It’s easy to live in the here and now and assume you will always be healthy and able-bodied enough to continue brining in an income. And if you feel you are barely able to make ends meet now, you might feel you are not able to prepare for the future. However, without enough preparation now, you may find yourself without a plan later. There are a few ways to get started, no matter your current situation.
Consider End-of-Life Planning
The last thing on your mind might be the end of your life, but a little consideration can go a long way in the future. If you are ever in a condition where you can’t make decisions on your own, you will want to ensure others follow your wishes. This includes both decisions about your estate and your health. You can review an example of an end-of-life checklist to help you create your own documents. The best time to make these plans is while you are still healthy.
Creating a Will
If you suddenly pass away, you will need to ensure any minors will be taken care of. By having a will in place, you will ensure your assets are divided up in the way you want them to be. You can choose to have your kids or spouse be the beneficiary of any accounts. If you have minor children, you should appoint a legal guardian to care for them in the event of your death, formally in your will. Or you could appoint an estate guardian to manage everything until the children have reached the age of majority. This is a great option for single parents.
Saving for Retirement
It's especially easy to neglect saving for retirement if you have kids in the home who you are trying to care for. But forgetting about your own needs will not help anyone in the long run. If you don’t have enough money to live on during your golden years, your adult kids may feel like they need to financially support you, and this might not be feasible for them. Instead, look into any retirement benefits offered by your employer. You may have the option of a 401(k) account with matching from the employer. Don't neglect to take advantage of this free money, even if you have to tweak your budget to ensure you are putting enough into your account. If you have even ten hours a week you can sacrifice, you can boost your current income with a side hustle and use those funds exclusively for retirement purposes.
Consider a Financial Safety Net
It's a good idea to look into long-term disability insurance, especially if you have a job that requires some type of physical work. Disability insurance will cover you if you are too injured or sick to work, and you will receive a certain percent of your income for the amount of time you specified. Consider expenses, income, and savings when you choose a policy. It's especially important to consider this type of coverage if you have kids in the house. You may have also heard of emergency funds as a safety net. Aim to have at least six to 12 months of expenses saved up. If you get laid off, change jobs, or have an emergency expense, this can prevent you from having to go into debt. If the household has only one income source, it becomes even more important to have this type of fund.