Happy Father’s Day! Whether you’re a new dad or you’ve had a handle on this fatherhood thing for a while, you likely spend a lot of energy working toward your family’s happiness, safety, and security. A trip to Disneyworld, a season on the little league team, and a roof over their head are all ways you might achieve this – and doing so costs money. Thankfully, there are simple money management tactics you can utilize as you navigate one of life’s most rewarding jobs: being a dad.
Wise money tips for Tri-State dads
1. Plan for the future
Short- and long-term goals require some forethought to reach. Tools like Money Management can help you set and track both through one intuitive dashboard. Once you know where you want to go, you can strategize a plan to get there. For example, if you want to pay your child’s way through college, you’ll need to identify the savings vehicles that can help you accomplish this:
- Certificates.1 Some goals are far off in the future. In this case, committing some funds to a certificate is a fantastic way to enjoy guaranteed earnings. When the certificate matures, you can withdraw the money or reinvest it into another certificate. General Electric Credit Union (GECU) offers certificate terms from 3 months to 5 years. Open yours today with as little as $500!
- Bump Certificates.2 Your savings deserve a bump, and they can get just that with a Bump certificate. Unlike standard certificates that lock you in at a rate, a bump Certificate comes with the option to increase your rate annually. You’ll never miss out on a rising rate environment! During a low-rate environment, you can simply forgo the rate change and continue enjoying your existing one.
- Interest-earning accounts. Some interest-earning accounts offer tiers, allowing you to earn more in interest as your balance grows. Assign these accounts as your primary savings account to get the most out of their tiered structure. Tip: Start earning on as little as $100 when you open a Thrive Money Market3 account with GECU. Along with interest earned, you’ll gain free access to nearly 100,000 ATMs/ITMs nationwide.4
- 529 plan. These savings plans are an individual investment account where you contribute money for college or a K-12 tuition. At account opening, you’ll have the chance to assign a beneficiary to the account and dictate how much and when they’ll receive the funds.
2. Think before buying
You may find yourself with less disposable income after having kids. For this reason, it pays to weigh each purchase before making it. Is it a want or a need? While self-control is a big piece of the savings puzzle, so is reducing or eliminating temptation. Unsubscribe from retail emails so you won’t have urgent subject lines about sales flooding your inbox.
And speaking of retailers, be strategic about which ones you open or continuously use a store credit card at. While many of these cards have attractive introductory offers, their standard interest rates are typically higher than the national average. This results in bigger payments when you carry over a balance. If a card is causing more problems than anything, consider transferring the balance to a low-rate card to make debt payoff more straightforward and affordable.
Tip: Learn more about store credit cards and whether you should close yours in Everything You Want to Know About Store Credit Cards, a video featuring GECU Chief Credit Officer, Neil Peterson.
3. Review your insurance and bank accounts
Any big life event should trigger you to review your accounts, but it’s best to complete this task annually. This will help you identify any changes you should or want to make. For example, you can name one or multiple beneficiaries on relevant accounts, including (but not limited to): checking accounts, individual retirement accounts (IRA), and life insurance policies. This is important because, should you pass away unexpectantly, the funds in these accounts will be directed to the listed beneficiaries. Including your child as a beneficiary will ensure they receive funds based on your wishes.
Did you know? Beneficiaries trump whatever is listed in your will, so it’s crucial to call your financial institution and update them on all relevant accounts.
4. Prepare for the unexpected
An emergency fund is important no matter what stage of life you’re in. Having a family just means you have more loved ones to look after when the going gets tough. Whether it’s a job loss or a medical scare, certain obstacles in life have the potential to throw you off track. Minimize their impact by building an emergency fund. While the rule of thumb is to save at least three months’ worth of living expenses, you’ll never regret stowing away more. Not only will this provide security on bad days, but it will also give you and your family peace of mind on good days, too.
5. Pass along your knowledge
Even though you’re the parent, you’ll never stop learning. It’s crucial to pass down your knowledge of money management to your kids. Doing so will improve both their financial literacy and their ability to live independently as adults. This means displaying good spending habits for them to replicate, showing them how to budget, and offering advice and guidance when needed.
As Cincinnati’s Best Credit Union, we know how important family is. That’s why we protect your best interests so you can focus on protecting your family’s. As a GECU member, you’ll enjoy competitive rates on certificates and interest-earning accounts. Plus, access to Money Management and Investment Services, available through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (CFS),5 so you can plan and strategize for your family’s future. Live or work in the Tri-State? You can bank with us! Simply confirm your eligibility then apply for Credit Union membership online.