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3 Things You Can Do Today to Ensure a Brighter Future for Your Children

 

Image of a piggy bank with change around it.

Introduction

As a parent, you want the best for your children, and you’d go to the ends of the earth and back to protect them and preserve their future. It’s especially important when it comes to children with disabilities who might have special considerations to keep in mind. You shouldn’t wait for a crisis before you enter protection mode, however. There are many things you can start doing today to ensure a brighter future for your children.

Invest in a 529 College Savings Plan

The cost of higher education is skyrocketing, and students are graduating with massive student loan debt. Most families don’t have the funds set aside to cover the cost of college, especially special needs families who have faced additional expenses over the years. But thanks to 529 College Savings Plans, you can start putting money away today and even lock in today’s tuition rates with prepaid college savings plans – even if your child won’t be heading to college within the next decade

The downside to prepaid college savings plans, while they do enable you to lock in the current cost of tuition, is that these plans are often limited to tuition in in-state, public colleges and universities. So, if your child attends college in another state, you can’t use your savings toward those costs. Overall, more people are opting for college savings investment plans today, partly due to this limitation.

Put Plans in Place for Inheritance and Property Transfer

Most people don’t want to dwell on their mortality, but it’s wise to make legal arrangements for your children to inherit your property. Unfortunate accidents take lives every day, and there’s no telling what tomorrow will bring. So, start putting documents in place to ensure that your children will be taken care of in the event of an unfortunate accident or unforeseen circumstance. This is especially important if your home has been modified to meet your child’s needs; even if they’ve left home by the time of your passing, it’s always good to have a safety net in times of crisis.

There are several ways to go about this. A life estate deed is used to transfer property from one person (or several people) to another individual or selected individuals upon the owner’s death, so it’s a tool often used as a legal tool to ensure the automatic transfer of property. Other tools include trusts, wills, or other types of deeds such as Lady Bird deeds, which can be used to avoid probate. Pay special attention to the type of deed you’re researching as each has a very specific purpose, and may not be applicable to your goals. A quitclaim deed, for example, can actually create risk to the new owner.

Start a Dedicated Savings Account for Your Child

Teaching sound money principles is one way parents can set their children up for a strong financial future, so you might consider opening a dedicated savings account for your child. Unlike college savings plans, these funds are accessible for any purpose. Open a savings account when your children are young and make regular contributions or encourage them to deposit money received for birthdays and other holidays into their account to watch their money grow over time.

Some banks and credit unions have savings accounts specifically designed for kids younger than 17, and like all savings accounts, interest rates vary so it’s worth shopping around. Of course, you don’t want your child to have free access to their saved funds before they’re ready to make responsible financial decisions, so be sure to implement controls that prevent frivolous spending.

Make sure that if your child has any cognitive impairments, you’ll probably want to designate some kind of executor for their account in the event of your death. It could be your partner, a sibling, or a lifelong friend of the family. You can also choose to appoint a lawyer.

There are many ways to plan for a bright future for your children, but these three strategies are things that you can implement starting today to ensure that your children are taken care of, will be able to afford college, and are equipped with the money-management skills they need to succeed later in life.

Image via Pixabay by Brett_Hondrow