I’ve partnered with Fidelity & MEFA in support of the U.Fund Dreams Tour. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Eight years ago now, I was pregnant with my firstborn, Scarlet, and looking forward to the warmth and light of spring. This was our first winter in New England after moving from California. The winter was particularly icy, cold, and treacherous, and we were in the process of moving into a condo and setting up a nursery. I was registering for baby classes and touring the birth hospital. All I could think about was what it would be like to meet her and to hold her in my arms.
Before she was born, I could only think about the birth – like the last lap and then finish line. Quite like how we think about our weddings, sometimes more than the actual marriage after the events, the hard/rewarding part is always still to come to you. The hard work, the sleepless nights, the changes, and the unimaginably wonderful/scary years are still in your future.
Like many first-time parents, I was blown away by parenting. And like many second-time parents, I was blown away by parenting my second born, Desmond, and how his pregnancy, labor, birth, and infancy were so different from Scarlet’s. If there’s a third? I’ll be blown away by him/her as well. It’s all about adjustments, transitions, and heart-grabbing love. It’s about the challenges and the joys, and how to plan ahead to give them the best future (and present, of course) imaginable!
1 – Get into the habit of saving early. Although the future is unpredictable, assume your children will need help down the road for college, a car, a wedding, or even a down payment to mortgage their first home. It’s not too early to start.
2 – Have a life insurance plan for yourself. This was hard for me to fathom, but if something should ever happen, a life insurance policy will provide financial support to your family. There are various policies and terms to consider.
3 – Create a written will. This will implore you to think about your assets and where they will go.
4 – Involve your loved ones. I’m one of five kids, and we had a lot of relatives who helped us plan for our futures. Although birthday gifts of savings accounts, bonds, and life insurance policies in my name didn’t seem like fun gifts at the time, I now understand the gravity of help. When we planned birthdays, Bat Mitzvahs, graduations, and more, my parents sometimes asked relatives to make financial contributions to our futures in lieu of more toys.
5 – Teach your kids the value of money on an age-appropriate basis. Babies won’t understand anything yet, but young children can learn about earning and saving money. My son got three piggy banks as gift when he was a baby! Use them.
6 – Worry about yourself first. I know that seems to go against everything you feel about having a baby, but make sure you have your own emergency fund/retirement savings before starting with your kids. It will help EVERYONE in the long run.
7 – Open a college savings account for your baby. You can find out more here. MEFA’s U.Fund College Investing Plan, the Massachusetts 529 college savings plan, offers you control and flexibility as you save for your baby’s college education. You can open it up with $50 or as little as $15 if you set up automatic monthly payments. They can be used at any accredited college, and are managed by Fidelity Investments. It’s never too soon to start.
The 2017 U. Fund Dreams Tour:
There will be fun events in or around Boston where you can get information on different options available to families. The U. Fund Dreams Tour is about making college planning & savings knowledge accessible to parents in various stages of the planning process. I have always wished for more resources to rely on for information throughout this process. No matter how old your children are, saving for their educational financial futures is a big undertaking. Are you ready to find out more?
These events will be taking place between May and October of 2017 and they look GOOD. My family attended a few U. Fund Dreams Tour events in 2016 and had a blast. The events will all have a large “Dreams Tent” filled with engaging discovery activities for kids to have fun with and connect. There are discovery activities intended to help parents better understand the challenges of saving for college, and they are also there to be fun and interactive for the kids. The U. Fund Dreams Tour is a fun and interactive chance to connect. It aims to bring awareness to the importance of saving for college, to offer viable solutions, and to help you on this journey of helping your children achieve their dreams.
MEFA’s U.Fund College Investing Plan, the Massachusetts 529 college-investing plan, is a tax-advantaged college savings plan professionally managed by Fidelity. MEFA is a non-profit state authority that works to make higher education more accessible & affordable.