Life Packs

Settling Down

Settling down? Getting married? Having kids? This guide is the one for you.

Made for Anyone Who:

  • Is well into their career
  • is looking to establish a stronger financial foundation or shore up their finances even further
  • is facing larger financial decisions- sending kids to college, caring for aging parents, approaching retirement

Introduction

You're starting to get in the groove of life! Established in your career, but you're still going strong. If you have kids, you're moving from sleepless nights with infants to sleepless nights with teenagers. Speaking of teenagers, you may be thinking about paying for college in the next few years. If you own a home, we can help you consider if it is a good idea to refinance. As you accumulate assets and wealth, it's important to consider estate planning documents (will, guardian form, financial PoA, Medical PoA). We’ll also take a look at term-life insurance coverage and make sure you are appropriately covered. Depending on net worth, it could also make sense to get Umbrella Insurance. Considering a rental property? We can help determine if it makes sense for you.

You're probably entering your highest earning years, and we want to look at your budget to make sure you are saving and investing as much as possible. If there is any high-interest debt, paying that off should be a priority. Work to further optimize the amount of money you are putting in your 401(k) versus investing in a brokerage account. 

For your investments, is your risk tolerance is appropriate for you? Everyone loves a good Tesla stock, but consider a cap for ‘play money’ investments and lean more towards diversified investments. If you have employer equity, the timing of exercising, as well as the tax implications can be complicated so it's important to be familiar with how equity works.

Get excited! You're going to start to see the results of your hard work and discipline. Take the time to enjoy being more established and we look forward to helping you on your journey!

Raising Kids

The cost of raising a child is no joke! The average cost for a middle-income family to raise a child through age 17 is approximately $284,570 (including projected inflation of 2.2%), not including college. No one wants to assign a monetary value to a child, but let’s be honest, that’s the price of a home (or a down payment, depending on where you live). But before you start sweating, let us help break this down and figure out how you can best plan financially for your new bundle of 𝗆̶𝗈̶𝗇̶𝖾̶𝗒̶ joy. And guess what? The cost of raising a child goes down with each child you have! So have 4 (kidding!)!


Budgeting

Even though having a child upends your life a little (or a lot), the way you approach your finances doesn’t change. You should still aim to save 20% of your income, and you may have to cut back in other areas to make it all work. You’ll have more expenses to consider (diapers, child care, clothing) and you’ll have to adjust as your child gets older. The baby/toddler expenses will fall off, but they will be replaced by new ones (think sports/hobbies/activities, auto insurance). 

Reexamine your emergency fund to make sure you’re covered for 3-6 months at your new expense level each time you adjust your budget to account for your child’s costs.


Plan for College

If providing a college education to your children is important, this starts with a conversation with your partner. Make your priorities together- savings, retirement, college. Remember you can take a loan out for college, but not retirement. Discuss your intentions to fully or partially fund college, will you plan to cover public in-state tuition or private school? Will you cover tuition, books, fees, and room and board, or ask your child to help contribute to some of these costs? Once you have thought through this, you can develop a plan to save for college that is tax efficient and cost efficient.


Raise Financially Responsible Kids

In a world of crippling student debt, rising home costs, and disappearing pensions, it’s more important than ever that you teach your children basic financial literacy. You should take steps when they’re young to teach your children about money and the value of a dollar. 

Whether positively or negatively, parents are financial role models for their children. Taking steps to plan ahead and factoring cushion into your budget will help set you up for success, and in turn your children some day. It’s never too early to create a plan!

Growing Your Wealth

Growing your wealth often takes time, lots of time. By having patience and diligence, it’s possible to meaningfully turn your hard-earned savings into true wealth. The definition of wealth varies greatly from person to person, so it is important to first consider what being wealthy looks like for you and your family. To some, it may be working less and enjoying more leisure time. For others, it could be a bigger home and the ability to travel the world.  


In any case, growing wealth is often a long journey with very few shortcuts. In order to successfully grow your wealth, you must start with the basics of living within your means and paying close attention to your financial world. Beyond this, it can be helpful to consider a variety of strategies for building and growing your wealth over the long term. Below we share our best suggestions for wealth building strategies.


Keep to the Basics

Regardless of what additional paths to financial success you may take to further build your wealth, keeping to the basics of spending less than you earn and being involved with your finances are critical components. At the core, financial success comes down to math. If you save more money than you spend, you have an opportunity to invest and build wealth. Additional avenues for bringing in more money will only help you along your journey if you have mastered these key basics of money management. 


Starting a Business

Starting a business can impact your opportunities for wealth and allow you to control your destiny along the way. Perhaps you have valuable knowledge or experience in a particular field, a novel idea, or a way to improve or disrupt an industry that could be leveraged to create a new business. Starting a business is not without challenges and can be a risky proposition, but the potential rewards make this an attractive way for many to work toward a desired level of wealth. 


Refinancing your mortgage

One sure way to grow your wealth is to pay close attention to the amount of money you pay on any debt you have. For most of us, the largest amount of debt that we have is in our primary residence. Refinancing your mortgage debt with the goal of obtaining a lower interest rate, and thus saving money on what you pay to your lender, can be time-consuming but the savings are well worth it.


Creating Passive Income Streams

When you hear the words passive income, you might think that this approach allows you to simply do nothing and let the cash roll in. But like most wealth building strategies, there is work involved.


Creating passive income usually means that the work you do is typically done upfront. Only once that work is completed will you be in a position to reap the benefits with little continued effort. Passive income can come from a variety of sources and is most commonly associated with a real estate portfolio or an investment strategy that consistently pays dividends or interest, although there are other methods for creating passive income streams. 


Alternative Investments

For some, the investment options available on the publicly-traded stock market may not be quite enough of the risk-versus-reward opportunity they are looking for to grow their wealth.  For wealth builders with a bigger appetite for risk, investing in alternative investments can result in larger rewards. Popular alternative investments  include real estate, private equity or collectibles, commodities, and precious metals. It is important to note that these investments can be highly illiquid and difficult to properly value.


Do I need a CPA?

Your finances may be simple enough that you can easily file your taxes on your own or using an online tool like TurboTax. However as your wealth continues to grow, it’s important to seek the help of a professional who can guide you through the best way to file your taxes so that you are only paying what you truly need to pay in taxes. This way you can be tax efficient with your wealth building plans. You work hard for your money, so finding ways to reduce the amount you pay in taxes is a smart investment. 


When starting to grow your wealth, start with the basics to build a strong foundation. Once that’s established, explore the topics we’ve discussed here to see which could work to get your wealth working for you to a greater degree!

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