When it comes to protecting your family and loved ones, most parents will do whatever it takes to support their future. Especially during these uncertain times, families and couples are facing tremendous challenges when it comes to their health, mental well-being, relationship, and financial security. If you are a new parent, single parent, or a couple looking forward to children in the future, some important considerations can help you prepare for this responsibility.
Build a Solid Foundation
As a couple interested in pursuing a life together and potentially a family, it’s important that you work together and begin your future on the right foot. If you are not yet married, this means aligning yourselves on what it means to take that next step and having conversations about what the future might hold—for better or worse. It’s not a bad idea to have discussions with couples in your life who have been married for years.
You might even take marriage advice from a divorce attorney based on common problems they see in divorce law. They have seen the worst of it and can help you steer clear of those rocks. Marriage is by no means a walk in the park, but rather than feel deterred from this partnership, start preparing for your future together and consider ways you can work together to navigate difficult times.
Maintain Financial Security
One of the main sources of arguments in marriage is finances and money. With that in mind, you’d think couples would take proactive measures to make good financial decisions together and prepare early on to avoid such disagreements. The truth of the matter is that these unresolved financial issues can lead to divorce or separation. Then individuals face additional stress and worry that comes along with divorce as it relates to family matters, child custody, and once again, financial pressures, because two cannot live as cheaply apart as they can together.
You cannot escape your financial issues; they will only worsen as life gets more complicated, which is why addressing financial issues early and maintaining strong financial security can help your relationship and the plans you are able to make as a couple. Consider meeting with a financial advisor a few times a year in the early stages of your life together. It’s easy to push this off until you have more time, or it feels more relevant, but this is part of the process of becoming a unit in your relationship. Neglecting your financial health now will only have negative consequences and require more time and attention down the road.
Plan Ahead and Expect the Unexpected
This past year has been a time of change, uncertainty, fear, and anxiety about what the future will be like for our family and loved ones. With that said, these tough times many people have recently faced might encourage some positive change amidst all the trials and tribulations. Many people are more interested to learn about the ways to secure and protect their financial future as a result of this unpresented time. Although not an easy conversation, it’s important to discuss an estate plan in the case of your passing and inability to support your spouse, children, or loved ones who rely on you. Estate planning is critical even when your children are minors since they would not be old enough to own property themselves.
Life insurance can be part of that plan to protect your family, allow you to leave a legacy, and support loved ones financially should anything happen to you. For most people, purchasing a term life insurance policy is enough to provide for family and loved ones while minimizing the financial burden during a difficult time. Term life insurance is typically the most affordable way to fit this type of protection into your budget. Life insurance is a good thing to have in place as you approach major life milestones such as starting a family.
Contribute to Your Retirement
Preparing financially for retirement is a great way to feel inspired and hold yourself accountable in the present so that you can enjoy the later years of your life without financial stress. Retirement should be a time for you to enjoy the fruits of your labor and try out new things that you didn’t have time to do while raising children, maintaining a demanding job, or supporting others in your life.
The first step involves setting initial goals and creating a plan for investment. With the proper planning and education, you can set yourself up for success with minimal sacrifice now. Usually, retirement planning requires some type of guidance from a financial professional, so don’t feel like you need to navigate all these financial planning methods on your own. Especially with the changes occurring in the economic landscape, it’s important that you avoid some common retirement savings mistakes and learn as much as you can about the best financial management practices to help you reach your long-term goals.
Designate an Education Fund
Based on your personal budget and financial situation, it might be in your best interest to create a separate savings account strictly for your children’s future education. If you desire to help your children pay for college and reduce loan interest, you can start saving a conservative amount of money so that it does not have a heavy impact on your current financial state. Accruing interest on the money in your account, depending on the type of account you use, will leverage the money you set aside today for maximum advantage.
Take some time to learn about the different types of savings accounts such as a traditional savings account, versus high-yield savings accounts or investing in a money market savings and mutual funds. Education accounts are limited in their usefulness (for education primarily), but they may yield the most return because of tax advantages. Determining what’s right for you and your family might take a bit of time and research, but your planning will pay off and allow you to support your children in the ways you desire.
Communicate and Discuss Conflict Resolution
Just when you think nothing more can be thrown your way; you could be mistaken. Life is extremely unpredictable, and having financial security is an important piece of the puzzle. Learning to communicate and handle difficult situations is a necessary life skill and an important part of maintaining good relationships.
If you have poor communication and are unable to voice your opinions, concerns, or feelings in a productive manner, it’s unlikely that you will be able to sustain positive relationships with your family or significant other. Identifying your common triggers and learning conflict resolution techniques to combat life’s uncertainty in healthy ways as you navigate the various stages of your life may be critical to your success and happiness as a family. Consider talking with a counselor or life coach who might help guide you in working through personal or relationship stressors.
There are many resources available for all these things, including legal resources, to help a young couple plan for the future and navigate difficult waters that are bound to come your way. Think ahead. Invest some time into your future. You will be glad you did.
When it comes to preparing and protecting your family, there is no single approach or plan you must follow. It requires good communication and patience, education, and thoughtful planning with your spouse, partner or other loved ones. By implementing some of these personal and financial planning strategies, you can achieve your goals, protect against common stressors and uncertainty, and live a life you can enjoy.
Kevin G. Drendel
Drendel & Jansons Law Group
111 Flinn Street
Batavia, IL 60510