May 2013 eNews

Catch up on the latest Starion news in our May 2013 Starion Financial eNewsletter.

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Planning financially for a new baby

There's no doubt about it: having a child is very expensive. On average, the cost of raising children far exceeds the average home price in the U.S., making having children the biggest investment most people will ever make.

Fortunately, most people don't base this important decision on financial issues alone, but it's smart to be prepared for the journey ahead. Here are a few tips to help you effectively manage your finances to accommodate your growing family:

  • Do you have maternity leave?
    Your household may have reduced income caused by time off for the pregnancy and birth. Check with your employer to see if you're covered by short-term disability insurance, which covers pregnancy. A typical policy will pay 60% to 70% of your gross income for approximately six weeks following the birth of your child, but there may be a waiting period so look into your plan well in advance.
  • Do you have a maternity leave “nest egg”?
    Even if you don't have disability insurance, your employer may be required to grant you time off under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), but they're not required to pay you during that time. Whether you'll receive salary or disability benefits or not, schedule out your expected income and expenses prior to baby and make sure you can make ends meet.
  • Make sure you know what to expect from your medical insurance coverage
    Pregnancy must be treated as any other medical condition, meaning it can't be excluded, but the general provisions of your policy will determine how much money you'll end up paying out of your own pocket. Consider deductibles, co-pays.
  • Do you contribute to a flexible spending account?
    If your employer offers a flexible spending account, it would be wise to put some money into it to cover unreimbursed medical costs. Before insurance, the average cost of a natural delivery is $7,737 with cesarean-sections costing $10,958 on average. When those medical bills arrive, you will be glad to have the pre-taxed flex money set aside.
  • Have you discussed childcare availability and expenses?
    Check out daycare providers well in advance of the birth of your child in order to find one that you feel comfortable with and that you can afford. It’s also possible to save some money by paying for childcare with a dependent care flexible spending account. This allows a parent to take pre-tax money directly out of a paycheck and move it to an account specifically set aside for paying the cost of childcare.
  • Start a “baby fund”
    As soon as you start thinking about having a baby, start a baby fund. You can almost guarantee that unexpected expenses for your little one will come up. Setting up an automatic transfer of a little money each pay period to a savings account will allow you to prepare for such expenses. A little can go a long way when it comes to kids.
  • Bargain hunt for baby supplies
    It's important to buy the best car seat, stroller, etc., to ensure your child's safety, but your baby will quickly outgrow many of the other items you'll buy, and paying full price is often a waste of money. Talk to friends, check stores that sell used goods, visit yard sales, etc. for some of these items. Your baby will never know the difference.
  • Review your current monthly budget
    To help you get a grip on the changes in your finances with the addition of a child, you'll need a budget. Once you've evaluated the costs and have come up with a plan to cover them, you can sit back and enjoy the idea of a new addition to your family.

Starting a family is an overall joyful and exciting experience. Eliminate some of the new-parent stress and enjoy more time with your new baby by getting your finances taken care of early on. Contact me for help getting your finances in line or starting a savings fund for your new bundle of joy.

Courtesy: http://financialplan.about.com/cs/familyfinances/a/CanYouAffordKid.htm

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Top coverage for local ag producers

Starion Insurance proudly offers both multi-peril insurance and crop hail insurance to area farmers. Our agents have strong family farming backgrounds and understand the needs of ag producers. Local farmers appreciate that:

  • Starion Insurance offers two companies for multi-peril insurance and three companies for crop hail insurance, which allows us to meet your unique needs with competitive premiums
  • Agents keep up-to-date with new and changing crop insurance developments
  • Starion Financial allows producers to have all of their financial and insurance needs met in one convenient location

We are dedicated to helping you get the insurance you need to protect your most valuable assets. Contact us today to find out if you could benefit from a comprehensive review of your current coverage.

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Mortgage bankers nationally recognized for superior service

We are proud to announce that two of our mortgage bankers at Starion Financial have been recognized nationally for their mortgage production. Jason Weber, who is located at our Middleton, WI, branch, made Mortgage Executive’s Top 200 Mortgage Originators list. To be eligible for consideration, originators must have had at least $30 million in loan volume or 100 closed home loans in the 2012 calendar year. Weber produced more than $83 million in loan volume and closed 330 loans in 2012.

We are also happy to announce that Lindsey Matter, located at our Mandan, ND, branch, made Mortgage Executive’s Top 1% of Mortgage Originators list. The minimum eligibility criterion for this list is a total “personal” production of at least $30 million in 2012. Matter produced more than $43 million and closed 206 loans in 2012.

Our mortgage department had an outstanding year overall, with more than $232 million in mortgage loans and 1,071 homes financed. Congratulations to Jason Weber, Lindsey Matter and the mortgage department for a successful 2012!

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Meet our experts

At the heart of Starion Financial is the team of hard-working individuals you see every time you enter the bank. We value their dedication to their customers, co-workers and communities. Get to know the experts in your community.

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Trivia

In the United States, how much does it cost to raise a child?

For a middle-income, two-parent family, the cost of raising a child from birth to age 18 is $226,920, on average. That’s up nearly 40%, or more than $60,000, from 10 years ago. Here’s the breakdown of where that money goes:

Clothing 6% $13,200
Health care 8% $18,420
Miscellaneous 8% $19,110
Transportation 14% $30,900
Food 16% $36,210
Childcare & education (not including college) 17% $39,420
Housing 31% $69,660
 
Courtesy: CNN Money
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