How much does it cost to raise a child from birth to age 18? Online calculators now estimate the cost at about $250,000 (varying depending on where you live around the country), but any parent will tell you that it costs much more than that to raise a family. This is because children don’t grow up in a vacuum. Raising a child includes the cost of food, clothing, diapers, child care, and other necessities… Raising a family includes all of the above plus college education, insurance, retirement savings for mom and dad, and let’s not forget a little bit of estate planning.
Does estate planning really rank up there with college savings and retirement? If you have a growing family the answer is an absolute yes. Financial experts such as the one quoted in this article in the Boston Globe will agree; your estate plan is a kind of family insurance, and is just as important as your homeowners or life insurance policy.
Raising a family and creating your estate plan both require the kind of split thinking that allows you to look at the long-term future while still keeping yourself firmly grounded in the necessities of the here and now. Just as parents must consider both onesies and universities, roller skates and retirement—so must your estate planning take into consideration what your family would need if you were to disappear today, as well as planning for the possibility that you could be alive and well and spending your money long past the age of 85 or 90.
If you have a growing family—or are a young couple about to jump into the joys of parenthood—don’t let the demands of the here and now blind you to the needs of the future. Schedule time every few months or so to sit down with your partner and re-evaluate your current financial situation as well as your future financial portfolio and your estate plan. Make sure they continue to reflect your long-term needs and desires.
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