Middle life: Trying to have it all
With so many concerns to juggle mid-life, know how marriage, kids and caregiving can impact your finances so you can plan well and stay on solid ground.
Heather, what are some life events that women may be faced with during this stage that could impact their financial plan that they set in their early years?
Certainly one is marriage, and what I would say is, always make sure you kind of keep your individual power from your money, from the standpoint of, know what you bring into the marriage or the partnership, and make sure you always have credit cards in your name.
One of the things that I think is so important and big is the idea that a lot of women come out of the workforce to raise their children, and they leave their job, and maybe it's just for a couple years and they get back in, but understanding just from a planning perspective what that can do to your financial picture and how that can impact your salary, your retirement benefits, how much you're paying into Social Security, it's kind of maybe things you didn't think about, so the cost of daycare, the national average is right around $9,500 a year for a child under five.
The Center for American Progress has a calculator that you can go and you can plug some of those metrics and see what that impact will be.
Savings for kids' education, I can tell you, it's really expensive, and the nice thing is with 529 plans, that you now have an opportunity to use that deferral for education also for private high school education, should that be an option that you want to explore.
Financial stress is the largest contributing factor to divorce, and for many people who get divorced, it comes as a surprise. That is a life event that can come along and catch you by surprise, and if you don't have your ducks in order, it can really set you back. So have those financial discussions upfront, because, as I said, it is a big contributor to divorce, being financial stress.
Job loss was also one of the concerns on the top of the mind of readers, but one of the ones that we hear about and write stories about, because usually it's such a different piece, is the idea of losing a spouse, so the concept of becoming a widow. I think when you are later in life, that's something you think about. It's actually one of the focuses that you prepare for, but when you're younger, and if for some unforeseen reason you end up losing a spouse, that can be a very difficult time to have to try to figure out finances when you're dealing with the trauma within the context of your family.
This is a place where having a financial advisor can be such a help, because it can feel so overwhelming to try to figure out, "What am I actually going to have?" I think women are getting better and better at delegating and having this sort of outsourcing this piece, not having to try to figure it out all yourself. I think a lot of peace of mind can come with that.
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