Do you ever wish you could have a do-over?
Given the opportunity perhaps there is some moment you would handle differently.
I have many, and I tend to dwell on my regrets as if their memory will keep me from making mistakes in the future. Regret is a poor teacher.
A particular regret I have is my reaction after my wife told she was pregnant for the first time. I was leveled by worry. I thought I lacked the ability to care for a child and wasn’t prepared financially.
I put on my best smile and feigned a sense of excitement, but my wife saw right through me. Neither my worries nor my acting improved much over the next few months.
When the baby arrived, my fears dissipated in a matter of moments. My initial worries may have been justified, but I assumed I would be the same person after the baby was born. Not even close, I was a new being.
As I reflect on my worries and what has helped alleviate them I can identify three things that had the largest impact on easing my mind. I wish I would have known before that proper action is the best medicine for worry.
The first thing I did was estate planning.
Many people erroneously believe estate planning is for the wealthy. Not so.
We created a trust, will and a few other documents that are necessary for a good estate plan. If something happened to my wife and me, we knew exactly who would be raising our children and where.
The second thing we did was to buy life insurance. Like many young families, we didn’t have much. I didn’t want to leave my children and those who would be raising them with nothing.
Term life insurance is cheap, especially when you are young. For the price of a cellular phone contract, I could ensure that my children would have everything they needed.
Finally, we started saving for college.
The amount we could afford to save at first probably wouldn’t have covered books, but we started. Over time, that amount has increased. Too many parents don’t start because they don’t think they will be able to pay for it all.
All or nothing thinking is rarely helpful in finances or anything else in life. The key is to get started.
If a formal education isn’t a big priority, save anyway. There will be things as a parent you will want to provide. Expensive events are on the horizon.
If you made a list of all the good things you should do to prepare to have children, you would never be able to accomplish it all.
It is vital then to do those things which are the most important. The three things listed above are a great place to start.