*This post has been sponsored by PolicyGenius to advise your family’s insurance needs. All opinions are my own.
Do you ever wonder about the not so far off future?
Well, if you’re on a first-name basis with your insurance agent and plan out your weekly lunches, your family might be 99% ready for the future!
However, if you still have your 2016 calendar on the wall…maybe not!
Let’s take a closer look on how to plan ahead and create peace of mind in a few simple steps …
Take a Deep Breath and Section out Long Term Planning…
1. College planning.
Start saving early for college. My girls are in their early elementary school years, but college will be here before we know it, and costs are always going up. Making sure you have a financial plan is essential. The earlier parents start contributing money into a 529 college savings plan, the more time the money has to grow. For example, if you start saving $200 per month in a 529 education savings plan for the next 10 years earning a 3.5 percent tax-free return, you’d accumulate almost $29,000. See it does add up!
2. 401(k) planning.
Go ahead and supercharge your 401(k)! Most people set up their 401(k) and forget about it. But, when your income increases, your savings should increase too. Studies show that increasing your contribution by 1% can have a huge impact. Plus, if your employer offers contribution matching, it’s like you’re getting free money for retirement!
3. Emergency funds planning.
You never know when an emergency will arise. Do you have enough money in your emergency fund to cover six months of spending? Most Americans don’t, so if you’re shaking your head “no”, you’re not alone. Grab a calculator, enter your monthly expenses, and multiply it by six. Take that number and write it down on a piece of paper. This is your goal – to be able to pay for six months of costs in cast of an emergency. It may seem like a big number, but you can take that big goal and break it into smaller milestones to make it more manageable.
4. Insurance planning.
Since we are launching into a new year, we might as well start the year off right How? By reevaluating your insurance needs. It’s crazy how much can change in only a year, so review your premiums, deductibles and beneficiaries and ensure it all still meets your needs. A great place to figure out what insurance holes exist in your financial plan and what coverage you need (and don’t need) is PolicyGenius’ Insurance Checkup. Once you know what where your insurance gaps are, you can compare rates from the nation’s top carriers and apply online. The customer service is run by a licensed group of agents who don’t work on commission, so they are on-call and on chat to answer any questions you have without the intention to sell you on a specific company or policy.
Remember to review your life insurance policy as well. Life insurance provides a financial safety net intended to protect your family and financial plan, which can include paying off debt like student loans, long-term goals like saving for college, and day-to-day needs, like income replacement and childcare costs, in the event that you die prematurely.
The biggest question that life insurance shoppers have is, “Which is better for me, term life insurance or whole life insurance?” Through PolicyGenius I learned that , without a doubt, that term life insurance is the best fit for the majority of American families. Why? Because it’s relatively affordable – 4 times less expensive than whole life insurance – and you only need to pay for it when you really need it. PolicyGenius offers a ton of advice and tips throughout the shopping process so you’re never left guessing. That’s a great fit for people like me who like to learn along the way and know I’m making the right decision for my family , now and in the future.
Now Fill in with Short-Term Planning…
1. Weekly meal planning.
While you may veer off meal ideas from time-to-time, I can’t stress enough that it is a good idea to have some notion of as to what meals you will be eating and preparing for your family at meal time throughout the week. Having it possibly plotted out either on paper or digitally can simplify meal planning this greatly. For extra help use my FREE meal planning printable…
2. Keeping up with all of your family’s extra-curricular activities daily.
This is also another one that can make life surely more crazy if you don’t have everyone’s appointments and activities schedules more written down. I use utilize my iPhone calendar, as well as a physical 2017 agenda to make sure I am not missing any events.anything for anyone.
3. Vacation planning.
At the very least, I recommend scheduling time for advise to have days allowed for a larger scale family vacation. You could also invest in a vacation club of sorts to be able to enjoy some down time–. wWe we actually belong to the DVC (Disney Vacation Club). This has made us become more accountable as far budgeting our time and money monetarily and time wisely for bigger annual family vacations.
Within families, it seems like someone is always celebrating a birthday, graduation, baby shower, or something else. Map out your budget ahead of time, so you’re not caught by any surprises.
So what are you waiting for?
Start planning ahead now.
Feel free to share how you are planning for the future in the comments…
Seana Turner says
One lesson I’ve learned is that when it comes to trips and vacations, it is better to just go ahead and plan it. You can often get trip insurance or pay a cancellation fee if things don’t work out, but waiting too long to plan can leave you with few options.
Seana, I just couldn’t agree more and definitely learned this lesson the hard way, as well!!
Meredith Spidel says
These are such smart tips on the stuff that REALLY matters. And I’m a planner through and through, so I really appreciate this! Thanks for bringing the discussion!
My pleasure and with you try my best to plan, but also know I may forget something at times. So this does help me to have it all in one place!
William Holland says
I’ll give you a tip, Janine…when you are 68, you don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the future. That’s just a truth of life. Every single day is a gift you are a bit surprised you received….but when I was your age yes, the future was grand and glorious, so plan…and live!
Happy Wednesday, my friend.
Aw, thanks Bill for your advice and Happy Wednesday right back at you!! 🙂
AnnMarie John says
I have never really worried much about the future and insurance policies etc. The military had me covered and when I retired, they kept me covered. I do worry a bit however about my kids, will they be ok when I’m gone. With the way the world is now, when is “enough”, enough? As for vacation planning for short term, we plan one big vacation yearly and it’s usually in the works after we leave our vacation. When your family is a big as mine do you need to plan.
I am so happy to hear the military did indeed cover you on this and sounds like (but think I did know) that you are awesome at your vacation planning, as well!! 🙂
Luckily, we finally have 529 plans for both kids. Cassidy has a 401K. I’m not sure it’s in the cards for me (?!) but hey, he has one. I think we’ll be ok, but it’s scary to think about not planning well.
I know it is scary and just good to have some kind of plan in place. So totally agree.
These are FANTASTIC tips! My mom helps a lot in the meal planning area as she loves to cook for my boys but yes the birthdays can get really expensive really quickly!
Love that your mom helps out, Nellie. Oh and I agree about birthdays. We are currently looking into some ways to cut down on that cost with both girls now 🙂
Aunt Gloria says
Very good suggestions and tips – I’ll try to follow some of your suggestions! xxoo
Thanks Aunt Gloria and glad you can use some of my suggestions here, too!! xoxo 🙂
This is why they say an ounce of planning is worth a ton in production. I just did a little policy overhaul and wow, that is so important to do! Probably yearly. I am glad to hear that about term life insurance. That’s what I have!
Thanks for sharing, Jen and agree annually isn’t a bad way to approach this at all!!
Christine Carter says
I’m such a terrible planner! Horrible at it. I love all these ideas and you have me thinking about many of these areas I need to get going on! Thanks Janine.
My pleasure and truly happy to help you out on this, Chris! 😉
These are awesome tips Janine. I’m planning to buy a house in the next 2-3 years, so I’m saving like crazy, improving my credit and trying to stay positive. The cost of houses is raising in Northern California, so I’m a little nervous.
Aw, wish you so much luck on this and I know I am in NY and the cost of houses here also is ridiculously expensive. So, totally can relate, as well.
Kenya G. Johnson says
Gah! We are behind on some things. Christopher’s being 12 seemed like it came in six short years. Meal planning – I try to do this in my head at the grocery. Just threw out mushrooms yesterday 🙁
I threw out tomatoes yesterday before going food shopping once again. So, totally get it, Kenya!!
Kristi R Campbell says
My family is behind on some of this… we need to make some adjustments now that my husband’s other kids are grown and we both need to up our 401(K)s for sure. Thanks, Janine! Also for meal planning – that’s why I liked Blue Apron but it got to be too much with three meals a week and so I’ve paused it for now. That means we’ve had grilled cheese sandwiches twice this week (oops). Great tips!
Wanted to try Blue Apron here and still on the fence of the cost of it, as well Kristi. So, I am still a work in progress trying to make meal time easier, as well!
This is totally real talk and I think it’s very important to talk about insurance. I have a life insurance (with accident/hospitalization benefits) with my bank and it was offered for a low price because I’m a premium card holder. That’s what I have for now but I’m planning to get another one that involves savings. Really need to start working on my emergency funds and retirement funds too.
Sounds like you have a great plan so far and thanks for sharing, Rea 😉
Allie G smith says
Excellent post!!!! Seriously. And as a mom of a sixteen year, I promise you 10 years goes by fast. Start saving for college as soon as you can!!!!
Couldn’t agree more about college saving, Allie. Thanks for sharing with me, too 🙂
I definitely like to plan things out as much as possible, and am risk-averse to a fault sometimes. Love the way to created a planning ‘funnel’ starting with the big things first and then getting to the small things like meal planning and vacation.
Thanks Leslie and yes planning here is a big thing for me, as well. And every so often something throws a monkey wrench into, but still good to have some basic planning down to help amend things I suppose 🙂
Katherines Corner says
I’m a planner and as we age we talk more about our future than we used to . We are grateful for every day we have to share. Love K
Aw, totally agree and are thankful for every day we share, as well here too xoxo 🙂