Wealth column: 3 life events that can change your finances


Picture this: You're at the hospital. You and your loved ones are hovering around the nursery window staring down at the newest member of your family.

She is tiny, sleepy and perfect. One of your first thoughts is that you want to protect and provide for her as she grows up.

Down the hall, another family is saying goodbye to a grandparent who has lived a long, happy life. They will soon be thinking about how to move on.

Now, an altogether different scenario. You're packing up the final boxes from your desk. Your

coworkers have just thrown you a farewell party at the office as you say goodbye to working. You're thinking about your upcoming vacation to celebrate this new stage in your life.

All of these scenarios make a big impact on people emotionally, and they have equally substantial financial ramifications. Here are our tips for being prepared for these three life events that can change your finances.

Welcome home, baby!

Welcoming a newborn into your fold is one of the most exciting times in a family's journey, no matter if it's your first born or 10th grandchild. And every time, that beautiful baby comes with a hefty price tag.

From the thousands of diapers she'll go through, to the costs of childcare, all the way to the price of her college education, it'll take careful planning to make sure that little girl is fully prepared for a happy, successful life.

Taking advantage of a health savings account or flexible spending account can help parents set aside tax-free money to cover health care and day care expenses early on. If you're hoping to help pay for a new baby's future education, it's worthwhile to consider setting up a qualified tuition plan, otherwise known as a 529 plan, early on to take advantage of compounding interest that can build throughout her life. These tools can help you prepare ahead of time, and are tax-efficient to help you out in the moment.

Death of a loved one

Experiencing the loss of a parent, spouse or child is one of the hardest things a person can go

through. Without planning for the worst case scenario, you may have to deal with the stress of sorting out your loved one's finances, on top of grieving their loss.

To avoid additional hassles during an already-trying time, make sure you and your family are prepared with adequate insurance policies and estate planning methods. Talk to your financial adviser about getting your estate plans in order, as well, so that you don't burden your family with extra stress if something should happen to you.

Hello, freedom!

Ahh, retirement. A time for vacations, relaxation and the freedom to do what you want, when you want. But how will you afford to pay for all of your new favorite hobbies and projects without a paycheck?

Before saying goodbye to the office for good, make sure you're saving enough in your 401(k), individual retirement account or other retirement savings funds. Then, when it's time to start withdrawing that money, work with your financial adviser to make sure you are withdrawing the right amount in the most tax-efficient way possible. Your financial adviser can help you keep more of your money and help you to enjoy the lifestyle that you want, at every stage.