Maybe you're thinking about starting a family; or perhaps, you've already been initiated into this special club for special people complete with spit-up, Band-Aids, and/or questions you're not quite sure how to answer. Whatever the scenario may be, establishing positive money habits now will allow you to build a healthy financial foundation as your family grows. Below are a few steps you can take to help ensure the financial stability of you and your loved ones.
1. Prepare for the unexpected: Consider purchasing life insurance, if you don't already have it. If you do have life insurance, make sure to keep it updated so that you know your loved ones are protected. Create or update your will, beneficiaries, and guardianship documents so that your wishes will be carried out should something happen to you.
2. Begin saving for your child's future early: Open a savings account for your child and set aside some money each month or every pay check to put into his/her account. With direct deposit, this task can be easily accomplished. Birthday money or cash from special occasions should also be put into savings. When your child is old enough, take him/her to the credit union with you and demonstrate the importance of saving for the future by allowing him/her to fill out the deposit slip and take money to the teller.
Another way to save for your child is through the Members First SaveUP program. With the SaveUP program, funds from your debit card transactions are rounded up to the next whole dollar and the extra funds are transferred nightly for the previous day's transactions to a Member's First account of your choice. So, instead of having your SaveUP funds go to your account, choose to make them go directly into to your child's savings. The money that is saved now, can be used later for their first car or to help pay for college. Taking these small steps will help your child in building the groundwork for a solid financial future.
3. Be pro-active: Credit history is not established until a credit account is first reported by a lender for an individual. This means your child's credit cannot be harmed until he/she opens his/her first credit account, right? Wrong. Even though this should be the ideal, in cases of fraud, it is important to check your child's credit report annually. Once your child has a social security number, they too become vulnerable to identity theft.
Not only should you check your child's credit report annually, it's important to check your credit history as well. Checking your report on an annual basis not only helps guard against fraud and identity theft, it will help to make certain that there are no errors that could keep you from getting credit or the best available terms on a loan.
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