Financial Planning Considerations for 7 Major Life Events

  1. Retirement    Multigenerational family Lyman

It’s a fact that 10,000 Americans per day1 will continue turning 65 up until the year 2030. For the people who have money saved in, say, a 401(k), which is the most common retirement vehicle, you are facing stock market volatility which can have a devastating effect on your portfolio, along with rising interest rates which could devalue bonds, not to mention rates still hovering at around 2% on CDs, savings accounts and money markets.

Then there are RMDs (Required Minimum Distributions) that kick in at age 70-1/2, triggering taxation for many when they least expect it. There are Social Security and Medicare programs to navigate, as well as premium payments, out-of-pocket expenses, deductibles, co-pays and other costs for health care. There are long-term care costs not covered by Medicare which can bankrupt a healthy spouse, not to mention the financial chaos that can follow the death of a spouse when one Social Security check suddenly goes away.

Retirees and pre-retirees absolutely need financial planning to help mitigate retirement risks and create reliable retirement income designed to last throughout the 20 or 30 years+ they might spend in retirement.

  1. Weddings

Your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews or other beloved family members may be planning future nuptials, and you might want to help them out with wedding expenses (if not pay for everything!) With the average cost of a wedding topping more than $35,000,2 you should make sure that you and they have the financial means to pay for the type of event they desire.

Beyond the wedding, one of the best things you can do to get a marriage off to a strong start is to set up a meeting with a trusted family financial advisor. We can help newlyweds create financial goals,3 set up a budget, plan to get out of debt, purchase a home, invest for the future and protect each other with the right types of insurance. A comprehensive financial plan is a must for the savvy couple who want to get ahead in life, together.

  1. Birth of a Child

Is there anything more exciting than the birth of a new family member? Once again, it’s important to plan ahead for the cost of your new bundle of joy.

Keep in mind that grandparents are getting more involved in this. According to research done by Age Wave and Merrill Lynch, 62% of people4 over 50 years old are providing support to a family member, and 60% say it’s better to give money during their lifetime rather than waiting until end of life. You are probably one of them.

But the money required to pay for children is staggering. According to the Department of Agriculture, the average cost of a raising a child from birth through age 17 is $233,610.5 After that, there are college expenses to consider. The average cost of a bachelor’s degree ranges from $56,000-$194,000,6 depending on in-state vs. out-of-state, public vs. private university and whether or not housing and food are included.

  1. Death of a Spouse

The “what-if” conversation about the potential loss of a loved one is very difficult to have, but important to plan for. The potential risk of lost income is critical at every stage of life, for both spouses. It’s important to walk through all the hypothetical scenarios which could happen, and create a plan for financial protection.

  1. Divorce

As much as possible, make sure both of you—both spouses—are involved in financial decisions, and that you each understand what you have in terms of financial investments. Strive for balance in your communications, even if one spouse becomes the primary source of contact with your financial advisor.

If divorce does become inevitable, keep in mind that too many people, even the wealthy, think their divorce attorney understands how to get the best settlement for them. Often, these attorneys don’t understand the actual underlying financial impact of assets awarded. This is where a financial advisor’s expertise becomes critical.

But keep in mind that each party in the divorce7 should choose their own separate financial advisor if divorce is unavoidable.

  1. Inheritance

What could be the downside to an inherited pile of money? Well, for one thing, 90-95% of children who inherit immediately fire their parents’ financial advisors, according to Fidelity and the Institute for Preparing Heirs. And, unfortunately, this leaves many heirs squandering their windfall money on new cars, clothes, homes and vacations instead of paying off debts and investing to ensure their wealth lasts.

Don’t let this happen to your family. Start now—while you’re still here. Make sure the next generation understands what they will inherit and how to handle it by establishing regular, ongoing family meetings with your financial advisor.

  1. Medical Catastrophe

For both young and old, medical issues can be devastating. For instance, even if a younger person has group health insurance through their job, if a medical condition becomes disabling, they can lose their position and therefore their health coverage.

Losing access to necessary medical treatments is calamitous enough, but the depletion of the family finances can make things even worse.

For retirees, the cost of health care has skyrocketed, the average couple over 65 years old will need an estimated $285,0008 throughout their retirement to cover Medicare premiums, deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses—and costs are expected to increase along with life expectancy. Additionally, there’s a high chance that at some point one spouse will need long-term care in a nursing facility, especially in cases of Alzheimer’s or dementia. If there is not a plan in place for this, the family could be forced to try to qualify for Medicaid, mandating a spend-down of assets, and effectively bankrupting the surviving spouse—while leaving nothing for heirs.

Your financial plan is a critical part of protecting your family from the financial risk of catastrophic illness.


Call Alpha Beta Gamma Wealth Management at (866) 837-0999 prior to, during, or after any major life event.

We can help with personalized financial planning and retirement planning while recommending strategies to help protect your family from financial risks.


1 “Baby Boomers Retire,” (accessed April 23, 2019).
2 “Here’s what Americans are spending on weddings,” (accessed April 23, 2019).
3 “6 Essential Financial Planning Tips for Newlyweds,” (accessed April 23, 2019).
4 “What Grandparents Should Know About Paying for College,” (accessed April 23, 2019).
5 “Parents save up: It costs this much to raise a kid,” (accessed April 23, 2019).
6 “Trends in College Pricing 2018,” (accessed April 23, 2019).
7 “Why Your Divorce Lawyer Can’t Protect Your Finances,” (accessed April 23, 2019).
8 “How to plan for rising health care costs,” (accessed April 24, 2019).