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5 Financial Tips for New Families

Update Wills and Life Insurance

Wills and life insurance policies, while not the most pleasant aspects of long-term financial planning, are nonetheless critical components of your new family's overall security.

You may already have addressed the "if I go early" parts of planning for the future when you found yourself in a long-term, committed relationship. Joint finances make these discussions pretty highly recommended, since one spouse's untimely death can have dire financial consequences on the surviving partner. If so, your new family requires just a few updates in these plans: considerations for your child in the will, and more life insurance.

If you haven't planned at all, these steps should now become one of the top entries on your to-do list. Without a will designating not only the beneficiaries of your estate but also what will happen to your child, someone else -- possibly the government -- will be making these decisions. And without life insurance to address the financial losses that result from your early demise, your family may find itself unable to pay the mortgage or even begin to cover the costs of higher education.

You can go online to buy life insurance and draft a will, or you can make an appointment with a lawyer or financial advisor. If you go the latter route, you'll be able to get customized advice on exactly what you need to include in your will and how much life insurance you need -- but you'll also be paying extra for that advice. The lower-cost (but less-precise) route is to seek advice through reliable online guides. You'll find free tips, guidelines and calculators that can help you decide what you need to do to make sure one devastating loss doesn't trigger a cascade of financial hardship.

Finally, some financial advice new parents can apply to every area of life ...