list of new responsibilities to consider.
Even simple things like taking a vacation or buying a car are affected by the wave of change that comes with parenthood. Aruba will always be a fond memory and now Disney World probably makes more sense for a family vacation. And as for that sports car you love so much, start looking at Vans now, because there will probably be one in your future.
One of the most important things you need to think about when starting a family is what steps you should take to ensure your family’s financial well being in the years ahead. Many couples believe they can wait until later to develop a financial plan. The sooner you start the more likely you are to reach your goals.
Developing a financial plan is pretty straight forward. Approach it as a four-step process.
Determine what your goals are as parents
This is critical – you need to know your goals before you can take action. Write them all down and then list them in order of importance. There will be many competing demands for your dollars and it’s important to determine which goals take priority.
Do a net worth statement
This will give you a snapshot of your current assets and debt, and it is something that should be updated on a regular basis. It’s important to know what assets you have on hand – and what you owe – so you can budget accordingly in working toward your family goals.
Invest in products that support your goals
Financial products such as 401(k) plans, IRAs and 529 college savings plans offer tax advantages that make them attractive options to help you achieve long-term goals like covering the cost of college and ensuring a secure retirement.
Protect your family and your assets
Achieving your financial goals is a journey. You need to consider a variety of protections to make sure the journey can be completed. Products like life insurance, disability insurance, homeowners insurance and health insurance offer a hedge against unforeseen circumstances. And you will also need to do some estate planning.
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