If you’ve chosen to help your children with their college education, you know what it feels like when every semester, that tuition bill comes. It has you counting down the days until… no more college tuition checks! Finally! But what do you do in life after the final check is paid? If you’re looking forward to breaking free, here are 5 tips to consider.
Tip #1: Enjoy It
Celebrate the accomplishments of your child. Buy a cake, throw a party – do whatever you’d like to do to celebrate the end and a new beginning. Your child isn’t the only one starting a new chapter in their life… you are too. And most importantly… enjoy not seeing the tuition bill!
Tip #2: Rev Up Your Retirement Savings
Start saving more for retirement. Not exactly what you wanted to be told right? Here’s the thing, generally families put less emphasis on their retirement savings when they are focused on helping their children with college. However, now that you have helped them, its time to focus on YOU and your retirement. Commit to revving up your retirement savings and take advantage of any catch-up contributions if available. It will help you feel more confident that you can retire comfortably. Isn’t it about time you started to put yourself first again?
Tip #3: Prepare for the Big “I Do’s”
It’s true, wedding rules have changed. How exactly? Check out this article: Wedding Rules have Changed?!
Some parents know that they want to help with their child’s wedding. Maybe you’d like to help but don’t think you can. Or, maybe you haven’t even thought about it. This tip is for you. Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to use all of your own money to do so? How is this possible?
Today, most graduates live at home after getting their degree to save money. They enter post grad bliss. No housing, food or utility bills. That’s what they have you – their new roommates – for! It becomes so easy to get used to living at home with no financial responsibilities that some… never move out! Fearful this may happen? Consider this: Charging them a modest room and board.
Decide on an amount that you feel is acceptable. Take that money you collect for room and board and invest it to help pay for their wedding. This is effective for a couple of reasons. It is a great lesson in responsibility having to pay Mom and Dad for rent every month. Also, it may even motivate them to get out on their own and find a job or buy a house. It teaches both responsibility and independence.
Even if they stay at home for awhile, they are contributing to the household and helping you save for their wedding. A win-win for you!
Tip #4: Re-examine Housing Arrangements
Now that you may be one step closer to empty-nesting, it is a good time to do a housing arrangement gut check. Do you see yourself downsizing in the near future? If yes, you may want to look into smaller options and hold off on any major renovations. Do you see yourself staying in your house for many more years and have been dying to redo your kitchen or some other big home improvement project? Keeping the above tips and considerations in mind, the more freely flowing cash flow may finally allow for it.
The important thing to remember is to thoroughly think this through. Whatever you decide, make sure it is within reason. Retirement may now be your highest priority goal. This could change your opinion on housing arrangements/upgrades.
Tip # 5: Use Your Financial Advisor to Help Clarify
After looking at these above, consult your financial advisor to help with any clarity that is needed. An objective third party like a financial advisor can help you with any feasibility, importance level, or investment related questions. An advisor can also quantify your retirement lifestyle giving you a clearer perspective on the work that needs to be done now to sustain it.
Don’t have a financial advisor yet? We’ve been helping individuals and families for over 35 years plan their way to their desired retirement lifestyle. All it takes is one phone call. Start heading toward the financial future you are looking for. You will find the clarity and simplicity you need.
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Chelsea Maderer is a Financial, Investment and Tax Advisor in the Buffalo-WNY region. She helps individuals and families to Clarify their needs and goals, Solve their problems, and Simplify their life to avoid the common mistakes that get in the way of enjoying life and retirement.