Are you living in the present? You’ve probably danced like no one’s watching or smelt the roses, but by now you know that can be fleeting. Do you know why?
You’re worried about something.
The greatest enemy of living in the present is worry. Who among us has not done something mindless like locking the keys in the car when fretting about bills or deadlines at work? It happens all the time.
Preparing for your future and getting on the front foot, however, is one of the best ways to combat worry. It’s also a natural tendency of most mums.
So, this New Year, let’s tackle the big worries, one at a time, with plans and a schedule. The quicker it’s done, the quicker you’ll be back to the present, and this time for a much longer stay.
To live happily in ‘the now’, every mum needs three things:
- a solid financial plan
- a formal guardianship arrangement for her children
- a will
Admittedly, many people would rather have a root canal than sit down to do a realistic financial plan. This may ultimately take the assistance of a professional financial advisor or an accountant but once in place, it can be a great source of peace of mind.
If you don’t already have a financial plan, you can get started with a variety of excellent online tools for family budgeting. Eventually you will have to get beyond the week-to-week or month-to-month view when it comes to budgeting for some of the bigger-ticket items, like a house or school fees or retirement. Life will change, of course, but it is much easier to modify an existing financial plan than to invent one in the first place, especially if the changes cause hardships. Don’t forget about insurance as a way of protecting yourself and your family.
Guardianship of Children
The most important thing you must do immediately is to make formal arrangements for the care of your children in the event both you and your children’s dad pass away. You may have made informal arrangements, but they could be disregarded without a formal guardianship agreement, and counting on your own parents may not be wise as they age.
Also remember that not every loving and responsible guardian is wealthy. Your plan may involve creating a relatively simple trust so that the guardian has access to the assets necessary to look after your young ones. Your life insurance coverage should work as part of this plan to make sure that children are adequately provided for and all the pieces of the plan work together.
Many married mums assume that if the bank accounts and the house are in both names, there is no need to have a will. That is only true when women outlive their husbands and they live in a world where there is no divorce. Should you find yourself widowed or divorced, the last thing you will want to bother about would be making a will, so it is better to cover contingencies in advance.
If yours is a blended family with “his, mine, and our” kids, the planning can become more complicated. If you are in a de facto relationship, ownership of joint assets may not pass automatically, so you should make your intentions clear with a will. Contingency planning is even more important for single mums, however young.
Living in the present is a noble goal but worry about the future can snatch today away. The solution is to plan for the future. With children, you already have a considerable stake there. A financial plan, a guardianship agreement and a will can bring you back to enjoy the preciousness of the moment.