FINANCIAL FOCUS: Growing families should consider these financial moves

Published: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 09:31 PM.

Try to build an emergency fund containing six months’ living expenses. Put the money in a liquid account so you can access it quickly and without penalty.

Research options for a special needs child. You may want to explore available government benefits and consider speaking with an attorney about your legal options.

Consider disability insurance. You may want to purchase disability insurance, or review your current policy, to ensure your family’s needs are covered if you become ill or disabled and cannot work for a while.

Review your life insurance. It’s essential that you maintain adequate life insurance to cover your family’s future financial needs, including education costs. While your employer may offer you a group policy, it might not be sufficient to keep up with your growing family.

There’s no one “formula” for determining the appropriate amount of life insurance, but a professional financial advisor can review your family situation and recommend suitable coverage.

Save for college. Given higher education's high costs, it’s never too soon to start putting away money for college. You may want to consider a tax-advantaged account, such as a 529 plan, which offers high contribution limits and provides you with the flexibility to switch beneficiaries, if necessary.

Review or add beneficiary designations. You may want to change or add beneficiaries to your IRA, 401(k), life insurance, annuities and other accounts.

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