If you’re moving into a new home as a newly-wedded couple, one of the most daunting aspects of your married life may be your finances. To help you on your journey, here are some of the most important factors that you need to consider when starting your young family in a new home.
Know the basics of moving into a new home as a couple
There are many things that you should consider, and the first thing is to mind the financial challenges that come with moving into your new home.
First, you have to know the costs that come along with this major decision: once you know the cost of your new mortgage payments, new insurance policies, solicitor and estate agent fees, make time to find out about moving-day costs. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned homeowner, it’s important to know and prepare for these costs, which can be surprisingly high.
You also need to get used to handling bills, and help yourself become ready for them. Come to grips with your new household utility bills as soon as you can. For one, you don’t have to stay with the previous occupant’s providers. This is a great opportunity to shop around and find the best deals for you. Set up automatic payments, so the money is automatically paid from your bank account when it’s due. This can help you keep track of your budget and avoid late-payment charges. Also, some utility companies might give you a discount if you pay this way.
You can also look out for new home and moving out checklists. You can find these on the internet, and they are very handy for new couples. They can help you with what you need to prepare even weeks before starting your life in your new home. It will tell you what utilities you need to buy, what you need to prioritize and almost anything else you need. They are extremely useful, and you can save a lot of money and time as a result.
Getting insurance is key and could be helpful – especially if you know which kind you need to have – whether it’s that’s health insurance or even homeowners insurance. Right now, you can make the case for not getting insurance as it might be too much of an additional cost for you and your family. However, a time may come when you need these services, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Life insurance can replace the income a spouse or a child is dependent on if the family breadwinner gets into an accident or unfortunately, passes away. Purchasing life insurance to cover your salary won’t be as hard as you think. Some companies, like State Farm and Big Lou, can help you get a better quote, so you’d get what you need at a lower price. Getting a $750,000 30-year term insurance for a 27-year-old male, for example, averages to around $50 per month, which isn’t too pricey.
Health insurance and life insurance premiums in general aren’t only about someone dying or being in an accident. Sometimes, ailments such as diabetes, hypertension or even clinical psychological diseases such as depression and ADHD can be covered by a good insurance policy.
Meanwhile, you might also want to get insurance for your house. If you’ve bought a new house, you’d probably need homeowners insurance. If you have a mortgage, your lender would insist on this. Remember, you don’t have to buy it from your lender, so shop around to get the best deal for you.
You can also buy insurance to cover the loss of or damage to the contents of your home, such as your furniture and electrical goods. Don’t forget to compare the terms and conditions as well as prices.
Create a budget.
Creating a budget is a no brainer for anyone, but it is still an absolute must if you’re just a starting family. It is something that you should do as a team.
List all sources of income you and your spouse receive, and be transparent about it. This includes your paychecks and any other additional income, such as investment income, rental revenue or trust fund distributions. Create a joint account to serve as “ground zero” for all your finances.
Then, discuss non-negotiable expenses first by budgeting for recurring bills such as rent or mortgage payments, car payments, cell phone bills and insurance premiums. Because these payments remain steady and predictable, they’re the easiest to budget around, so address them first.
Also, it could be helpful if you set spending levels for discretionary spending, such as cable and internet bills, dining out, gym memberships and other nonessential expenses you share in your household. This category of bills includes anything that, if push came to shove, you could comfortably live without.
Lastly, set aside a portion of each month’s budget for a rainy-day fund. Separate this money from your household checking account, such as a savings account. This fund can be a useful buffer in case you’re under-budgeted in the future or need help to soften the budgetary blows of a major expense such as a huge mechanic’s bill.
Plan ahead for your future child’s college education
In almost any place in the world, college education is very crucial for any individual. Similarly, in almost any place in the world, college education is very costly. This is why when you’re starting out a home, one of the biggest considerations for you to take note of is saving up for your future child’s college education.
In the United States, for example, there exist 529 Plans. A 529 Plan is an education savings plan operated by a state or educational institution designed to help families set aside funds for future college costs. It is named after Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code which created these types of savings plans in 1996.
529 Plans can be used to meet costs of qualified colleges nationwide. In most plans, your choice of school is not affected by the state your 529 savings plan is located. You can be a California resident, invest in a Vermont plan and send your student to college in North Carolina – just look out for the rules regarding 529 plans.
Of course, they come at a cost. It’s totally necessary for you to check out the requirements, the initial costs and other expenses that you might encounter. Then, compare it to what you might gain.
Then again, 529 plans aren’t your only options. There are still some plans like that of Prepaid College Tuition plans. These plans are exactly what they sound like: They allow you to pay for portions of your child’s college tuition now, locking in current prices — protecting you from exponential tuition hikes if your child is still years away from attending college.
As such, if the tuition fee at a big state college is currently $10,000 a year, a $5,000 contribution today could buy you 50% of a year’s tuition (or one semester’s worth) — whenever your child is ready to attend school and cash it in. That means that if tuition at the said big state college swells to $20,000 a year by the time your kid turns 18, your $5,000 investment would be worth $10,000 in tuition — still 50% of the total bill.
More than a dozen states offer prepaid tuition plans, though some are currently closed to new enrollment. Like 529 college plans, gains in these plans are also usually exempt from federal taxes.