Three financial to-dos when you have kids

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  A young father reads from a picture book with his toddler son.

There is so much to think about, plan for and do when you're a parent. Between juggling work, activities and school, future financial concerns may not be top of mind. Consider these to-dos if you have kids.

  1. Get comfy with budgeting
    If you haven't already, take inventory of your family's financial situation. Without understanding where you are financially, it's impossible to appropriately develop and balance goals like paying down debt or saving for college. Remember that expenses are constantly changing as your kids grow, which means planning for shifts in your budget. If you expect childcare expenses to go down in the future, commit now to saving at least part of it for long-term financial goals. If your child is older, start involving them in with family budgeting so they can learn from you.
  2. Protect against some of life's curveballs
    If the unexpected happens, will your family be prepared and taken care of? Use our life insurance calculator to determine how much insurance you would need to make sure your family's needs are covered. For each employed parent, you'll want to review your disability insurance to make sure you are protected. If you realize you don't have adequate insurance, you may be able to increase your benefits through your employer or talk to your financial advisor about options that are best for you. And, while you're at it, go ahead and start preparing for the unexpected by saving three to six months' worth of living expenses for those emergencies that tend to pop up when you least expect them.
  3. Don't back-burner your long-term goals
    It's easy to get caught up in all of the expenses that come with children, but when it comes to saving, your greatest ally is time. Whether planning for your own retirement, learning about the advantages of a 529 plan ;for education expenses or preparing for any other financial dream you have, a financial advisor can help.

Kids can take a lot of time and energy, but making room for these steps could set you up for the future you've dreamed of.