Family Finances: Educational, Estate, and Investment Planning

Today’s Wisdom:

Financial planning doesn’t just give a sense of security, it also ensures your family is taken care of as well. On this episode, Joel answers nearly a dozen questions from listeners that all pertain to some aspect of family finances. 

Want to save time? Click the timestamps below to jump ahead to specific spots in the episode.

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What You’ll Learn:

The reason most people take that first step to put together a financial plan is to make sure their loved ones won’t have to worry later in life. It takes a lot of time and effort, but giving your family financial security is well worth the sacrifice.

On this episode of Money Wisdom, we dip into the mailbag to answer as many questions we can about financial topics that affect your family. There are three main categories we’ll cover: planning for educational funding, leaving a legacy, and general investment planning.

Education

As parents know, paying for your children to go to college is one of the most expensive things you’ll plan for over the course of your life. The earlier you can begin setting money aside, the better off you’ll be.

Which takes us to our first question: Is the 529 plan the best vehicle for saving money? It’s definitely Joel’s favorite way to save because you can grow your money tax-free if it’s used on an education expense, you can change your beneficiary anytime, and you can take your money back (with taxes) if you no longer need it for education.

The next questions asks about the value of private college tuition versus an in-state school. You might end up paying five or six times the amount for college but is the return worth it? We’ll share our thoughts and provide perspective from past clients.

And finally, should you sacrifice your own retirement to keep your children out of debt? With more and more people having children later in life, this is a decision many will have to make. Joel typically leans towards taking care of yourself first and he’ll talk about why on the show.

Leaving a Legacy

This isn’t always going to be a priority for people, but if a legacy is important to you, then proper planning needs to take place. Today we have two questions relating to estate planning and the first asks about a trust. If you’re looking to create on generational wealth, putting a trust in place can help you do that.

The second question is how to handle the deed to a home. Does it makes sense to sign your home over to a child before you go into a nursing home? Would that protect the asset in the event you run out of money? Joel will give his thoughts on that question.

Investment Planning

The last category of topics today fall under general investment planning. The first family-related topic deals with re-marrying. As a person gets older in age, they have generally developed financial independence and have accumulated their own wealth. It makes it a little trickier when you’re trying to determine whether to combine your finances or keep things separate.

No surprise that we also got a couple questions about how much money you should have in cash along with figuring out how much you’ll need for retirement income. It’s always great to address these topics again so join us for a refresher on these two planning items.

[0:19]Mailbag Question 1: I always assumed I’d send my kids to an in-state college but my daughter is interested in a private school that costs six times as much. It’s hard for me to justify that kind of expense for an education.

[4:43] Mailbag Question 2: This is a second marriage for me and my husband. We file a joint tax return but keep all other financial matters separate. Is that okay or should we be doing something different?

[6:53] Mailbag Question 3: Is there a better way to save for college rather than pumping money into a 529 plan?

[8:23] Mailbag Question 4: My wife is significantly younger than me and I’m guessing she’ll outlive me by at least 10 years. Do I need to get life insurance to take care of her when I’m gone?

[10:10] Mailbag Question 5: I had kids later in life than most people. I’m almost 60 and my twin boys are heading to college in a few months. I want them to finish college without any huge student loans but I’m not sure I can pay for both without hurting myself financially. Which should I place a higher priority on?

[11:30] Mailbag Question 6: I’m thinking about having my mom sign my house over to me in case she goes into the nursing home and runs out of money. Is this a smart move?

[12:27] Mailbag Question 7: My brother tells me I have too much money in the bank. It makes me feel better to have it there in case of emergency. Is that really so bad?

[14:14] Mailbag Question 8: I read recently about a family that set up a complicated set of trusts. Our family is interested in creating some sort of generational wealth. What’s the best way to do it?

[16:27] Mailbag Question 9: I’m about to get married. It’s my second and her third. I want to keep all of our assets separate but how do we plan for retirement that way?

[17:40] Mailbag Question 10: We’ve never lived on a budget and my husband is very resistant to that in retirement. Without a budget, how can we be sure we don’t run out of money?

[19:40] Mailbag Question 11: I’m retired and my husband needs to retire but he refuses to walk away from work. Any suggestions to convince him that we’ll be fine?

Thanks for listening to this episode. We’ll be back again next week for another show.

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Final Thoughts:

“A 529 plan is my favorite way to save for college.

You have control of the money while it’s growing, you can choose the beneficiary, and if you have to take it back, you can take it back.”

– Joel Johnson, Money Wisdom Podcast

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