Preparing For These 6 Big Life Events

Life has a habit of throwing us curve-balls, but there are some watershed moments that we can plan ahead for.

Planning for the future

Life has a habit of throwing us curve-balls, but there are some watershed moments that we can plan ahead for. And planning really is key to making these life events stress-free. So let’s take a look at what you can do now to make those distant (or not so distant) diary events something you can afford:

Getting married

Paying for the wedding and honeymoon is only the beginning of the new world of financial start of a joint project for you and your beloved, and however unromantic it sounds, you should probably sit down together and make a plan for how you’re going to spend and save now you have someone else to take into consideration. Some of the questions you need to ask yourselves as couple are: who is bringing what debt to the marriage and how can we pay it off as a team? Have we updated our insurance and wills? What are our joint saving goals and what are we willing to sacrifice to achieve them? And finally, when it comes to investments (and that includes property, see below) how do our attitudes to risk match up?

Buying a new home

The first thing to ask yourself here is Is This The Right Time? Sure, we all want to own our own place as soon as possible, but take a good look at the market in your area, and your job security for the next ten years. Is the really the right moment to take the plunge? If the answer is yes, then yippee! Start planning your new kitchen! But also make sure you get some really good mortgage advice from a registered advisor. It makes sense to use a professional broker, and don’t forget that it’s an on-going maintenance project – you’ll need to reconsider what kind of mortgage is best for you regularly until it’s paid off.

Setting up a business / taking a break from work

Taking time away from the 9-5 to do your own thing can be so rewarding. And you owe it to yourself (and your dependents and investors) to be really organized to make the most of it. Organization here means: sort out an emergency fund and a get-out plan to top and tail the experience with a financial cushion; think about what form your new commercial entity will take, if starting up a business – there are many different types of company and an accountant will be required to set all this up in a watertight way; your accountant or business advisor will also be able to set you straight about your all-important tax situation in this new phase of your life. Many people accidentally fall foul of taxations rules when going freelance or starting a new business, so do prioritise this as something to educate yourself about.

Having a baby

Becoming a mother could or not see you taking a serious pay cut for a while. So how is your emergency fund looking, huh? Even if you go back to work quickly, the childcare fees you will need to pay may not leave you with much cash to spare. So this might not seem like a time to prioritise saving money, but many advisers would recommend that you start putting a bit away for your child’s future education and housing needs as soon as they’re born! In terms of immediate money-saving though, if you’re going to be out of work for a while, it might be possible to switch some of your tax free savings allowance over to your partner if he or she is continuing to work full time. Also check out whether they might have a work related insurance plan you could be added on to. Also, it’s amazing how much cash you can waste buying pointless stuff for a baby. Experienced parents know that your weird, fevered, mid-night purchases from the Mothercare and John Lewis websites can mount up to literally thousands of pounds in the first year. Imagine if you saved or invested all that money?

Caring for a family member

There are tax breaks and income support for full time carers if it comes to that, but by planning  
none of us wants to think about, you will be able to tackle periods of ill health or disability with a much more positive attitude. It’s never too early or too late to seek advice about life insurance and income protection, so seek out a qualified insurance expert to point you in the right direction. Depending on your age and personal attitude to risk, you might consider investing some money regularly in a fund that can pay you a lump sum if you suddenly need it, or that changes to a less risky sort of profile as you get older. These days, as we are an ageing population, it’s mad not to plan for a time when someone in your family might need a long period of paid help.

Receiving an inheritance

Sudden cash windfalls can be pretty exciting, although all too often they are overshadowed by the loss of the person they came from. Either way, don’t just put that money in your current account and start paying for taxis with it! Don’t automatically bung it all in an ISA either, ok? This is where a financial adviser can be really useful. Essential, even. First, they will explain how much of this money needs to go to the tax man, and if there’s anyway to avoid some of that happening. Next, they will help you focus on what your financial goals are and how this sudden cash injection can help you reach them. A good adviser – especially one of the more emotion-savvy “therapist” style ones that are becoming popular – will make sure you don’t do anything rash that could jeapordise your future financial health.

So remember – whatever stage of life you are at: be organized, think ahead and take all the advice you can get!