As the saying goes, “Men don’t worry about the future until they get married,” and while that statement is true, many fathers don’t really worry too much about their financial future until children come into the picture. So, what happens now that kids are part of the equation? It takes the worry factor to a whole new level!
Is our home big enough for a family? How do you fit a car seat in a Miata? How much are diapers going to cost? What about daycare, pediatrician visits, piano lessons, new soccer cleats (annually, of course), and the mother of all expenses… college? While your kids may just be starting to learn their multiplication tables, you know they are already thinking about going to Stanford or Duke as their university of choice. They are also certain to choose a course of study that will require several years of additional education such as medicine or law. And being the loving and supportive fathers that we are, we’ll want to help them every step of the way.
Managing your household finances is not something typically learned in school or at home. Like most people, trial and error is the typical method. While in college, you may have been fortunate enough to have a job to help pay for many of the extra expenses, and, consequentially, that also qualified you for some of the credit card offers available to college students. Without much education on how to manage credit, many students often spend beyond their means. Getting out of debt and changing spending habits is a long, hard battle, but it can be done with discipline and support.
College, graduate school costs, and credit card bills have a way of piling up and hitting just about the time your career gets into swing and kids are on the way. Consequently, a lot of young families can find themselves in a conundrum of college costs + a new family = a tough situation. But, with some deliberate thinking, planning, and self-discipline you can create a good financial situation for your family. It requires some discipline and stewarding of your resources, but it is very attainable and will set you and your family on firm financial footing for the future.
The world of family budgeting, personal finance, and investment strategies can be fascinating but can also be overwhelming for many young couples with kids. The goal here is to minimize the worry and concern and let you have the peace of mind that you are knowledgeable about the financial decisions you will have to face. Let’s face it, the most important thing you can do for your family is being a great Dad. It is a lot easier to do that when your financial worries are in check.
NEXT MONTH IN FAMILY FINANCES – Creating a Family Budget that Works
ABOUT THE FAMILY FINANCES SERIES
Money can be one of the most challenging areas of life. This is true no matter what your situation but especially if you have a family. We at The Father Life believe that healthy financial habits are absolutely critical to a healthy family and want to encourage responsible use of personal resources.
‘Family Finances’ will be a series of articles on topics that are important to family life and a healthy financial future. Saving for and buying a family home, planning for your kid’s college, managing credit, planning for retirement, taxes, investing strategies, and getting out of debt are a few of the topics that will be covered. In researching topics for this series of articles, we’ll try to distill the most current information on the subjects in an unbiased manner so that you can make the best choices for your specific situation.
We’ll also separate the myth from the facts on each subject. There are many predators out there looking for the financially naive. Your best defense is boosting your financial IQ, and a little education can go a long way.
We hope this series is helpful, and, as always, your feedback is appreciated! We’d like to especially thank Christian Rand for putting together this series for us.