New Year, New You: Common Transitions and What to Consider in Each

As a financial advisor in New Jersey, it’s my personal passion to help clients navigate major life transitions, striving to come out stronger and more independent than ever with their life and money. Whether good or bad, a major life transition can take an emotional and financial toll on you.

As we start a new year, and for many people, a new normal, here is a list of 6 common transitions you may face in life, along with steps you can take to navigate each of them.

Marriage

You’re getting married – congratulations! In the midst of planning the perfect ceremony, don’t forget to make these smart money moves:

  • Talk through your finances with your partner. Money can be a touchy subject, but it’s one you can’t avoid in marriage. Set aside time to talk through your debts, assets and any other financial obligations you’re bringing to the table. Disclose each other’s credit scores and decide now if you’ll combine finances or keep them separate.
  • Set joint financial goals. Turn your eye toward the future. What do you hope to accomplish together? Do you want to buy a house? Become a stay-at-home parent? Pay off your debt? You don’t have to know all the answers, but it’s important to get an idea of what you both hope to get out of your marriage.
  • Create a new household budget. Start by calculating your combined take-home pay. Then, add up all your expenses and subtract them from your income. If your balance is in the red, look for ways to cut expenses. If it’s in the green, consider putting any leftover money toward your joint financial goals. Not all new couples will decide to combine their finances, so you may want to also decide who will take on what bills.

Conversations about money can be difficult, especially when blending families and children. Not only can it be an uncomfortable topic, but your financial lives may be complex, and your feelings about money may be very different from your partner’s. A financial advisor can help keep the conversation on track, while providing an objective and educated opinion on money matters.

If you’re ready to have a real conversation about your finances, schedule a time to get us involved!

 

Let’s talk! Schedule a no-obligation conversation with the financial advisors at Foran Financial Group, and get the discussion started!

 

Divorce

No one expects divorce to be a part of their story. When it happens, it’s important to step back, take a deep breath, and avoid making any emotional decisions. (I know, easier said than done.)

To ensure you’re sorting through assets with a clear head, it may be best to work with a financial advisor who can guide you through the process.

For example, a financial advisor can help you:

  • Review your divorce settlement
  • Manage any assets you receive
  • Set new financial goals
  • Create a budget and get your future finances in order

As a financial advisor in New Jersey, I strive to help a lot of clients navigate divorce. It’s important to find a new normal, gain control of your finances and learn how to move confidently into your next chapter in life. As a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA®), I see many people make financial decisions based on their emotions, and one thing I know for sure is, money and emotions don’t mesh well.

If you’re starting a new chapter in life on your own, make sure you get educated, unbiased support to help you start off on the right foot. Contact me directly for help.

Having Children

Having a baby is a joyous milestone. But it can also be scary and overwhelming when you think of your new expenses.

As a mother myself, I know there are a million things to take care of even before your baby comes. Here are a few financial considerations you shouldn’t overlook:

  • Childcare: Childcare can get expensive and your options can fill up fast!
  • Health insurance: Decide whose insurance your baby will go on and what coverage you will need. Also, don’t forget to account for delivery costs as well as extra visits and bills you may have in the first few years. A child with special needs may need additional coverage.
  • College savings: Yes, college is something you should think about early on. Talk to a financial advisor about investing in a 529 plan, which you can also use to pay for grades K through 12.
  • Life insurance: You may need to bump up your life insurance coverage and update your beneficiaries.
  • Your will: Who would become your child’s guardian if something happened to both parents?

Research shows it costs $233,610 on average to raise a child through age 17 – and that doesn’t include the cost of education. Budgeting for these expenses early on can help you feel as financially prepared as possible.

For other considerations and costs, read our recent blog post: 5 Financial Planning Tips Every New Parent Should Know.

Loss of a Spouse

Losing a spouse is one of the most traumatic experiences you’ll face in life. Amidst unbearable grief, there are certain financial actions you will need take care of.

For example, you’ll want to:

  • Obtain copies of your spouse’s death certificate, Social Security statements and veteran benefits, if applicable
  • Review the will and start the estate settlement process
  • Contact your life insurance agent to start the claims process
  • Contact your spouse’s employer for retirement and healthcare benefits
  • Review your current financial situation, including your income, life insurance policy proceeds and any inherited investment accounts
  • Look into spousal Social Security benefits

This list is typically just the beginning. You may also need help with the probate process or filing your tax return. Remember, estate and tax laws may differ depending on where you live. If you feel overwhelmed, that’s totally normal. If you live in New Jersey, connect with a financial advisor in New Jersey who can help guide you through these steps. This recent blog post may also help: Foran Financial Group Reviews POAs, Health Directives and Insurance.

Empty Nesting

Have your kids finally flown the coop? Before you start turning their old bedroom into your new craft space, consider taking a moment to fine-tune your finances.

  • Decide if you should downsize (you may not need all that extra space).
  • Consider minimizing the financial support you give your kids. Is it time for them to be truly independent?
  • Reevaluate the family budget (don’t forget to cut out any old subscriptions your kids used, such as a gym membership).
  • Reevaluate your life insurance policies (you may not need as much coverage if your children now have jobs and coverage of their own).
  • Reinvent yourself. Pick up a new hobby, go back to school or look into ways to spend your newfound time.
  • Turn your eye toward life’s next milestone – retirement!

Retirement

As you approach retirement, it’s important to iron out even the tiniest of details.

For example, you’ll need to decide:

  • How much you’ll withdraw from each of your investment and retirement accounts
  • How frequently you’ll withdraw from each account
  • How you’ll cover any unexpected expenses that come up
  • When you (and your spouse) will start taking Social Security benefits (it doesn’t have to be at the same age or time)
  • What you’ll do with your spare time

Studies show that saying goodbye to your career, colleagues and everyday routine can take its toll on your mental and emotional well-being. As you begin to transition into retirement, look for ways to find a sense of purpose. You may decide to travel, volunteer, pick up a part-time job or even start a passion project. Whatever it is, staying active and engaged is key to living a long and happy retirement.

Make sure you discuss these plans with a financial advisor, because a decision like working in retirement can have an effect on your retirement benefits. Also, plans that require money, such as traveling or cutting costs by moving in with your children, can have a major impact on your financial plan.

How Foran Financial Group Can Help

At Foran Financial Group, we understand the emotional and financial strain sudden life changes can have on you, and we want you to know you don’t have to do it alone! Whether it’s creating a new budget post-divorce, merging finances with a partner or even just choosing the best college savings plan for your child, we’re here to help guide you every step of the way.

Contact us, and get the conversation started! 

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This information is not intended to be substitute for specific individualized tax or legal advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific situation with a qualified tax or legal advisor.