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Posted by Danielle Harvey on 16 December 2020
Zoe Bailey, Chartered Financial Planner and Director at Tilney comments on the next steps after your wedding when it comes to financial planning for life's milestones: "Major life events like moving to a new home, renovating your current one, or starting or adding to your family are exciting milestones but they do need careful planning. Putting a savings plan in place can help you meet your life goals as you reach each important stage of your life together," she says.
Rebuild your emergency cash fund for unknown expenditure
While you might have built up a cash fund before your wedding, there are always those unknown expenditures that come up in the weeks leading up to it that may have depleted this. Now is the time on refocusing on building this back up again. I would advise you target at least 3 to 6 months basic expenditure. This will increase your peace of mind and enable you to be prepared for any future costs to your household, family or car, and unforeseen costs. From buildings insurance to car servicing and right through to home repairs, these costs can really add up and if you're not financially prepared, could end up impacting your lifestyles. Putting aside money each month into your cash fund, reserved for these additional payments will help you plan better for the long-term.
Planning for house renovations
For those not looking to buy a new property, you may instead want to renovate, rather than upping and moving your lives elsewhere. And with so many of us now having to work at home regularly, it's never been more essential to have space that you love to work and live in comfortably. Thanks to a recent small change in the planning system, homeowners are now able to add extensions on of their homes without the need for planning permission, allowing construction of up to two additional storeys to houses consisting of at least two floors, and one additional storey to bungalows. 1 This new rule will only apply to detached homes, and those built between 1948 and 2018. Before embarking upon a home renovation, you first and foremost need to work out how much it is going to cost – including additional fees like design work, structural engineers or insurance, depending on the scale of your project. Click here to find out more.
Planning to grow your family
Family planning is an important stage in many people's lives and preparing financially is an essential part of this. There are a few ways that you can get your finances in order, including finding out how much maternity/ paternity pay you will receive in your current job. Once you know this, you need to work out your monthly expenditure, and depending on how much time you wish to take off, the shortfall. You and your partner should jointly save for this shortfall, not just the partner who is taking maternity leave. It's important to have this shortfall on top of your cash fund so that you also have this financial buffer of at least three to six months' basic expenditure for emergencies before or when your baby arrives. Once baby arrives, you might also want to think about how you will invest in your child's future, which could involve setting up a Junior ISA – a savings account which remains tax-free until your child turns 18 – or even a pension. You parents may wish to contribute as well. Speaking to a financial planner can help you forecast your future finances and work out how much money can you afford to save each month without affecting your lifestyle.
Planning for a big trip away
Now that you're happily married, it's exciting to think about the big trips away and adventures that you and your partner can plan – be it for your honeymoon or otherwise! Covid-19 has given most of us a break from travel, perhaps giving you the chance to build up more savings where you would ordinarily spend it on holidays, family days out, restaurant trips, and so on. If you do have your eye on a big trip abroad in 2021 or perhaps 2022, it's wise to start saving for it now so it doesn't come as a sudden hit to your bank balance. Discuss with your partner how much you're willing to spend on the whole trip, including flights, accommodation, insurance, and daily expenditure when you're there, and set a goal to put aside money each month into a savings account, perhaps setting up a joint savings account. Christmas presents this year could even be contributions towards this for each other. You'll watch the money grow and be in a better position to splash out when the time does come to book your trip. Importantly, include a contingency fund if affordable. It will also then be less likely for your honeymoon to spill over onto credit cards, and ensure you don't return home with any debt or negative feelings about the amazing time you have just spent together.
Planning for school fees
If you've decided to send your child to an independent school, or are planning to do so in their future, you'll need to work out how you'll fund it. The average term fee for a senior day private school is now £5,009, or £15,027 a year2, and don't forget on top of this there are extra costs for trips, clubs, music lessons, uniforms and sports kits. Cashflow modelling with a financial planner can help to build a complete picture of your finances now and in the future. They can use this information to realistically estimate your future expenditure, and if done plenty of time in advance, what the income shortfall is likely to be and therefore how much you need to save in the time before your child starts at school. From there, you can make a more informed decision, begin new investment decisions to build this savings plan, or speak to family members about possible financial support.
2. Independent Schools Council Annual Census 2019