Advertising
Advertising

8 Tips To Safeguard Your Child’s Financial Security

8 Tips To Safeguard Your Child’s Financial Security

Securing your child’s financial future is one of the most important things you can do as a parent. 83% of Americans can’t afford to pay for college while millennials currently earn 20% less than Boomers did. The rate of home ownership is also lower for millennials while student loan debts are much higher compared to their parents.

Reasons for the current state of affairs include globalization and slow salary growth. Financial planning ensures that your child will have funds set aside for college and be well taken care of in case of a catastrophe. Here are a few tips to help you plan for your child’s future.

1. Open A Coverdell Education Savings Account

An ESA (Education Saving Account) will enable you to deposit up to $2,000 annually towards your child’s college tuition. The plan allows the funds to grow tax-deferred. ESA’s aren’t just for college expenses; they can also be applied towards elementary and secondary school costs.

Advertising

If you plan to invest more than $2,000 every year you may want to consider a 529 plan. It’s similar to an ESA plan except without the annual limit.

2. Consider A 529 College Plan

There are two types of 529 plans; pre-paid plans and savings plans. A pre-paid account allows parents to buy tuition credits for future use. The disadvantage of a pre-paid plan is that funds can only be applied towards tuition and not room and board.

A 529 savings plan consists of mutual funds investments which grow over time. Most plans consist of numerous investment options. Experts generally suggest investing more aggressively in stocks while the child is young and tapering off to a more conservative portfolio as your child gets older.

Advertising

Financial experts suggest funding the account to the maximum amount as soon as your child is born in order to maximize future growth. Automating 529 contributions at set intervals will ensure that the account will grow at a steady rate.

3. Draft An Updated Will

USA Today reports that 64% of American’s don’t have a will. Creating a will is imperative when it comes to protecting your child’s financial future. You will also need to designate a guardian to take care of your children and name a property guardian to manage your estate. Drafting a will doesn’t have to be expensive; Quicken’s Willmaker is affordable and easy to use.

4. Update Beneficiary Information

Make sure to update beneficiary designation is up-to-date on your life insurance policy, bank and retirement accounts. According to Loren Barr, a probate attorney at Barr & Young Attorneys in San Francisco, CA, the information on the beneficiary designation form will override your will. It’s important to update this information after major live events such as the birth of a child or divorce. Experts also suggest naming a contingent beneficiary in case the primary beneficiary predeceases you.

Advertising

5. Open A Custodial Account

A custodial account is one of the easiest accounts to open. It’s basically a savings account in your child’s name. The account will be accessible once your child turns 18 or 21 depending on their locality. The disadvantage is that the funds are taxable after the first $950. Your child will also have complete control once they become of age, which can either be a good or bad thing depending on their spending habits.

6. Get Life Insurance

Statistics show that only 62% of Americans have life insurance while 85% need it. 70% of households with minor children will have difficulties paying the bills if a primary wage earner were to pass away. The most common reasons for delaying life insurance is perceived cost. The average policy cost for a 35-year-old female non-smoker is just $61 per month. Inquire about life insurance in order to protect you family; it may be a lot cheaper than you think.

7. Save For Retirement

According to U.S News, the average Social Security benefit is just $1,180. Let’s face it; for most of us, that’s not going to be enough to live on. Saving for your own retirement can help your child’s future because they won’t have to provide for you financially in old age. If your work offers a 401k plan, start off by having a set amount of your paycheck deposited directly into your account. The earlier you start the more time you’ll have for your money to grow.

Advertising

8. Talk To Your Kids About Money

Financial literacy isn’t always stressed adequately in school. Encourage your teen children to get a job and save for what they want instead of handing them over money. Talk to your kids about the basics such as how to manage credit cards, a bank account and how to budget. Knowledge is one of the best gifts you can give to your child when it comes to money management.

More by this author

Jacqueline Cao

Entrepreneur

6 Microsoft Outlook Add-Ons For Businesses 8 Tips To Safeguard Your Child’s Financial Security 11 Ways To Get Better Customer Service 10 Home Improvement Gadgets Everyone Should Have 10 Ways To Add Volume & Body To Fine Hair

Trending in Money

1 How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them 2 25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education 3 10 Recession-Proof Debt Consolidation Tips 4 The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever) 5 25 Easy Tips on How to Save Money Fast

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on September 2, 2020

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

Personal finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. That’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

In this article, we will explore ways to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.

4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task, if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps to get you started.

1. Be Clear About the Objectives

Any goal without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream, and this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore, if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it’s for. It could be anything, including your child’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car, etc.

Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.

2. Keep Goals Realistic

It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a Pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.

It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

3. Account for Inflation

Ronald Reagan once said: “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.

Therefore, account for inflation[1] whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.

For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.

Advertising

4. Short Term Vs Long Term

Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach to achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It’s important to bifurcate goals into short-term and long-term.

As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a short-term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long-term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short-term vs long-term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

By now, you should be ready with your list of financial goals. Now, it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

How to Achieve Your Financial Goals

Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-step process:

  • Ensuring healthy savings
  • Making smart investments

You will need to save enough and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals.

Ensuring Healthy Savings

Self-realization is the best form of realization, and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

1. Track Expenses

The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.

Also categorize those expenses into different buckets so that you know which bucket is eating most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pumping up your savings rate.

If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.

2. Pay Yourself First

Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!

Advertising

Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world, i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and manage all the expenses from the rest.

The best way to actually implement this is to put the savings on automatic mode, i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc) every month.

Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.

3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It

Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized

Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.

At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely, but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options, and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

4. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that, in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

Make savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

  • Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
  • If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
  • If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

The key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice, which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

Advertising

5. Talk About It

Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission.

Therefore, in order to stay the course, surround yourself with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

6. Maintain a Journal

For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

If you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energized to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot easier for you to track your progress.

Making Smart Investments

Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.

1. Consult a Financial Advisor

Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s wise to consult a financial advisor.

Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings, and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.

Just like “no one is born a criminal,” no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference[2].

As a general rule, for all your short-term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature, for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds, etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less compared to equity instruments.

Advertising

3. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

Einstein once remarked about compounding:

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.”

Use compound interest when setting financial goals

    Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

    Start saving early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

    4. Measure, Measure, Measure

    All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments and taking stock of how our investments are doing.

    If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.

    Measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

    The Bottom Line

    Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals

    and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.

    More Tips on Financial Goals

    Featured photo credit: Micheile Henderson via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next