Some of the most important financial moves you can make on your kids behalf may affect them well beyond childhood. Many of these cost little or nothing in cash, just some time and thought.
1. Get your child a Social Security number. You don’t have much choice these days. But you can add meaning to it by considering it a time to address opening an account for the child.
2. Make a will and name a guardian. In case of your early death, make sure your children are protected by naming a guardian of your choice rather than relying on a court appointed guardian.
3. Buy adequate insurance. This is critical to protect your family and includes life and disability insurance.
4. Start saving for college. College costs keep rising faster than inflation. Start early saving at least a little toward those expenses.
5. Talk about money. When the children are young, look for ways to help the child learn with hands-on experience how to manage money. This may include how you use an allowance. And it may include helping the child to have a bank account of their own.
6. Revise your will and beneficiary arrangements. This should be done periodically any way. But as your children mature, this will likely have an impact of these documents in various ways.
7. Save for retirement. Being financially independent in retirement is one of the greatest gifts you can give your kids. To do this requires long term planning.
8. Give some money to your kids. If you anticipate eventually passing along significant assets to your children, consider that giving some of that to them while you are still living may provide needed help for things like a home, college costs for grandchildren, etc.
9. Spend some on yourself. Most children are pleased to know their parents are financially able to buy some things and do things in their senior years.
10. Teach charitable giving. These lessons by example and through encouragement should be woven into all of the items listed above.
Don Spencer is the church financial benefits consultant for the Kentucky Baptist Convention.