U and your money
Planning for a family: Start to invest now!
With all the anticipation and joy that comes with starting a family, having children also marks one of the most significant financial changes in parents' lives. And in today's world where plans can go awry, careful planning for such an event is essential.
The birth of a child is a big occasion, especially if this is your first. You have many decisions to make,
including where to have the baby and how to prepare your home for the new arrival. With this in mind, financial preparation is an important part of process. You should think of financial preparation from two aspects: immediate needs and those over the long-run.
The bottom line is that you need to examine your finances and implement and stick to a budget to accommodate the cost incurred by having an additional family member. Always remember your set expenses, including credit card payments, loan payments, rent or mortgage. One option would be to look for opportunities to supplement and boost your income and even ways to monetize your skills.
In terms of immediate needs, you will need to start planning for the birth. Make sure you know how
much the birth will cost. Sometimes there may be costs that you are not aware of, so you need to look
at any quotations you get and carefully understand what you are being charged for. You also need to plan for any possible complications. For example, while a c-section is generally planned, it may become necessary for someone who was planning a natural birth.
Everything, from diapers (which can become long term) to wipes to the crib and medical expenses, costs money and will require space in your monthly budget. Start tracking your potential expenses as an accountant would do, so you have an accurate picture. A good way to start would be to allocate a percentage of your income for meeting the needs of the new addition.
You need to start reconfiguring your budget and look at the long term implications such as planning for the child's education, emergencies that may arise and even retirement. Starting an emergency fund is also a good idea at this point. Start to put aside enough money to cover six months of living expenses, including those expenses related to raising your child.
Since your monthly expenses are sure to increase, you may need to reconsider how much money you put aside for maintaining or even starting an investment portfolio. Don't fall prey to decreasing how much you invest as you want to continue to build your portfolio. As daunting as it seems, you have to start looking at your long-term investment goals that will help to take the child through the different stages of his or her life.
It may be necessary to revisit your investment strategy. You should focus on maximizing growth and continuing to explore investment opportunities such as UTC's Growth and Income Fund where the investor has the potential to earn capital growth and dividend income.
If you had the more cautious approach of preserving your capital, it may mean a shift of focus to capital appreciation. This is an important but necessary change to meet additional expenses associated with child rearing.
What about university? It is best to start planning for tertiary education as early as possible. UTC's Children Investor Starter Plan (CISP) and the Student Investment and Protection Plan both cater for an investment strategy tailored to meet your child's education. Tertiary education may seem like a long way off but an early start will allow you time to build your investment at a comfortable pace.
You will also need to re-examine your retirement needs. UTC's Universal Retirement Fund (URF), which posted positive returns in 2011 of 10.27%, is an ideal platform to enhance an existing investment portfolio or even starting one.
Another priority is to create a will. If you already have one, change it to include your child. You will also need to review your insurance needs and ensure that your child is added to your policy. You may also want to change the beneficiary on your policies. Also, look at your life and disability and health policies and ensure that they are adequate to take care of your child's needs. You cannot know what will happen a year or even ten years from now but you can ensure that your child will be well taken care of if your life takes an unexpected turn.
Starting a family is a life-changing event. A good financial plan will allow you to meet those needs and build a future for your family.