Even while my daughter was still in the hospital, I was already doing lots of little things to prepare for her future. I found that, just as with my son, my immediate instinct when holding that little baby in my arms was to protect her and make sure her world was as safe as possible. Here’s what I did.
I started a 529. I actually did this a bit before she was born, but the account was actually in my name with me as the beneficiary. I already have the paperwork ready to transfer it to her name so that the account is completely hers.
I gave her a “birthday present” in her 529. This was similar to what I did with our son – I put a little dollop of seed money into that 529 very close to her birthday. This little bit of money will grow for almost two decades before she’ll use it. I use College Savings Iowa to manage the 529s – it’s managed by Vanguard and has some solid investment options.
I added her to our life insurances. She and our son are now equal secondary beneficiaries on the insurance. If something happens to me and my wife, I want her to receive half of the life insurance money in a trust (the other half goes to my son). This way, even though we wouldn’t be able to be there for them all the way along, we would at least be able to help them a bit financially as they enter adulthood.
I started paperwork rolling to change our health insurance significantly. Before she was born, I studied our health insurance options and found that switching us all to a family plan after the birth of our child was a very financially effective move – it put me on better insurance and, amazingly, the price actually went down slightly for all four of us versus our setup with just the three of us.
I deposited a handful of dollar coins into her piggy bank. Over the last year, I got a big pile of the new dollar coins and have been using them with my son to introduce the idea of money. Both of our children have a piggy bank, and to give her a little start, I deposited some dollar coins into her bank. This will give her some change to jingle in a year or two when I go through the same process with her.
What else? The other things I did to prepare for her coming home were non-financial but numerous. It’s amazing all of the things that needed to happen before she arrived home. One big tip: if your parents are offering to come to help out, take them up on it. They were invaluable.