Finances are perhaps the most important thing to learn and do right in this lifetime, and teaching your children this kind of independence while they’re young can have them well on their way to a solid financial future.
By keeping tabs on family finances, parents can build a good foundation for whatever the future has in store. Suzanne Stevens, executive director at life insurance provider BrightRock, gives parents advice on how to keep long-term financial goals in mind while still taking care of the present.
1. Turn to those in the know
Let’s face it, financial matters can be a minefield if you don’t have anyone guiding you on where to step and what to avoid. Seeking the help of an independent financial adviser can be invaluable to help you sort through what products would best suit your long-term needs. Don’t be afraid to shop around and ask friends and colleagues for recommendations. Also make sure your adviser doesn’t represent only one specific insurance company, so you can rest assured you’re getting the best policies to suit your unique needs.
2. Raise savers
One of the greatest gifts you can give to your children is the cultivation of a savings mindset. Educate them on the value of money from early on. This can be as simple as helping your little one save up their birthday money in a piggy bank when they’re young, to encouraging your teen to do odd jobs for trusted neighbours if they have their eye on a gadget they’d like to buy.
3. Invest in your human capital
Your ability to earn an income is your single most important asset. Remember that your monthly income is what pays for everything your family needs, so it’s vital the money keeps coming in if you’re no longer able to care for your children because of disease, disability or death. You want to be sure your family can retain the way of life you’re working so hard to provide them with.
4. Go on a debt detox
It’s all too easy to get into debt when credit cards and store accounts can give you those luxuries you know you and your kids deserve. If you’re in debt, make a plan for paying it off over a set period – and stick to it! Prioritise payments on those accounts with the highest interest rates such as credit cards. It’s always a good idea to leave your store cards at home when going shopping!
5. Change is as good as a holiday
Once you have your plans in place, don’t fall into the trap of complacency. As your needs change so do your financial priorities and it’s important your policies reflect that. Ensure you meet with your financial planner at least once a year, or whenever there’s a big financial change in your life, such as increasing your home loan or getting a well-deserved promotion at work.