Life Stages Planning


Intro TBD

Whether you're a first time parent or a seasoned pro, there's always something new to discover. Having children teaches us that there will often be an element of the unexpected in life, but when you set your family up to handle those surprises, you're more likely to enjoy the perks of being a parent. They will throw plenty at you, so be prepared!

  Costs of Parenthood  

Many looming questions will inevitably arise when bringing a child into the world and transitioning into parenthood. How much will it cost to deliver the baby, or how much will it cost to stay in the hospital if a C-section is needed? Once the baby arrives, how much will I need to spend on baby clothes, food, and diapers? And the questions do not end there…

As the child grows older, there will, of course, be many more expenses that will likely grow in scope and price. For example, how do you save enough to cover daycare services, or how do you decide if a private school is in your budget? There are many questions to ponder—all the way through helping your kid(s) with college!

This is why we have created a benchmarking guide detailing the average costs associated with parenthood, which in turn will help parents better budget their household expenses.

Download Cost Guide >>

  Evaluating Health Insurance  




FSAs allow you to contribute pre-tax money from your paychecks and pay for medical expenses or dependent care. In addition, the full amount you intend to contribute over the year is available for your use immediately even if the year is not over.


You are required to spend what you put into the account within the “Benefit Period” (January 1st and ends March 15th of the following year) or lose the money you put in.

  Life & Disability Insurance  

To determine the appropriate amount of coverage, ask yourself these questions: 

What are my financial goals and obligations (i.e. mortgage college education, etc.)?

What financial resources are currently available?

In the event that you die, what will be the impact on your family’s financial position? Any gaps?

  Estate Planning  

Ensure accounts are titled properly:

  • Expedites transition of assets during a difficult time

  • Reduces probate cost to surviving spouse

  • Marital deduction allows the spouse to bypass paying the estate tax

    • ​Applies to estates greater than $11.49

  Retirement Accounts  



These accounts have tax advantages, allowing your contributions to reduce taxable income and grow tax deferred.


There are 401(k) contribution limits in place and exceeding the limit means you’ll be taxed on your savings when it’s time to withdraw them.



Traditional IRA

  • Uses pretax contributions, similar to a 401(k), and you are taxed when you use the money years down the road

  • Non-Deductible

  • After-tax contributions that grow tax deferred

  • Gains above original basis are subject to income tax when distributions commence

  • LIFO tax treatment with distributions

  • Gain portion of the IRA balance is Roth IRA taken out before invested monies

Roth IRA

  • You pay your taxes upfront, the contributions are allowed to grow tax-free and you can withdraw without worrying about taxation on the back end.

  • Disadvantages: Not everyone qualifies for a Roth IRA (there are income requirements). In addition, there are limitations on annual IRA contribution amounts based on particular factors, including your age and income.

  Saving for Higher Education 

529 Investment Savings Plan:

  • Proceeds can be used toward qualified educational expenses including tuition, room & board, and books

  • Funded with after-tax dollars that grow tax deferred

  • Growth can be withdrawn tax-free when used for qualified education expenses

  • Ability to reassign beneficiary

  • Anyone can contribute

  • 10% IRS penalty applies on growth withdrawn if not used for qualified education expenses


529 Pre-paid Tuition Plan:

This option allows you to “lock in” tuition costs today and avoid the annual tuition increases, which, according to the College Board, are growing at an average of 5% per year

UTMA/ UGMA Custodial Accounts:

  • Parents maintain control of assets until child reaches age of majority (18), but the child is the owner of the funds

  • Once child reaches 18 they have sole control of the money

    • Risk if not using the funds for college

  • Earnings taxed at child’s lower income tax rate

    • Kiddie tax is a potential unintended consequence

    • Capital gains and dividends taxed

    • Non-education spending is not subject to the 10% IRS penalty like 529 plans


Dual Purpose Savings Strategies:

Roth IRA

  • Good supplemental alternative, especially if other accounts are on target to satisfy retirement goals

  • Contributions can be withdrawn at any point without paying taxes or penalties

  • Earning grow tax deferred and can be withdrawn tax-free after 59 1/2

Brokerage account

After tax investments

  • Bonds subject to income tax

  • Stocks and equity funds subject to capital gains and dividends tax rates

  • Better flexibility

    • Funds can be earmarked for multiple purposes

    • Can repurpose the money without being “boxed in” (example: College scholarship reduces the need to fund education expenses)


Coverdell ESA:

  • Income limits apply to who is eligible to contribute

  • Contributions limited to $2,000 per year per beneficiary


Series EE Bonds:

  • Earnings avoid income taxation if bondholder made purchase after age 24, and income is at or below phase-out range



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