Look To The Future: Planning Your Family Life
Whether you’ve just had a beautiful new arrival or have got one on the way, you’ll be in no doubt that your life is undergoing a huge change. Your family is growing and you now have a new member whom your life is largely going to center around for many, many years to come.
Over the years, the needs of you and your kids will change and grow, altering the family dynamic and putting different pressures on your time and finances. It sounds a bit scary, but planning ahead can help to make it easier.
Asking The Tough Questions
Start by having a think about the future and questioning your circumstances. It's essential that you prepare for every eventuality. To do so, try breaking your future into the next 5, 10, or 20 year blocks to figure out long-term goals and ones which will come round a little sooner.
- Are you in a good neighborhood for play groups and kindergartens? What about high school?
- Think about your house and garden too, and whether it will accommodate a growing family - is the garden safe for unsupervised play, and how busy are any roads near your property?
- Further down the line, is there room for teenagers to have friends over and more of their own privacy? Are there buses or bike routes that they can get around by themselves with - or will you need to drive them until they get a permit?
- If you are planning more than one child, how far apart do you want them to be in age?
- What affect will family life have on your career and vice versa?
- A good support network is also important to family life - how close are your other family members and friends?
Consider the points you raise and how important they are to you - or whether you can compromise in favor of other things.
Getting Your Finances In Order
Having a good handle on your finances is a big part of family planning - and a really great step to take sooner rather than later, as the benefits will have longer to build up. Family life can get expensive, so create a monthly budget plan to keep track of your spending and look at savings accounts which automatically take some of your pay each month.
Also consider long-term options for college funds or down payments on houses to help your kids out; and look at your own options for life insurance and pension funds.
Looking to the future can seem both a bit daunting and even slightly unnecessary - you’ve got a nursery to arrange or too many nappies to change! But getting a head start can really set up your family for comfort and security in the long term.