What to expect when you're expecting....financially speaking
There aren’t too many topics I consider myself uniquely qualified to talk about, but being a father of five (ages 18 months - 7 years old) AND a financial advisor, this topic is right in my wheelhouse.
And no, this isn’t a blog about how kids cost more money. That’s a given. You’ll buy onesies and car seats and pillows and pacifiers and high chairs and diapers and toys and day care and doctor’s visits and on and on and on.
Instead, here are three expenses you may overlook when starting a family.
A will and trust
Welcome to adulthood. You officially have responsibilities that, if you suddenly kick the bucket tomorrow, live on after you’re gone, including your child(ren).
Let’s say you unfortunately get a bad case of the flu and die tomorrow. If you don’t currently have a will and trust in place, the state will step in and decide who is the best suited caretaker for your child(ren)’s until they are legally an adult…seriously.
Without at least a will, preferably a will AND a trust, the fate of your children is left up to a judge who literally knows nothing about your extended family and friends.
Before having children, “trust” was synonymous with “rich” or “trust fund” in my mind. But I was wrong. A trust allows me to leave detailed instructions about where my children will live and how my assets will be divided up among them if I die.
For example, if my wife and I die tomorrow, our life insurance money and other assets will automatically pass through our trust. And the court will use the instructions we’ve laid out in the trust to determine where our kids go and when they have access to the money, house, investment accounts, etc.
It’s well worth the peace of mind knowing you’ve taken care of your children to the best of your abilities, even in the unlikely event of death.
If you want to learn more about how I set up a trust, send me a note.
Buy term life insurance
My wife and I have nearly $5 million of term life insurance between us. If we both suddenly die, we would leave someone to raise five children. That will mean a bigger car, bigger home, college tuitions, feeding five hungry teenagers, etc.
When we were single, we didn’t have life insurance. If we died, we didn’t leave anyone with a major financial burden - some small college debt, but that’s about it.
Now, however, there is a lot more at stake if we die, so life insurance has become a necessary part of the equation.
And relatively speaking, term life insurance is inexpensive (ballpark somewhere around $50/month per million dollars of coverage, assuming you are in good health).
Like a will and trust, life insurance gives you peace of mind knowing you’re taking care of your child(ren) as best you can.
Outsourcing your life becomes a thing
When you have a child, you’ll probably realize how inefficient you were with your time before kids. Yes, you felt “super busy” when you didn’t have kids, but then a baby happened…and you realize you had plenty of time, you just weren’t using it efficiently.
And that baby will require a lot of time and attention. And you’ll (hopefully) WANT to spend time with that baby.
You’ll begin to think things like, “if I didn’t have to mow the lawn I could be on baby duty and give my wife a break,” or “if I didn’t have to clean the house and do the dishes all the time we could spend more quality time as a family.”
Consider my situation. I have five very young children. Not only do they require a lot of my time and attention, I WANT to spend time with them.
There isn’t a decision I make that doesn’t come at the expense of something else.
If I cut my grass, I miss out on quality time playing ball with my kids, or maybe my wife could really use my help with a home project, or maybe we would all go for a walk instead of mowing the lawn on a Saturday.
If I spend time after dinner washing dishes, I’m missing out on spending the only quality time I can with my kids after being gone all day at work.
Taking five kids to the grocery store and making it out alive is a minor miracle. My wife does it, and I have no idea how, but a lot of time we arrange our schedules so she can go alone while I stay home with the kids.
But that means some of her “alone” time is spent at the grocery store. And I’ve likely had to rearrange something in my schedule to make grocery shopping happen. So, as I write this I think, “maybe grocery delivery makes more sense for us.”
These are the types of outsourcing decisions you may consider. Nothing is off limits: dry cleaning, grocery shopping, landscaping, house cleaning, child care, etc.
Ask yourself, “Does this activity fill us up or bring us closer to our goal?” And if the answer is “No,” you may want to consider paying someone to do it for you and instead spend time on the stuff that really matters.
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