This post is sponsored by State Farm®
Have any of you all experienced the “Oh crap, I’m actually an adult and can’t keep sliding by” moment in one way or another? Or is that just me? Haha! Honestly, it really didn’t hit me until getting pregnant with Gwen that I should probably know things like what my insurance actually covers, if we were overpaying for it, and making sure we had an actual savings plan in place.
I’m even embarrassed to tell you that our version of “savings” was randomly throwing money into a dedicated account when we could. We knew we needed to shift from “getting by” to “being intentional” as much as we could (the financial unknowns of self-employment are REAL!) if we were going to be providing for a growing family and have any kind of mental peace or stability in prepping for our future.
For the sake of not seeming totally ignorant when we started inquiring on these things, I used a few different articles to understand the basics — like what to ask your agent and improving your financial literacy and budgeting tips.
We didn’t feel we needed to meet with someone whose only focus was financial planning, as we were starting to get on track (also, that just sounds expensive and intimidating, right?!) as we were starting to get on track, but we really wanted someone well versed in a variety of these areas to shoot us straight.
So, we planned sit-down meetings with our accountant that we use for Sugar & Cloth and personal accounts, and the insurance + financial planning advisor from our State Farm branch (we use Ryan Stegall if you’re in the Champions area, highly recommend!).
Despite the fact that I went into these meetings looking pretty ditzy, I was pleasantly surprised by how much more informed I felt after just one sit down dedicated to these things…
Things I Didn’t Know About Financial Planning Before Having a Family & What We Changed In Our Finances
YNAB?: One of the coolest online families around, The Mehlhoffs, introduced us to this one. It’s an app called You Need A Budget (YNAB) that you can connect to your online accounts to monitor spending and also “assign” a set amount of money to certain things. For instance, you can set an eating out budget at $100 and the app will automatically categorize spending for you so you can reference it before deciding whether you want to go out with friends or wait until your weekly budget renews.
It’s also just a really user-friendly app that isn’t ugly, haha!
Aside from my love for apps, these are some good tips on where to start for savings sans the mobile download.
Creative Ways to Use Life Insurance: I seriously had NO clue that life insurance wasn’t just used to provide a death benefit. Did ya’ll know and I’m just an idiot?!
I also had no idea that you could lock in rates for the remainder of your life based on your age. For instance, if I had gotten a life insurance policy for myself 8 years ago when I started Sugar & Cloth, it would’ve been a less expensive policy for the same amount of coverage than what it cost me to get one now. The same goes for Gwen, which is crazy!
And if you have any concern that your child could have future medical issues (based on family history, etc.), it’s a good idea to get them a life insurance policy now. That way, if they do have any medical issues or pre-existing conditions in the future, they’ll already have some life insurance locked-in.
Neither Jared nor I had life insurance previously, and with both of us being self-employed by the same company AND having a family relying on us, it’s something we desperately needed.
We both got whole life insurance policies since we rely heavily on each other as business partners and at the very least it can serve as a form of strategic planning for the future (that we may be able to borrow from the cash value, etc. if needed).
There are a lot of great options for life insurance, but we got ours through State Farm since we had all of our other insurance policies with them. We also got some great savings by combining the purchase of our policies through State Farm.
One more thing that’s great about life insurance, is that it’s a protected asset. So if someone were to sue you, they wouldn’t be able to touch the death benefit or the cash value associated with your life insurance policy.
Having an Umbrella Policy for grey area accidents: Not going to lie, literally didn’t know this phrase before getting schooled on coverage! Since we entertain and host events at our home a lot, it was important to us to make sure all of our assets were protected in the event of an unforeseen accident with people over!
There are a lot of things that fall under this category, and coverage is available when traveling, too. This is one that’s definitely a Q to ask about for your specific needs!
Personal Property Mishaps: We always thought that if something happens to one of our computers or cameras (which as you know, we definitely rely on around here!), our home insurance would cover them. What we didn’t know was that it would be almost pointless to use our coverage for those items because of how high our deductible is.
We learned that it could make better sense for us to replace some gear out-of-pocket than to use our insurance since we have to pay a $4,500 deductible on our home policy, and replacing our computer (for example) would only cost $3,500. Our home insurance will be there to cover larger losses.
So, we decided to get a “personal articles policy” to cover key personal-use items that are expensive but that we wouldn’t want to claim on our home insurance if something were to happen to them. This policy provides broader coverage for our things than our home policy does, which is awesome!
Retirement woes: This one is a bit of a doozy since it’s VERY relative to where you work and what your income is. Feel free to judge me for this, but we’re JUST NOW starting to take saving for retirement seriously.
To be candid, I kind of stumbled into entrepreneurship with Sugar & Cloth and the learning curve has been steep for how it affects my retirement. It’s safe to say this entire category is new to me!
Here are some great tips for maximizing retirement no matter where you work. For us, our goal is to get serious about our IRAs in addition to our life insurance policies that build cash value over time if we were to ever need it. Plus there are ways to help make your retirement savings go further.