Prince William and Kate have just a few more days — maybe even hours — before they join the ranks of spit-up covered, zombie-eyed, sweatpants wearers. Or, as they’re more commonly known, new parents.
Adding a baby to their family will mean lots of changes … and not just to their grooming habits. Financial planning is likely to become a more pressing need for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as it is for most new parents.
“You go from being a single person to being a couple to being a family, and you do have to worry more,” says Debbie Cecil, Unum’s director of product and market development. “You have a greater need for financial planning. You want to protect the most valuable asset in your life now, and that’s your child.”
Let’s pretend for a second that Will and Kate don’t have, well, an entire kingdom, and hope they’ve found time in their royally busy schedules to accomplish some of these must-do tasks.
1. Get life insurance.
It seems like every ad for life insurance has a baby in it, and there’s a reason for that. New parents are among those with the greatest need for coverage. Also, babies are darn cute.
If Will and Kate don’t have any coverage, they’ll need to get some — enough to provide for Royal Baby should anything happen. How much is that? A life insurance calculator can help them figure it out.
And that goes for both spouses — not just William. “Even if the parent who dies or is disabled isn’t the primary breadwinner, your family will still likely have additional expenses that could create a significant financial burden — things such as child care or other services the nonworking spouse provided,” says Steven Johnson, assistant vice president of product development, marketing and products, with Colonial Life.
If Will and Kate already have coverage, now’s a great time to update beneficiaries to include the baby. And it also might be time to boost coverage with some term life. “At this stage in their life, they’ll have a greater need for life insurance, so purchasing some term to supplement a more permanent policy is usually a good idea,” Unum’s Cecil says.
(AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
2. Protect income.
It’s likely Prince William will quit his job with the Royal Air Force this summer in order to spend more time on royal duties and his new family. But if he were to stay in — at a salary of about $56,000 in 2011 — disability income insurance, in addition to life insurance, would be a must.
“You always want to protect the income as well as the estate,” Unum’s Cecil says. “That’s a real valuable piece as well.”
(AP Photo/ SAC Faye Storer, MOD)
3. Draw up a will.
Ah, new life. What a great opportunity to think about … death. Amiright? No?
It’s no surprise, then, that many new parents don’t take (or have!) the time to write or update their wills following the birth of a child, and royal parents are apparently no exception. Princess Diana’s will — if it was her first — was signed in 1993, more than a decade after the birth of her firstborn.
And late or no, at least Diana — who died at just 36 and left a $35.6 million estate — had a will. A 2011 survey found that 30 million people in Britain — about 70 percent of the population — don’t have wills.
New parents like Will and Kate, experts say, should write their wills immediately. If they already have, they’ll need to update their beneficiaries now that they have a child.
(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
4. Name a guardian.
If something were to happen to Will and Kate, who would raise the Royal Baby? Luckily, the couple has lots of options — Grandpa Charles; Aunt Pippa; Uncle “What Happens in Vegas” Harry. They just have to pick one — and sooner rather than later, experts say.
If they fail to act? They run the risk of their child living with someone they don’t approve of. Like say, a little-known, distant Aunt Mildred, who smells of Icy Hot and eats her hair. (For more, see No estate plan? 3 reasons your clients’ children are at risk.)
(AP Photo/Sang Tan)
5. Start saving for college.
Tuition in the U.K. isn’t quite as hefty as it is in the States, but still, St. Andrew’s University in Scotland, where Kate and William both attended college, charges a little over $13,000 per year in tuition. Top-of-the-line room and board (you don’t expect a royal to suffer communal showers, do you?) tacks on another 10 grand. So when Junior heads off to college in 2031, factoring in inflation alone, the Duke and Duchess will be on the hook for about $140,000 over four years.
And that’s just college. Kate and William — both boarding school alums — aren’t likely to send R.B. to the P.S. down the block. Kate’s Marlborough College charges fees of more than $43,000 a year. That much money, over about 12 years, assuming there’s no My Family Runs This Country discount? Yeah, it adds up.
What should the new parents do? Purchasing life insurance with a cash value element can help. (For details, see The life insurance college savings bank.) And if Will and Kate ever get tired of England and defect to the States, they could also take advantage of 529 plans.
(AP Photo/Stefan Rousseau)
6. Don’t forget retirement.
When Will and Kate decide to hang up the old crown and scepter, they’ll likely want some money on hand to continue leading the kingly lifestyle they’re accustomed to — perhaps for several decades. Considering demographic trends, their apparent good health and genetics (Queen Elizabeth, Will’s grandma, is 87 and still rocking brooches like a 60 year old), Will and Kate could feasibly have a 30-year retirement ahead of them.
Yet, as most new parents know, paying for Pampers — and preschool, and little league and college — often takes precedence over saving. For Americans, a Roth IRA can help parents save for both retirement and college. And a life insurance retirement plan, or L.I.R.P., could come in handy in certain cases. (Our quiz, L.I.R.P. or Roth IRA — Which Is Better for Your Client?, can help you decide.)
(AP Photo/Sang Tan)