As we all move through our lives, we work towards certain milestones to further ourselves as individuals. Goals the majority of us wish to achieve, such as buying our first homes and getting married, are common events we are likely to face in our lives. Unfortunately, it is one of life’s certainties that we will also experience some not so positive milestones, such as the death of a family member.
These milestones also come with a high associated cost, which is generally why they are goals we all reach for. These events show we have our lives together and want to celebrate or grow in the best ways necessary. Fortunately, with a bit of research and budgeting, once these life events roll around for you, you’ll be more than financially ready for them.
Financially preparing for university
Choosing to continue your study in a chosen field after high school is an option that is extremely tempting for most people. It leads to better-paying jobs in the future, learning valuable life skills and the chance to explore your field of interest in detail. University is expensive, which is why it is not uncommon across the world for parents to start funds for their children’s future university or college education.
If you haven’t had the benefit of a trust fund, there are ways you can get rid of student debt faster once you need to start paying it back. Making extra payments when you can, paying off interest and refinancing when you have a steady job ensure you can minimize your student debt faster. You might even consider working two jobs or a full and part-time job for extra money to get those repayments down sooner.
Financially preparing for buying your first home
Buying your first home is an exciting event that can also be very nerve-wracking. There’s a lot of money exchanging hands, worry as to whether you’ll be able to make the repayments or not, and, in some cases, going way over budget on renovations. It’s well known that the real estate business is an expensive game, but if you play your cards right, paying off your first home can be more accessible than you think.
You can get ahead financially if you make sure you’re buying a house that’s within your budget, regularly checking and actively improving your credit history, and saving cash for a down deposit where you can. These are all fantastic ways to ensure your home buying experience is a positive one.
Remember, the more you pay upfront, the less you’ll have to pay off. Look over your budget and identify areas where you can cut costs, even temporarily to put towards your new dream home.
Financially preparing for marriage
The average wedding costs around $15,000 - $20,000, with some couples even going into debt for years to pay for their absolutely perfect day. It seems that vendors tack on 10 - 20% as soon as they hear the word ‘wedding’!If your wedding day is the big goal you’re working towards, saving upfront (even before a proposal) will give you a better chance of not ending up in debt in the future. Research and shopping around for better prices is good practice for every wedding, and it’s generally found that many wedding specialists are ready to help lower the price if you are straightforward with them.
Maintaining good credit will give you a better chance of being able to secure a loan to pay for your wedding, should you need to. Asking friends and family to give money towards the wedding after the proposal is another way to keep your expenses in order.
Financially preparing for moving overseas
Goodbye hometown, hello new home across the globe. Some of us are born to roam, and moving overseas is a common major goal and massive expense for many of us. Fortunately, there are some on-the-go ways to help fund your big move, such as narrowing your personal possessions down to the bare necessities and selling off what you can from the rest. Putting your items in storage at a friend or family’s place will save you a monthly fee from a storage locker, and give you peace of mind that your belongings are safe.
Moving overseas, like other big life events, requires forward planning and actively saving towards your goal. Establish your flight costs, storage costs, shipping costs, the cost of moving into a new house and ensuring you have enough funds to cover your living expenses if you are looking for employment in your new location. Once you have this figure, start adding any extra funds you earn or cut some activities out of your life to save money for a limited time. A beer at the pub every night costs roughly $7, which is nearly $50 a week that could be going into your overseas move fund.
Financially preparing for death
Death is an unfortunate part of life, with an even more unfortunate price tag. With the average funeral costing $10,206, this is generally an expense that our families won’t be able to just pay on the spot. With the added stress of debt to the grieving process, without prior planning, a death in the family can end up being paid for years to come.
Looking into funeral insurance is the best way to make sure you’ve got money aside to cover your own or an immediate family member’s funeral. You can choose a funeral plan based on your budget and add the payments to your expenses for each month.
Saving towards life milestones is a personal process, with each of us putting a different value on what is important to us in our lives. Whilst pre-planning is the best option, we all know that this isn’t always possible. Having a contingency or back-up plan should your financial plans fall through ensures you’ve always got that safety net when the unexpected happens.
Saving towards a bigger goal might mean sacrificing some current comforts, and setting a clear vision in your mind of achieving your dreams will make the end product all the more worth it.