I’m not sure about you guys, but talking about money in any capacity always used to bring up a lot of anxiety for both Zack and I. We’ve worked hard to navigate our way through these feelings as a couple over the last twelve years. We found ways to create budgets, spoke openly about our finances and planned for the near future together the best we knew how.
While we were able to establish a strong foundation financially through these conversations and our life experiences, we knew it was time to take our financial planning one step further after we became parents over two years ago. We dragged our feet a bit after Owen was born, but this summer we finally had our first official conversation with a financial advisor based in New York.
For those of you who are thinking, “I don’t have enough money in the bank for anyone to advise me on my spending or saving” or “If I tighten up my budget anymore, I’ll officially never be able to go out and enjoy myself”, you’re not alone.
When I initially set up a call with Krystin Boylan, our now financial advisor, my palms were sweaty and my heart was racing. I also do this awkward laugh when I’m super uncomfortable and I’m pretty sure I busted that right out after I told Zack we had a call scheduled with a financial advisor. I felt vulnerable and nervous to share our finances with someone, but, within five minutes into my call with Krystin, my palms stopped sweating, my heart returned to a normal pace and luckily no awkward laughing worked its way into our conversation. After chatting with her for thirty minutes I felt relieved and hopeful about our finances as freelancers for the first time since we ventured out on our own.
Since our initial conversation we’ve chatted a couple other times so that her and her team could put together a unique plan that best suited our family. A few weeks ago we finally had the chance meet face to face over coffee and run through our plan together. Here’s what I’ve learned from working with Krystin.
1. Have some system for managing your budget. To be totally honest before we hired a financial advisor we just had a google sheet with our income and expenses mapped out, but at least it was something. I’ve since learned about some of the tremendous tools available out there with sites like Mint.com and YNAB.com (You Need a Budget) and have realized that ultimately, it’s just important that you have some way of tracking what money is coming in and out of your household. Krystin works hard to combine the modern resources like these sites and her wealth of knowledge to guide you and your family toward managing your budget the best you can.
2. Establish an emergency fund. If you want the truth, after our travels and crazy year, we’re still working on having a larger chunk of money in the bank for emergencies, but what’s important is that we’re making it a priority. We recognize, as freelancers and parents just how necessary it is to be prepared for the worst case scenario. Krystin suggests having six months-worth of expenses liquid to help provide peace of mind and to assist you and your family in through those rougher patches. It’s going to take some time for us to get to a full six months, but it’s a goal of ours for sure.
3. It’s never too early to set up life insurance. Talking about life insurance is emotional for both Zack and I considering we’re in the early years of our families journey. It’s painful to think about anything happening to either of us, but ultimately it’s our responsibility to care for Owen regardless of what happens. In order to do so, it’s crucial that we have some life insurance in place. Krystin made a good point in our meeting – we all take extra special care to ensure our cars, homes and phones, yet so many of us fail to set up life insurance. There are plenty of affordable options available out there too and it’s at least worth exploring.
4. Start saving for your kids education and your retirement as early as possible – even if it’s just a little bit! The idea of saving for college for Owen and especially retirement for Zack and I sounds so far fetched and distant, but after moving through our plan it was clear that it’s so much better to start saving now – even if it’s just a little bit! Since your money grows with interest, you’re better off starting early with a little bit than waiting until you think you’ll be able to save more.
5. Work with a financial planner! Guys, when Zack and I first started chatting about speaking with Krystin we thought we were fooling ourselves. Since so few people we know are actually speaking openly about their finances, I felt like these services were reserved for the rich and famous. Wrong. Would you have guessed that more often than not you can work with a financial planner at no cost to you? By working with a financial planner you essentially have a financial coach to give you advice, educate you on what your options are and to be an accountability partner. Krystin and her team serve families both within New York and outside of the city through phone calls and even FaceTime or Skype. To schedule an appointment with her, click here, or visit Krystin’s site to learn more about how her and her team
can help you and your family ensure financial security.
This post was sponsored by Krystin Boylan.
Photography by Amy Frances.