Planning for the Future: 4 Things Parents Should Think About Now

Being a parent is all about planning. Your mind is always one step ahead when you have kids, even if it’s just figuring out what you’ll put in their lunch bags tomorrow. Parenthood changes your perspective on everything because your future is no longer just about yourself.

More than anyone else in the whole world, you want your child to thrive and succeed. In order to give them the best possible start to their lives, here are some important things to be thinking about now.

College Tuition

College is more expensive than ever, and if you haven’t been saving up already, now is the time to start. While you should always encourage your child to apply for scholarships, you can begin to save money for college tuition with an education savings account.

A 529 account for college is an excellent choice as it can be opened by anyone, allows for outside contributions from family and friends and has tax advantages.

Action Plans

The future is something most of us just find thrust upon us one day. You turn 18 and all of a sudden you’re expected to make decisions and take care of yourself for the rest of your life. This isn’t a realistic practice or expectation, especially since a person’s brain isn’t even fully developed until they’re over 25.

Develop an action plan for their life that breaks down the future into concrete goals. Take the SATs, apply for college, choose a major, etc. This plan is allowed to change, and flexibility should be encouraged as your child continues to grow, gain new experiences and discover themselves.

But developing an action plan at the start of high school can help make adolescence and the transition into early adulthood a lot less terrifying.

Children’s Mental Health

Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and other psychological conditions are often considered to be exclusive to adults, but this isn’t the case. In fact, 50 percent of all chronic mental illnesses start presenting themselves before age 14 (National Alliance on Mental Illness).

It’s never too early to start talking to your kids about mental health. Teaching your children how to handle anxiety, cope with stress and identify and discuss their feelings will help them become more in-tune with themselves and know how to get help if they need it.

Wills

No one wants to think about dying, especially when they have children. But you never know what might happen, and it’s better to be prepared for the worst-case scenario than to let your child be left without a parent with no proper will in place.

Contact a wills and estates” rel=”nofollow” to help you draw up a will, appoint legal guardians and make sure that your life insurance plan is in order so your child is taken care of in the event you are no longer alive to care for them. Making it official now will help ensure that your wishes are carried out if something does happen to you.

It’s never too early to plan for your child’s future. With a proactive approach to your child’s wellbeing, you can ensure that no matter what life throws their way, they’ll have the skills and resources they need to respond thoughtfully and in their best interest.

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