As your life progresses, finances can be more challenging. When you have more people counting on you than just yourself, it is difficult to manage priorities on how you spend your money. Balancing day to day expenses with long-term goals creates stress in the strongest of relationships. Talking frequently with your significant other to ensure you are on the same page can help alleviate a great deal of the pressure associated with managing finances.
Make Retirement a Priority
The everyday need to make sure your day to day bills are paid can overshadow the reminder that you should be putting money aside regularly for retirement. It is important to keep retirement as a top priority through all life stages. You are not doing your children any favors if you do not set aside money for your golden years. If your company has a retirement program, it makes sense to utilize that first. If you are on your own, setting up an individual retirement account allows you to save towards retirement. If you or your significant other stay at home at any time during typical working years, for example, to take care of children or elderly parents, make sure that their retirement needs are provided for as well.
College is Expensive, but Doable
Much is made about the need to save for college. While saving for education is important, don’t be paralyzed with anxiety. There are many different ways to pay for school, and your child will have a variety of options available. Scholarships, both merit and needs-based, are very common. The federal government has several grant programs that many students qualify for. What is not covered by scholarships and grants, which do not have to be repaid, can be covered by loans. Federal student loans are an option for some of the expenses. If your child needs to borrow more than they are permitted to under federal loan guidelines, private student loans are a great option to invest in your future. Private student loans do not have the same borrowing restrictions that come with federal loans.
Don’t Get Too Focused on the Future
It is important to plan for your family’s future. Saving money is a marathon, not a sprint. The earlier you start saving, the longer your money has to accumulate. While it is important that you not lose focus on your long-term goals, you should also make sure your family has time to enjoy the life you are all living today. Weekend trips, fun activities, and not spending every spare moment working overtime are all important and will make up a lot of the memories your children have of their childhood. Whether it is just having time available to hang out on the weekends, or being relaxed enough for the occasional spontaneous trip, creating family memories is linked to how you view your finances. It is important not to become so focused on your goal that you miss the journey. Keeping an open dialog with your partner, and periodically revisiting your budget are great ways to be sure you are on the right track, both today and in the future.