Money is a touchy subject! Which is why I’m not really going to talk about money, but rather the planning around money.
Brian and I didn’t really have the luxury of choice when it came to the decision for me to return to work. Luckily, I feel it is turning out for the best right now. I have my adult time, and my Jameson time. Right now this works. And I’m starting a new job, which is exciting for me! Luckily, with me going back to work, we now also have the luxury of some disposable (read: invest-able) income. The question then becomes, what actually should we do with it.
There are so many options, and after meeting with our new financial adviser yesterday, I’ve come to realize it’s pretty dang complicated too. There is life insurance, Roth IRAs, 401Ks (which, we have to confess, we haven’t paid much attention to), there’s college savings, and the myriad of other possible investment options…
We had to come prepared with a ton of documents too. And I have even simplified this list.
- Stock stuff (including Brian’s random stock he bought some time ago to fiddle with… hmmm not sure I remembered that haha)
- Current 401K info. Did you know the financial adviser will recommend your investments through work? I guess I didn’t really think about that. We should’ve gone to one a long time ago!
- Bank checking & savings account statements, savings bonds
- Life insurance summary of coverage/annual statements (this is also great. Again, I didn’t know that the financial adviser would be able to help with life insurance in combination with what we have through work)
- Home mortgage loan
- Most recently completed federal and state tax returns
- Most recent work W-2 and 1099 forms
- Completed Monthly Budget Worksheet and a questionnaire to help us determine how much risk in our investments we were willing to make, and we got to fill that out separately (the financial adviser gave us pre-homework to do!)
So at this point, the adviser is going to his own homework and we’re meeting again next week to do some of the actual dirty work of making progress on decisions. A couple hard questions he asked us:
- He asked how much we wanted to leave in our savings. Brian said 6-9 months of what we need per month (see that Monthly Budget Worksheet we had to do came in handy). We found how how much money that was, and it was about 3 times the amount that I personally thought it was. Apparently that is a critical decision we need to make prior to taking money away in investments you can’t touch. I guess that makes sense.
- He told us, assuming that we invest at a rate that matches college tuition increases, we will need to put $600 a month away for like 22 years to pay for one kid to go to college. (this is the part were we started talking about how awesome my parents were. Seriously, mom and dad if you’re reading this, he totally said that you guys must be great and that you raised me well :))
I guess most people don’t think of talking to your financial adviser before making a decision like moving, or having a parent stay at home… but I’m pretty sure he’s now an integral part of our decision-making process.
It did take us about 2 years to schedule this appointment (to be fair… we got married, moved, had a baby…). Next step: getting a living will. And not 2 years down the road. What is it about having a baby that makes you think of all the scary stuff?