Welcoming a new baby into your home can put other priorities on the backburner. But providing a secure future for your growing family is probably also on your mind, too.
Need help getting started? Here are five simple steps to put into action.
- Start an Emergency Fund
You never know when you might need cash for unexpected expenses, like a car repair or medical bill. An emergency fund will help you pay for these costs without going into debt.
Saving at least three months of living expenses is a financial rule of thumb, but it may seem like a stretch right now. An emergency savings calculator can help you decide on an amount you’re comfortable with. Even $50 a month can make a difference over time. Set up automatic transfers to a dedicated savings account not connected to your checking account. Get into the savings habit and increase your contributions as your income increases. Take advantage of savings accounts earning higher interest rates to help boost savings.
- Retirement First, Then College Savings
When it comes to saving for retirement or college, retirement always comes first. That’s because there are no scholarships, grants or loans to pay for retirement. If you haven’t been contributing regularly to your retirement plan, it’s important to start now and keep going.
Once your retirement contributions are covered, there are some easy ways to save for your child’s college education, including:
- A College Saver Share Certificate, offering a higher dividend rate than a regular savings account.1
- A Coverdell Education Savings Account, which allows contributions up to $2,000 per year.
- A 529 Plan, a tax-advantaged savings plan to save for college or graduate school.
And when it comes to gift giving, encourage family members to donate to a college plan instead of buying toys. Some 529 plans offer easy, online gifting portals.
- Get Life Insurance
When you have loved ones who depend on you, especially a child, life insurance protects your assets and provides for them if something happens to you. Term life insurance offers an affordable policy, covering you for a set period, usually 10 to 30 years. A basic life insurance calculator can help you assess your insurance needs. You can also set up a free consultation with one of our financial advisors for personalized guidance.
- Create a Will or Trust
Make sure you protect your family by having a will or trust in place. A will determines how to distribute your money and property if you pass away. Without a will, the state decides how your assets are divided, which may not be in line with your wishes. A trust allows an appointed trustee to manage your assets if you become incapacitated or pass away. Read Demystifying Estate Planning to learn about your choices.
- Open a Membership for Your Child1
SchoolsFirst FCU Members can open a Membership for their child of any age – all that’s needed is their Social Security number and another form of identification such as a birth certificate or passport. Our Junior Varsity Club Membership is just for children 0-12. At this young age, you can make small, regular deposits into their account to help their savings grow as they grow too. Many experts agree children begin to form their lifelong money habits as early as preschool – so it’s never too early to start teaching them how to earn, save and spend responsibility. Read Kids and Savings for some suggestions.
- Insured by NCUA.
Extra Credit provides general information to help improve our Member’s financial lives. Every situation is different, so please contact us for guidance on your specific needs. The advice provided in Extra Credit is not intended to serve as a substitute for speaking to a loan representative, financial advisor or GreenPath Financial advisor who can help tailor a solution for you.