How Spending Changes During Big Life Events

Tax Blog

How much thought have you given to your finances come the next big milestone in your life? When that master’s degree is completed or when your next beautiful child is born, what does it mean for your wallet? The end of the year is an ideal time to take a moment to reflect upon your spending and saving patterns. With almost another twelve months behind you, the chances are a lot of things have happened. Thanks to inevitable, often surprising, life events, it’s better to be prepared than for your finances to be taken unaware. Let’s take a quick look at some major life events and see how you can manage your spending and saving habits just a bit better.

Smart Money Moves for College Students or Recent Grads

First and foremost, it is important to know that you, the almost grad, are not alone. Some 1.8 million students are expected to receive their diploma in the coming year. This means that there are many out there on the same boat, and therefore many resources that you can use to help ensure your finances are on track.

Now’s the time to be paying back those dreaded student loans. Typically you have about six months to begin making payments on student loans. If this is not addressed immediately, your credit rating could take a big hit and your wages could even be garnished. On the bright side, you have a number of payment options, ranging from the standard 10-year term with a fixed payment amount to the income-based payment plan. Do some research, speak with an authority on the matter and find out what works best for you.

Open the proper accounts if you have not already done so. Establish a checking and a savings account so you can properly manage your money. Take some time to shop around and find the best credit union or traditional bank that accommodates your needs for the right price. Keep your eyes open for a good deal – perhaps sign-up bonuses for new accounts or something of the like. Lastly, despite the temptation that might present itself with a new credit card, it is crucial to get one. It is a necessary tool to establish your credit rating for loans further down the road.


The Budgeting Plan for Your First or Fifth Kid

Budgeting is likely your best strategy to gauge whether you are ready for your first or next child. Costs such as daycare amount to more than a year’s worth of tuition and fees at a public college. Families who gave birth to a child in 2013 can expect to pay $13,000-$15,000 a year for the first 18 years of the child’s life – $250,000 in total for that period according to USDA’s Cost of Raising a Child report. The key with budgeting is to see if your cash flow will support your newest addition to the family.

With another young member in your clan, it’s always better to err on the side of caution. Financial planners highly recommend an emergency fund in an easy-to-access account of six to twelve months of expenses. Also take into consideration the current size of your living space and your car. Are they enough to fit another person? If not, would you be willing to move and upgrade your living quarters and or vehicle? Do you have the down payment saved? These questions are all vital pieces that will allow you to ascertain whether you should embark upon that next big milestone in your life… a new child!


How to Retire the Right Way

The right retirement plan is one that has been in the works long before you give your boss your two week notice. This momentous occasion in your life includes a thorough analysis of your current and future expense. While the vast majority of retirement plans have the basic framework in place to make your golden years enjoyable, the “miscellaneous” items on your retirement budget work sheet are often glossed over. Here are a few unforeseen expenses that have the potential to ruin that intricately crafted retirement plan of yours.

Most retirees pursue a hobby that perhaps their professional life could not allow for. If your dreams of yacht racing or daily golf playing comes to fruition, your retirement plan should cover this expense. More time for yourself often means more time at home. Consider the inevitable home improvements and factor that into the retirement equation. Even in our days of retirement, parenting doesn’t end. Perhaps your kid has picked a concentration with dubious earning prospects or maybe he or she is just experiencing trying financial times, you may have to consider adding the expenditure of bailing out a loved one to your retirement plan.

At the end of the day, regardless of what your next big stepping stone may be, being cognizant of all of the possible financial factors is of high importance. Do your due diligence in preparation of the event and assuredly the next phase of your life will be something extraordinary.