This post is brought to you by Genworth Financial and Brandfluential
Every year we, as parents, stress over what to get our children for the holidays. Is it a new bike? Should it be an art set? Maybe the game they’ve been hinting at for months? At least, it use to be stressful. This year was different. Before the Christmas lists were written out, before aunts and uncles began asking what to buy – we made our holiday hope known. This year we asked that the funds they would have spent on toys and gift cards be deposited into their college savings accounts.
A few years back their uncle started an account for each of them, both the teen and the toddler. He’s been dedicated in helping it grow to ensure they have a better chance at a college education. With the uncertainty of the economy, school funding and available scholarships, planning for your child’s future is one of the most important things you can do. Note I said one of the most important things. We also have to make sure our future is stable so that we can be there for all of the important things that come along with college and the years after.
While we toil away ensuring that our sons do well in school, prepare them for adulthood (and pray hard for a full boat scholarship!) we also need to make sure our finances are in order so that we can help celebrate their milestones. Sending a child off to college doesn’t mean the end of a financial burden – hardly. Our oldest has his heart set on school in either California or Florida. Have you priced a ticket to either place lately? We have. Hello sticker shock! What if he gets married and his wife-to-be decides she won’t say “I Do” anywhere but the beaches of Maui? Hard to get there on a wing and a prayer and I’m not missing my first born’s amazing day. Don’t even get me started on all the trips to see my future grandchildren!
So, this year we’ll also be making plans for our own future: Retirement Planning. You may be shocked that my husband and I are thinking of retirement already. Frankly, I’m shocked too. But, there are 12 Important Retirement Planning Deadlines and we’re rapidly approaching the age for step #1. Did you know you should begin your planning by AT LEAST age 50? My husband isn’t quite there yet, he’s got a few years to go. But, why put off until tomorrow what we can do today? Things like 401(k)s and IRAs are not child’s play so the longer we have to research and understand them – the better.
Not sure where to start? There are tools that can help you better understand what you should plan for and how. Tools like the Plan For Living Workbook from Genworth Insurance help guide you through topics such as income, assets, the impact of inflation, Social Security and more.
This year, give yourself a gift that lasts a lifetime: a secure future.