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By: Jackie Waters
A recent study showed that about 34% of Americans haven’t taken any steps to plan for their future on a financial level. Perhaps the reason so many have delayed the process is because they don’t know what all future planning entails or how to go about it. Here are a few tips for beginners to keep in mind when it comes to future planning.
A Savings Account is Non-Negotiable
The trickiest part about future planning is there’s no real way to know what lies ahead. What if your job moves you across the country? What if you and your partner decide to have more kids than originally planned? What if you total your car? There are endless variables in life, and it’s vital to have a financial cushion should the unexpected occur. If you haven’t done so already, open a savings account and commit to contributing to it each and every month. How much you save will depend on your long-term goals, and can change over time as needed.
Start Putting Aside Money for Your Kids’ Futures
College tuition costs are high and ever-rising, so it’s crucial to start planning now. From 529 plans to prepaid tuition plans, there are many options to meet your budget and future needs. Keep in mind you’ll also need to consider housing costs—they’re more difficult to estimate early on, but you might be able to get a rough idea by looking at current rates at universities in your area.
Plan for the Worst
It can be uncomfortable to think about what will happen if you should die unexpectedly, but it’s an important part of future planning. First, make sure you have a well thought-out, detailed will. Carefully consider who will be the executor, and if you choose your partner, be sure to name a backup executor in case they are unable or unwilling to carry out your wishes upon your passing. Further, you should also consider a transfer-on-death deed so that your property is immediately taken care of upon your death and doesn’t get lost in any kind of will dispute. This is especially important if you have a child with disabilities you intend to leave your house to so that you can rest easy knowing they’ll always have an accessible roof over their head.
Don’t Underestimate Smart Investments
Investing your money can be a great way to see a large return over time, but you’ll want to do so wisely. Take some time to figure out how much you’re willing and able to invest and what kind of opportunities are realistic for you, then investigate what’s out there. If you’re not sure where to even begin, there are online advisors you can speak to who will give you sound advice.
Plan for Retirement
Whether you’re just venturing into your career or have been in the professional workforce for years, it’s never too soon to plan for retirement. Your current job may offer some kind of retirement plan that can be automatically deducted from your paycheck, but you may want to consider having a personal retirement account, as well. When calculating what you’ll put aside, don’t forget that some plans—like an IRA— might limit what you can contribute each year.
The future is a lot less intimidating if you’re well-prepared, so keep these tips in mind for better planning.
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