Life is full of transitions. One major change that can impact you and your financial situation is when your family income changes dramatically.
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Whether it’s a partner entering the workforce after being a stay-at-home parent or securing a new job with a higher salary, making the right financial moves is crucial to ensure a smooth transition.
Here are seven essential steps to help you navigate the changes and build a solid financial foundation for your family.
1. Assess and Adjust Your Budget
When your family income changes dramatically, the first step is to review your existing budget and make necessary adjustments.
Look closely at your income sources, including the new earnings, and reassess your expenses. Identify areas where you can cut back or reallocate funds to accommodate the change, like eating out less or canceling subscriptions you no longer use.
Remember to factor in new expenses, such as commuting or childcare, and ensure your budget reflects these changes. Create a new budget that aligns with your revised income, ensuring your essential needs are met while allowing room for savings and emergency funds.
2. Revisit Your Financial Goals
A significant income change is an excellent opportunity to reevaluate your financial goals. Consider the short-term and long-term objectives you have for your family. Are there any new goals you’d like to add?
Perhaps you want to save for a down payment on a house or increase your retirement contributions. Take the time to reassess your priorities and adjust your financial goals accordingly. Making a plan and setting goals can help you stay focused and motivated as time goes on.
3. Build an Emergency Fund
Building or bolstering your emergency fund is one of the most crucial financial moves when your family income changes dramatically. Unexpected bills or expenses can pop up anytime, and a safety net is essential.
Having at least three to six months’ worth of necessary expenses as an emergency fund is generally recommended. You’ll want to store this money in an easily accessible account. This will give you peace of mind and protect your family from financial stress during challenging times.
4. Pay Off Debt
If you find yourself with extra income after going from one income to two, it’s an excellent opportunity to pay off any outstanding debt. High-interest debt, such as credit card balances or personal loans, can eat into your budget and hinder your progress toward financial stability.
Prioritize paying off these debts as quickly as possible. Start by focusing on the debts with the highest interest rates and work your way down the list. Being debt-free will give you more financial freedom and flexibility in the long run.
5. Reassess Your Insurance Coverage
With a change in income, reviewing your insurance coverage is important. Maybe you or your partner’s new job comes with better benefits. Review your health, life, and disability insurance policies to ensure they adequately protect your family.
If necessary, adjust your coverage to align with your current income and family’s needs.
6. Maximize Retirement Contributions
With an increase in family income, it’s an ideal time to maximize your retirement contributions. Take advantage of employer-sponsored retirement plans, such as 401(k) or 403(b) accounts, and contribute as much as you can afford.
Aim to contribute at least the maximum amount that qualifies for your employer’s matching contribution if possible. Additionally, consider opening individual retirement accounts (IRAs) for you and your spouse to boost your retirement savings further.
7. Save For Your Other Goals
Having two incomes provides an opportunity to accelerate your savings goals. With the additional income, you can allocate a portion towards savings, allowing you to reach your financial milestones more quickly.
You should start setting aside money each month for your other savings goals, buying a house, starting a family, or pursuing higher education.
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When your family income goes from one to two, it’s important to sit down and make a plan. That way, you can start taking the right steps to manage your finances effectively.
Consider seeking professional financial guidance. A financial advisor can help you navigate the complexities of your new financial situation, provide personalized advice, and assist you in making sound financial decisions. They can also help you create a financial plan and make sure you’re on track to meet your financial goals.
Embrace this transition as an opportunity to strengthen your financial well-being and ensure a brighter future for you and your partner.
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 7 Financial Moves To Make When Your Family Income Changes Dramatically
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