Did you realize when you and your spouse chose to get married, you also entered into a financial partnership? As partners, there are many opportunities to discuss goals, budgets, and dreams as you go through different stages of marriage and family life. Each phase of life brings different challenges. For instance, when you and your spouse decide to enlarge your family and have children, there are many things to consider. The more information you can gain about finances, the better able you will be to make wise decisions and keep the communication flowing between the two of you.
A recent article in Money magazine stated that on average, a child born in the year 2000 would cost between $165,000 and $240,000 to raise from birth to the age of seventeen! Those figures don't even take college into consideration! That fact can seem overwhelming to the average household.
Here are a few things to consider when planning a family that can make things a little easier and keep your finances protected--
Make sure your health insurance meets the needs of your family as it grows. Children tend to go to the doctor more than the average parent. There are immunizations, childhood illnesses, and countless number of colds and viruses they pick up at school. Evaluate several different health insurance or health savings plan options and see what will work best for your family.
Update your will. In addition to deciding where your assets will go once you are deceased, you should also name an executor, so you can avoid having a court-appointed administrator. Also, name a guardian for your children. If you fail to do this, the court will do it for you.
Check the amount of life insurance you have for each parent. Life insurance should be able to cover the following: lost income, childcare expenses, and funeral and burial expenses. Some people also choose to provide for a home mortgage payoff should the breadwinner die. The amount you chose is completely up to you and your spouse, but when children arrive on the scene, it is definitely something to be re-evaluated.
Try to start a newborn's college fund as soon as possible. Many different options are available now. The most important decision is to begin - immediately-and to be committed to contributing to the fund regularly.
Teach your kids financial responsibility through a powerful parental example. Kids today don't necessarily think money grows on trees; rather, they think it is created in ATM machines or that plastic is a substitute for cash. Encourage your kids to earn an allowance and make some of their own purchases. Don't hesitate to explain why you can't buy something right now. Let them know you have financial goals, and challenge them to have their own.
Raising children the way that God would have us to is a huge responsibility. Don't allow our commercial society to pressure you - take control of your family finances, and don't allow Satan to use financial struggles as an issue in your family. With proper planning, you can keep your family finances on track, and have more time for the really important things: hugs, talks, play-time and prayer!
Denise Craig, Chief Financial Officer
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