Family and Finances: The Working Mom Balancing and Saving Act

Juggling family schedules is hard, but saving and investing should be simpler.

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As a mom, you aren't just involved with keeping the family on track and managing the household’s calendar of events. Often, mom is also in charge of the family budget.

Even if you’re not the main financial planner for your family, becoming personally involved in family finances can help you feel more financially secure. That’s according to the 17th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey of American workers, from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.

Balancing family and finances takes a lot of work. And although we might not be able to help you juggle getting everyone to recitals and rehearsals, here are some ideas to help streamline the financial part of the equation.

Keep Your Eye on the Goal

In your family life, a goal is when your son or daughter kicks a soccer ball into the net. But in your financial life, the term has a different meaning.

Financial goals should include both short-term and long-term goals. Short-term goals might start with liquid savings like an emergency fund to tap in case of unexpected expenses. Short-term goals might also include those larger purchases you're considering a year or two down the road.

And then there's the long-term side—retirement, college education, and other expenses that may be a number of years or even decades away.  

These goals require planning, and planning takes time. But so does preparing for that presentation at work. And the kids can't drive themselves home from practice. Goal planning and investing often gets placed on the back burner. Besides, the front burner is busy boiling pasta for dinner.

A Digital Assistant?

Tom Casey, senior manager, guidance product management at TD Ameritrade, says Essential Portfolios, an automated investing solution from TD Ameritrade Investment Management, LLC, can be a way to help working parents gain an idea of their financial goals and how to purse them.

"With Essential Portfolios, an investor can get a recommendation for a managed portfolio online after answering a few questions," says Casey. He says the automated solution can be especially useful for busy professionals as they eye current and future goals, such as buying a home, saving for a child’s education, and retirement.

Just pick a goal—like one of those shown in figure 1 below—follow the prompts, answer a few questions, and the platform will reveal the likelihood of reaching your goal, and offers change suggestions to help you get back on track.. Once you sign up, TD Ameritrade Investment Management provides ongoing management of your model portfolio, leaving you free to juggle the other thousand things on your to-do list.

Essential Portfolios Overview

FIGURE 1: PICK A GOAL, ANY GOAL.

Essential Portfolios guides you through questions that establish individual risk tolerance, target timing, and other relevant facts that help identify a recommended portfolio. Image source: TD Ameritrade Investment Management, LLC.


Play the Bucket Game

We all have bucket lists—those boxes we want to tick at some point in our lives. With Essential Portfolios, you can set the parameters for each bucket item. And you can involve the entire family as well, by naming individual goals and tracking your progress toward reaching each goal. Many moms would agree that teaching good money habits—such as setting and working to achieve those goals—can be a valuable life lesson for the family.

You can also use Essential Portfolios to create investment vehicles for the children, like Coverdell accounts to help pay for education, or accounts under the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act/Uniform Gifts to Minors Act. Children can access the UTMA/UGMAs when they reach the age of majority, and use those to expand savings, Casey says.

And what's more fun than that, aside from, maybe, a ballet recital, ball game, or swim meet?

Automated Investment Solution

Essential Portfolios uses technology in an interactive user experience to help you pursue your financial goals.

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