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Modern Family Finances

Fabric's Top 10 Money Moves You Can Do Today

By Allison Kade Apr 2, 2019

Fabric has helped tens of thousands of families protect their financial futures. Along the way, we’ve learned a thing or two.

Here are our top ten ways to seize control over your financial life—today.

10. Know What’s Up

One of the best ways to gain an honest snapshot is to check out three months of credit card bills and bank statements. Looking at a few months helps ensure that you aren’t getting caught on any anomalies (for example, wedding season).

If you’re married or in a serious relationship, it’s also important for your partner to know where to find all relevant accounts. Fabric Vault lets you connect your accounts and grant access to each other.

Make it real: Put 30 minutes on your calendar this week to review your most recent credit card and bank statements. Write down any surprises.

9. Ditch One Bad Habit

Start with the positive: What’s one thing you’re succeeding at? Maybe you’re consistently bringing lunch to work instead of getting Chipotle every single day. Or you use public transportation instead of taking a ton of Ubers.

Next, a little truth-telling: What are some areas you could do better? Maybe you pay for Hulu and Netflix and Amazon Prime and Spotify Premium . . . and you’re not consistently using any of them. Just sayin’.

Make it real: Choose one recurring expense realistically kick. (Realtalk: You’re not going to slash your budget in half through your coffee habits alone.) Then come up with a concrete plan and try it out for two weeks.

8. Make More Money

Penny-pinching is only part of the equation. If you really want to boost your cash flow, it's important to talk about earning more, too.

Think about the things you’re already doing well. Can you pick up more hours at work? Monetize any of your hobbies? Ask for a raise?

Make it real: Write down one money-making idea to explore over the next month. And check out some money tips from personal finance bloggers.

7. Write Your Will

Great news: 3 in 4 of our customers filled out a last will and testament online in under 10 minutes, and learned how to make it legally binding.

Make it real: Create your will and make it legally binding. You can fill out your will from your living room, or at the park.

6. Make It Rain

Well, OK, not literally. But many experts recommend saving three to six months of living expenses in a “rainy day fund” to help protect against the unexpected, like job loss or medical bills.

Make it real: Login to your bank account. How much money do you have saved up that you could access in case of an emergency? Write that down. Next, estimate how much you spend on necessities each month for the whole family. Multiply that by six.

That’s your target amount. Now, subtract your existing savings from your target amount. That’s how much you should think about saving in order to hit your goal.

5. Think About the Kids

It’s a personal decision whether you want to pay for your children’s college education (and how much). Your costs will vary drastically depending on a number of factors.

Do you plan to contribute just a portion, or do you want to pay for the whole thing? Will you impose rules on your kids about going in-state vs. out-of-state? Do you expect your children to work while in college?

Your answers will play a big role in how you even start planning for the huge financial commitment that is college.

Make it real: Get out your calendar. Get out your spouse or partner’s calendar. Plan a time to chat this out together. And if your kids are mature enough to participate in a meaningful way, you might choose to include them, too.

4. Ponder Your Golden Years

Retirement may feel far off right now, but $100 invested today could turn into almost $800 over 30 years (assuming 7 percent rate of return)! In other words, the earlier you start, the longer your money has to grow.

Although other priorities might feel more immediate, retirement is a pretty unique financial goal because the only way you can get there is to save. When you’re buying a home, you can take out a mortgage. For college tuition, you or your kids can take out student loans. But there’s no such thing as a retirement loan.

That means that now’s probably your best time to get started.

Make it real: Figure out if your company offers a 401(k) match, by asking your HR rep. If so, sign up ASAP to take advantage.

3. Decide on Life Insurance

Life insurance can be a key way to help protect your loved ones if anyone depends on you, like kids, spouses or other family members. You might also think about life insurance if you have certain kinds of debt. For example, if you have a mortgage, you might want to prevent your family from being forced to sell your house to pay off the mortgage.

With life insurance, if you pass away while your monthly payments are paid-up, the insurer will make a lump sum payment to the people of your choosing. The people you’ve named (your life insurance beneficiaries) can use this money to make ends meet or take care of expenses.

Make it real: Take a few minutes to learn how life insurance actually works and then take our quiz to see if it could make sense for you.

2. Keep Your Peeps Informed

What will happen to your Facebook profile after you die? Does your life insurance beneficiary know where you have a policy? Do the people named in your will know what their roles are?

Some social sites, like Facebook, let you specify your “last wishes” for the platform (do you want a memorial page?) and a contact person who can make those decisions in the event of your death.

Meanwhile, you can connect your online financial accounts through Fabric Vault so you and your partner both know where to find important financial details.

If you have a will or term life insurance through Fabric, we’ve developed several tools to let you grant access to the people who matter, like your beneficiaries, executor and legal guardian.

Make it real: Grant access to info in your Fabric will (login and update your will to share with these people), and spend 20 minutes doing some “digital estate planning.”

1. Know Your Priorities

We get it. There’s a lot to do, especially if you have a family to take care of. Paying down debt, working on an emergency fund, saving for college, thinking about retirement . . . Not to mention occasionally buying something for yourself because you don’t want to live like a total monk.

So what comes first?

Make it real: Start with a deep breath. Then read our guide on how to prioritize your finances.

Fabric exists to help young families master their money. Our articles abide by strict editorial standards.

Fabric by Gerber Life exists to help young families master their money. Our articles abide by strict editorial standards.

Information provided is general and educational in nature and is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, financial, legal, or tax advice. Laws of a specific state or laws relevant to a particular situation may affect the applicability, accuracy, or completeness of this information. Federal and state laws and regulations are complex and are subject to change. We make no warranties with regard to the information or results obtained by its use, and disclaim any liability arising out of your use of, or reliance on, the information.

Fabric by Gerber Life offers a mobile experience for people on-the-go who want an easy and fast way to purchase life insurance.


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Written by

Allison Kade

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Term Life Insurance Policy Series ICC22 2205-4004 WSA and Accelerated Death Benefit Rider policy series ICC22 2205-2623 WSA (and state variations where applicable) issued by Western-Southern Life Assurance Company, Cincinnati, OH which operates in DC and all states except NY, and distributed by Gerber Life Agency, LLC using Fabric Technologies. Gerber Life Agency, LLC is an affiliate of Gerber Life Insurance Company (est. 1967). All are members of Western & Southern Financial Group (Western & Southern). Issuance of coverage for Term Life Insurance is subject to underwriting review and approval. Please see a copy of the policy for the full terms, conditions and exclusions. Product provisions, availability, definitions and benefits may vary by state. Payment of benefits under the life insurance policy is the obligation of, and is guaranteed by, the issuing company. Guarantees are based on the claims-paying ability of the issuer. Products are backed by the full financial strength of the issuing company.

All sample pricing is based on a 30-year old F in Excellent health for the coverage amount shown and a 10-year term policy, unless otherwise stated. Gerber Life Agency, LLC (GLA) is an insurance agency licensed to sell life insurance products. GLA will receive compensation from Western-Southern Life Assurance Company for such sales. The NAIC Company Code for Western-Southern Life Assurance Company is 92622.

Western-Southern Life Assurance Company's A+ Superior A.M. Best Rating: Superior ability to meet ongoing insurance obligations (second highest of 13 ratings; rating held since June 2009). Ratings are subject to change from time to time. The ratings shown here are correct as of 09/03/2022. For more information about a particular rating or rating agency, please visit the website of the relevant agency.

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