Whether you’ve just found out that you have a new baby on the way, or if you’re just thinking ahead to a future family you’d love to start one day, you have some beautiful experiences to look forward to – and also a lot of planning to do. The truth is: you don’t have to wait until your children are born to start saving for their futures. You can start life planning during pregnancy – or even before you ever find out a little bundle of joy is on the way.
The sooner you get started, the better. However, don’t stress if you already have children and are looking for ways to finance your child’s future. There are plenty of options out there for forward-thinking parents, proactive families, thoughtful couples, or even singles who are just looking to get a head start on life planning.
Saving Money and Reducing Debt
While you are saving money towards your family goals, author Dave Ramsey also recommends steadily paying down your debts. Start by listing all of your debts in order from smallest to largest sums that you owe. Begin paying down the smallest amounts first, gradually working your way up to the largest amounts (such as your home mortgage). This might take you years or even decades to do, but with consistent work, it can be done. Just think of all the money you’ll save, and all the ways you’ll be able to help your family (including any current or future children) with that extra cash each month.
Saving for Childcare and Preschool
Childcare and preschool can be expensive. You can save money by looking into reputable home-based daycares (chances are, you know someone who has children and can recommend one) or more affordable ministry daycare options. Also check with your employer to see if they offer any family planning benefits, such as a dependent care account / flex spending account. At the very least, many employers do offer family health insurance. There might even be some tax breaks you can take advantage of. Talk to your accountant to learn more about your options, including the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit.
There are several options available for you to save for your child(ren) to attend college, including 529 plans, Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), and more. Just like with childcare, there might be some tax breaks that could work in your favor. Some employers even offer to help pay for their employees’ children to attend college. It’s definitely worth asking your human resources department if your employer offers this type of service.
Of course, there are other considerations you’ll want to make, like estate planning for your kids, life insurance, a long-term plan for retirement savings, advance medical directives, deed to real estate, and so on. But, these initial steps should be enough to get you a good start on life planning. The best part about each of these steps is that you can start at any point, whether before you have children or after the baby is born. The quicker you can get started, the more you will be able to save over the years, but it’s never too late to start planning a future and saving for your family’s financial stability.