One of the top reasons many people put off estate planning is because they do not believe they are old enough to begin worrying about what will happen upon their deaths. People who are relatively young, healthy, and in good shape would rather not concern themselves with who will take care of their children upon their deaths or who will receive their assets. Indeed, younger people may have estates that will be insolvent for many years. They worry about whether their parents have created an estate plan even when they do not have one.
However, parents ought to encourage their children to have some sort of estate plan once they reach their majority, albeit not likely a complex plan. Particularly when children are going away to college, having certain documents in place may be useful if something unfortunate happens to the student. Universities are breeding grounds for diseases, especially meningitis, and accidents. An Advance Healthcare Directive can help you access medical records and make medical decisions if necessary. Similarly, a Financial Power of Attorney can allow you to take care of bills and manage finances in the event the student is temporarily incapacitated.
In addition to making your children generally prepared for a surprise accident, it may also promote financial and estate awareness. Like many other activities in life, beginning early and creating good habits makes it easier to continue in the future. If young adults become comfortable with the idea of having an estate plan appropriate to their level, the process will be less intimidating when they ultimately marry, have children, and eventually begin looking toward retirement and Medi-Cal planning.
In addition to estate planning, general financial planning is increasingly important for young adults. Ongoing budget constraints in the government continue to threaten the health of Social Security and Medicare for future generations. As a result, saving for retirement will be especially important for young people. The earlier retirement saving begins, the more time it has to create exponential growth in the future. A 25 year old who begins saving $3,000 per year for 10 years with an 8% annual return will have $472,000 at retirement. However, if the same person begins saving the same amount with the same rate of return at 35, even after putting money away for 30 years (instead of 10), will only accumulate $367,000! Speaking to your young adult children about meeting future financial goals and planning can make a significant difference for their later life!
Similarly, life insurance premiums for young adults are generally very inexpensive. Term insurance plans can cover unexpected funeral and burial costs if needed. Whole life plans, while generally more expensive, can cover unexpected expenses but also may create an asset for your child when he or she is older. Estate planning should be a lifelong process, but many people delay completing their plan until later in life. However, by planning early and updating often, you can help ensure a lifetime of financial security for yourself and your children!
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