Take Your First Steps Before They Take Theirs: Financial Planning For The New Parent
The first few days after you bring your baby home is an exciting time that can also be a bit stressful. So can the first few weeks. Many parents also find the first few months stressful, while others are stressed over their parental commitments a while longer. It’s easy to get caught up in sleepless nights, and reading every book you can find, but sometimes parents forget an obvious priority: teaching and helping your child to save money as they grow up. Here are some ways you can begin financial planning as a new parent.
Set up a savings account for your child and make regular deposits
You don’t have to know what you want to do with your child’s savings yet. However, the first step in financial planning is as simple as opening a savings account for your child. Studies show that young adults who had savings accounts as children make better financial decisions, are more prepared for financial emergencies and plan better than their peers who didn’t grow up with savings accounts. So, for now, open a savings account, put a few dollars into it every paycheck and invite your child to participate by making deposits of their own when he or she is old enough. Olean Area Federal Credit Union offers a youth savings account that has no monthly service charges and allows you to earn dividends when you have $5 or more in your account, and we have educational resources so your child can learn to be smart with their money. You can find out more by clicking here.
Start saving for college now
Most parents know they need to save for their child’s college education, but few seem to realize how much college will cost. Education costs have been rising much faster than inflation, and if you’ve been out of school for a few years, you might be shocked by the costs. To make matters worse, and more expensive, many universities are receiving fewer public dollars, and getting a larger portion of their income from tuition, thus passing the cost on to students.
Focus on what you can control
If you’ve been a parent for more than a few minutes, you’ve had at least one moment of pure panic while thinking about the future. Perhaps, on one of the few nights your baby allows you to sleep, you decided to keep yourself up by listing every terrible thing that could happen to you, your partner or your child. There’s so much you can’t control, of course, so place your focus on the things you can control.
One mistake many new parents make while financial planning is to immediately start throwing money at college savings while ignoring their overall financial picture. Start by building a nest egg that can carry you through six to nine months of lean time, and then build your retirement fund. Money market accounts are a good way to build your short-term nest egg, because you can access your money if you need it, while getting a better return than traditional savings.
As for retirement, you may not have given it much thought since your initial conversation with HR. Now is the time to see what else you need. Remember, you can take a loan to pay for college, but you can’t get a loan to retire. Even if you want to put college money away now, you can still get tax incentives if you contribute to your retirement at the same time. Call (716) 372-6607, click here, or stop by Olean Area FCU if you want some help figuring out what’s right for you.