Written by guest blogger: Jackie Waters. Jackie is passionate about sustainability and simplicity. She runs hyper-tidy.com, providing advice on being…Hyper Tidy!
Planning for the future sounds like a scary, overwhelming task, but once we reach a certain age it’s imperative to have a plan in place for finances, living situations, education, and emergencies, and not just for yourself–for your children too. Many people find it difficult to budget for next month, let alone ten years down the road, but there are several easy ways to help you can start planning for the future and give yourself peace of mind; you just have to know where to start.
Read on to find out how you can create a strategy for the future that won’t overwhelm you…or break the bank.
If you have children, their continued education is likely a concern. College isn’t cheap, and it’s hard to rely on financial aid when the awarded amount is income-based and the criteria for grants changes from year to year. A 529 college savings account can help eliminate some of that stress and allow you to deposit after-tax money for your child’s school tuition. You can even check with your company to see if they’ll take a portion of your paycheck to be deposited directly into this account.
Another smart way to make sure tuition is covered? At birthday and holiday time, ask grandparents and other loved ones to write a check that will go directly to that 529 account instead of spending money on more toys.
One of the few sure things in this life is that there are no sure things. It’s terrifying to think about, but few of us have real job security these days, and there’s no way to know what financial shape you’ll be in twenty years from now. If you have the money now, consider pre-paying your child’s tuition. The only catch is, it’s best to pay it in one lump sum, rather than making payments over time.
It’s appealing to open a line of credit at a furniture or appliance store when you need to make a big purchase, in part because many of those stores offer discounts on your first purchase with approved credit. However, incurring more debt is never a good idea if you’re trying to save, so if possible, save up to buy that refrigerator and skip the credit card. Minimize your monthly bills as much as possible and get organized about your spending; with mobile apps, most banks make it easy to check your balance and purchases in real time, so there’s no reason you should be left in the dark when it comes to how much you’re bringing in versus how much you’re spending.
Keep up with the savings account
Open up a savings account, make a resolution to deposit money into it every payday, and stick to it. You don’t have to put the same amount in every time, but getting in the habit of putting aside don’t-touch money will reward you in the long run. Much better than trying to save cash at the end of the week, when you’ve gone through most of your check.
Hire a professional
It can be overwhelming to try and plan for the future by yourself, so hire a professional to help you go over living wills, plans for your estate, and preparations for your children in the event that something happens to you. No one wants to think about it, but it’s essential to plan, and with the help of a lawyer you’ll be able to get it done with little to no hassle.