Financial Tips for Parents
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You could buy a lot of things for $267,000. A decent house, a few cars, a boat, hell maybe even a horse if that’s your cup of tea. Or, you could raise a child for 18 years. 

According to U.S News and World Report, the cost of raising a child born in 2022 in the United States, (not including college expenses) comes to about $267,233 over a period of 18 years. Even so, this price tag assumes that a child is born to a middle-income, married couple and doesn’t mention the cost of giving birth alone. CBS reports that before insurance, you can expect an average bill for $22,015 for a complication-free, vaginal birth in Florida.

Okay, you get it. Kids are EXPENSIVE. On a journey as unpredictable as parenthood, it’s important to have your finances in line, so any hiccups are covered before they happen.

Here’s a list of five financial tips for parents that set you up for success when paying for, I mean, raising your kids:

1.Life Insurance

Life insurance – insurance that covers your family in the event of your death- is essential in making sure that your family stays afloat should the unthinkable occur (see: Life Insurance: The Big Financial Decision You May Be Forgetting). Like health insurance, life insurance plans come in two different options.

There is term life insurance, which is a plan that only covers you for a certain period of time. This means you can get coverage for just your daredevil era, or until your kids can support themselves financially. Fabric is a great resource for term life insurance plans if you decide to go that route. It overall is a great option for people looking for something more affordable, as Fabric’s lowest life insurance quotes start at just $7.61 a month.

On the other hand, you could get whole life insurance, which covers you for your whole life. These plans can be pricer, but will cover your beneficiaries even into adulthood. 

2.College savings

While the cost of college has increased astronomically in recent decades, Florida has many ways that make it more affordable. If you’re looking to take some student debt off for your kids, start saving into the Florida Prepaid college tuition program.

college savingsTo take part in the state-backed program, pay on a monthly or lump sum basis into a fund for your child. Then, “When your student is ready for college, the Plan pays the costs covered under your plan type at any Florida College or State University, even if the cost of college is higher than anticipated when your plan prices were set.” Don’t want to stay in Florida for school? No Problem! “ If your student attends an out-of-state college or private college, the plan will pay the same amount as it would pay at a public college or university in Florida.” 

As someone who is currently facing about $80,000 in debt from my degree, I wish this type of plan was an option for me. 

3.Deductions and Tax Credits

Your kids, however burdensome they may be on your wallet, still yield huge savings on taxes. Let’s break it down into English and not ‘accountant-ese’. Your children or anyone who relies on your income for basic necessities (food, clothing, shelter) are considered “dependents” meaning they depend on someone else’s income. If you have any dependents, CLAIM THEM.

The old rules of the road used to be that, if you had dependents, you would deduct up to $3,400 from your total taxable income per dependent. That code has been reformed. NOW, savings for having dependents comes in the form of a “Child Tax Credit.” This means you can see savings of up to $3,000 per child above the age of 6 and $3,600 per child below the age of 6. That’s like a month’s worth of gas people!

Check out TurboTax’s page for all this information as well as other deductions you qualify for if you have dependents. 

4.Retirement

Retirement plans differ completely based on your marital status, occupation, and yes, your kids. It’s important when planning for retirement to factor in your kids and their needs as well. While by the time you retire, your kids may be supporting themselves, there’s another thing that financially you need to prepare for: supporting you!retired couple by the seaside

In retirement, your kids may find themselves supporting you with medical care, housing, or other expenses. This is where things like long-term or memory care insurance make a huge difference. Having the right insurance or money set aside for these expenses helped my parents a great deal taking care of my grandparents.

When these types of things are covered, your children and caretakers can focus on what’s most important- spending time with you and getting through what’s already a difficult process. Regardless of your family or marital status these types of insurance are important to have. In Fact, many things like hospice or long term care aren’t covered by medicare or typical health insurance. 

5.Emergency Funds

What kind of things does your “rainy day fund” account for? Rent or mortgage, groceries and maybe some gas money too. What about diapers, formula, daycare? Money for boo boos and broken bones? When you have a family or are thinking of starting one, it’s especially important to factor in additional expenses brought on by kids. Make sure to throw some extra cash aside so you have an umbrella big enough to fit the whole family. 

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