The family is still the cornerstone of American life. So much of our existence revolves around family and the planning of our futures to ensure the security of our loved ones. But where does the time go? Your little bundle of joy was barely the size of a football and is now all grown and throwing an actual football around with his friends on the high school field. His little sister is in the middle of her teen years and asking you for dating advice! Oh boy.The family has grown up together, and the years have provided some wonderful memories.
But what about all those big financial plans you talked about?
According to a recent survey, some of the most common financial regrets among Americans were not saving for retirement followed by saving for emergency expenses, taking on too much debt, and not saving for their children’s education. Not surprisingly, Americans financial regrets center on financial decisions which most affect the family.
College savings shouldn’t come as a surprise either, but with the day-to-day of life and dealing with the comings and goings of the kids and all the activities, who has the time to sit down and plan all this stuff out? Plus, it all seemed so far away when they were babies. But blink three times, and you wake up to a reality of no college savings and a high school graduate in your house.
But with a little help from a savvy financial advisor, that doesn't have to be. Whether you want to start saving for your children's future, or if you have grandkids that will need help paying for college, a 529 plan is a great investment tool. Earnings on your contributions to these plans are tax-deferred and, withdrawals used to pay for tuition and other qualified expenses are generally tax-free.
As for the other main concerns, the family will not benefit from being snowed under with credit card debt. And what if the unpredictability of life throws you a curve ball? Do you have an emergency fund in place?
And what of retirement? When you reach your golden years, don’t you want to be able to live comfortably and not have to worry about the family and their finances?
The longer you save, the better off you will be. Compound interest over time is what does the trick, and the more time you have to let it work, the better. If you are already in your 50s, make this a financial priority. Start right now. Delay spending on non-essential items, and put away as much as you possibly can. If you are employed, contribute to your employer’s retirement plan. If you are self-employed, set up an IRA.
And start the kids off with good financial habits too, so you will be safe in the knowledge that they’ll be taken care of down the road.
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