At some point within the first 30 days of having our first child, I asked the question “What the hell do we do now??” Being responsible for another human being can be a daunting task. When you have a tiny human that can’t feed itself or wipe it’s own bottom…that at times is overwhelming!
Recently I have had some friends who have and their first child and some who have had their third child. I got to thinking about what were the things that Ginger and I didn’t do back in our girls’ baby days that would have been helpful? I have found that all parents get caught up in the day-to-day of having children that we forget to take care of some very important items and find ourselves playing catch up later on when they are older.
The following are three action items for new parents or parents with small children. (For now, only three. If I give you the whole list, you will be Googling Smith and Wesson.):
- Put your child on your health insurance plan. Typically, you need to add your child on your health insurance plan within the first thirty days from your child’s birth. On some employer plans, you may have 60 days from the date of birth to add the child. Whichever the time period is, you don’t what to be figuring out what to do without health insurance for your baby when he/she does get sick.
- Update your wills and trust. Oftentimes this is something that is way overlooked. Making sure there is plan for your child, but also care of your family if you or your spouse were to prematurely pass away, is vital. A few things you will have to decide when drawing up a will and trust:
- If both you and your spouse were to pass at the same time, who would become the guardian or your child(ren)?
- Is there life insurance on the parents and who is the beneficiary of the life policy? Consider opening a trust at the passing of the second spouse’s death and fund the trust with life insurance. With a trust, you can set stipulations on how the children are to be cared for and how the money is to be spent or distributed if the children are over 18 years of age.
- You will have to elect an executor of the estate. This person needs to be organized and reliable. My sister-in-law is the executor of Ginger and I’s estate. She is extremely organized and I know she can take care of all of the details.
- Purchase life insurance on BOTH parents. The fact is, we all take a dirt bath at some point. Hopefully later than sooner. But in the case of an early passing of one of the parents, life insurance does come in handy. Having an adequate amount of life insurance is key. I use the basic rule of 5%. By taking each parents income and dividing it by 5% you will come up with a rough estimate of how much life insurance you’ll would need to replace each parent’s income. Example: If you make $50,000 year and divide it by .05, you will come to $1 million dollars. That is the amount of insurance needed for that person. If both parents make $50,000 per year, you would need $2 million in coverage. Now that does not take in account inflation, but it is a good rule of thumb. ONE VERY IMPORTANT ITEM TO CONSIDER! Even if one of the parents does not work, you need to insure that parent’s life. Sadly, I have seen it in the past. The mother dies, she doesn’t work and now the father has to hire help. A good nanny is going to cost upwards of $50,000 a year with salary and expense. Wow! That’s a lot! Consider Term Insurance for the first 18 years of the child’s life and permanent for life time insurance.
That wasn’t so bad, right? Easy compared to nighttime feedings and dirty diapers. These are items that once you have implemented them, you don’t have to come back to them but every three years or when you have major changes in your family dynamic. If you would like to have the full list of things to consider, email me at Trent@grinkmeyerleonard.com. A good financial advisor can assist you on a lot of these planning items. Everyone should have a financial advisor…even a financial advisor.