By: Laura F. Kelly
We all want only the best for our children and grandchildren. In the months before your new one arrives, you’ll select a crib, stroller and probably a few toys and books. But did you know you can start saving for your child’s college education before he even arrives? Now is the perfect time to plan for your child’s future. Following are a few steps you can take to help ensure a solid financial foundation for your new family.

Consider a tax-advantaged 529 investment plan and/or a Coverdell Education Savings Account for education savings. The 529 plans allow you to accumulate as much as $305,000. These plans allow you to accumulate as much as $305,000 per child and not pay taxes on the earnings. All 50 states offer them, so the choices can be overwhelming. But, you can open a plan early as most will give you up to six months to add a Social Security number. The Coverdell Account works much like a Roth IRA and can be used for elementary and secondary school expenses. It allows you to make an annual non-deduction contribution to a specially designated investment trust account which can grow free from federal income taxes.

Check out the popular Upromise program. This college savings program, with over three million members, allows you to earn money towards college by simply shopping and eating out at restaurants. In addition, you can sign grandparents and other friends and family up to earn even more. Go to for more information.

Buy life insurance. It’s best to talk to a professional about which type and how much, but most insure themselves for at least six to eight times the amount of their gross annual salary.

Write a will or living trust. While this important step is often overlooked, it’s best to have your wishes in writing concerning your child’s welfare and your assets.

Ask for all FMLA paperwork now. Call our Human Resources department and ask for all related paperwork if you’re planning on taking time off. Be sure to turn it in as soon as possible. The FMLA entitles any new parent to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave.

Get the paperwork now to add your baby to your health care coverage. Most health insurance companies allow new parents just 30 days after delivery to add their newborn to their policy. This is an easy step to forget in those sleep-deprived days (and sometimes weeks!) after your baby arrives.

Continue to add to your retirement savings. I know it’s tough with all the new expenses, but you can’t forget about your own retirement. Recently, our deferred comp contribution amount increased. And, if your spouse is going to leave the workforce for a year or more check out a special retirement plan known as a spousal IRA. The IRS allows a nonworking spouse to set aside up to $3,000 a year and to deduct the amount from the family’s taxable income.


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