There are many aspects of our lives that make us whole – social, financial, career, family.
While these are distinctly different from each another, when major events occur in one aspect of our lives, it affects all others, specifically in regard to finances.
When we do encounter such events, we must take a second look at your financial plans. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”.
Expecting a baby
WHY YOU NEED TO PREPARE FOR IT: There’s a reason why everyone emphasises on the importance of family planning, and it’s because raising a child is expensive.
You are no longer only responsible for yourself – a life of another now also depends on you. While you can make it through the rest of the month with little food, the same cannot be said of a hungry, wailing infant.
So if you are pregnant, you might want to modify future financial plans accordingly, if you haven’t already.
STEPS TO TAKE: Allot a budget for education early on
Diapers, milk, and other necessities are one thing, but education is quite another. The latter is undeniably the more costly, and perhaps one of the most important investments you can make for your child.
The harsh reality is that one’s education, while not the be-all and end-all of one’s future, plays a vital role in shaping your child’s abilities.
This isn’t solely about ensuring your child lands a high-paying job in the future; one’s perspective and philosophies in life, critical thinking, and set of principles are also partly shaped by education.
Do not let your child’s progress to success be slowed down by student loan debts, so make sure to set up an education/college fund as soon as you are expecting.
STEPS TO TAKE: Prepare for the unexpected
In case something unfortunate happens to you and/or your partner, you do not want your child under the care of the state. You would, of course, want him/her to be cared for by someone whom you truly know and trust.
As such, you might want to name a guardian for your child. This might also be a good time to invest in insurance, especially a life insurance policy for him/her.
WHY YOU NEED TO PREPARE FOR IT: You have probably heard countless times that marriage is no piece of cake. For one, it requires both parties to work as a team, especially when handling the finances.
Marriage for a couple who do not plan financial matters together is more likely to fail or ultimately lead to separation or divorce. Do not let money matters get the better of you and ruin a healthy and happy marriage; start planning your finances together as early as possible.
STEPS TO TAKE: Communicate with each other
It is important to build a good foundation of trust with one another through communication. This does not mean you will not encounter financial struggles; however, these will be overcome easier if both of you can confide in each other and work together.
Discuss financial issues like debt as soon as it surfaces. Do not ignore it or wait till it becomes too massive to resolve easily. Make it a habit to allocate a specific time every week to discuss financial plans together.
What are your financial goals? Your prospective investments? How are you planning to achieve them? Write these down. More importantly, share responsibilities but remember to consider each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
STEPS TO TAKE: Start an emergency fund for the both of you
You are no longer only working for yourself now. The financial problems of one person in a marriage now also concerns the other. For this reason, it might be a good idea to start saving up, in the event an emergency occurs or other unforeseeable events.
Financial experts say emergency funds should cover your expenses for at least three to six months in times of need such as unemployment, health problems, and home repairs.
Finding a new job
WHY YOU NEED TO PREPARE FOR IT: You have to understand that whenever there is a significant change in your source of income, your budget and expenses need adjusting too. This is, of course, if you want to maintain a certain lifestyle and financial standing and avoid tapping into your savings.
A new job means a new contract, and a new contract means different terms, salary/income, and benefits. When stepping into unfamiliar territory, it is wise to rethink your financial strategies.
STEPS TO TAKE: Analyse the differences
Consider different factors – wage, benefits, bonuses, transportation and food costs, indulgences, recreation, entertainment, as well as short- and long-term goals.
Once you have all the necessary data, create a new budget. Are you earning more in this current job? If yes, maybe loosen up on the budgeting, or better yet, add more to the portion that is solely for your savings and other funds.
Why not consider a long-term investment like purchasing property? Even if you don’t wish to, you may need to adjust your expenses anyway. How big the adjustment would depend on the difference between your current salary and the previous one in addition to changes in your expenses.
This article first appeared in thenewsavvy.com
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