REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 2, 1999 — Many families with young children have a hard time budgeting for baby food and formula, let alone a college education. For help they can turn to personal finance management software such as Microsoft® Money 2000 Deluxe.
Money 2000 Deluxe can help families budget for current expenses, and features like the Lifetime Planner can even help them make decisions on investing for future expenses such as college tuition.
Parents need to plan for a variety of expenses during their children’s lifetime: Day care and diapers are needed for the under-five set. Will they go to a private or public school? Braces might not be covered by insurance. And what about a car at age 16? Some surveys estimate that a child can cost nearly $250,000 – and that’s just through age 18. Microsoft Money 2000 can help families plan for all of these costs.
“Families need to remember that starting to save early and organizing their finances to plan for the future are the keys to success,”
said financial expert Tod Barnhart, who heads his own investment advisory firm and authored the best-selling books
“The Five Rituals of Wealth”
“A Kick in the Assets.” “A family that saves $1,000 per year from their child’s birth until age 18 for the child’s college education might have $55,000 saved by the time the child enters college, while a family that starts saving $2,000 per year when the child is 10 will only have $29,000.”
Barnhart says that parents and parents-to-be should consider the following child-related expenses when putting together their financial plans:
Housing. According to a study published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, housing is the largest single expense incurred in the raising of children, comprising anywhere from 33 percent to 37 percent of a family’s overall annual expense. Families considering a new or larger home can use Money 2000’s House Center to determine what they can truly afford. Those ready to purchase a new home, or who want to see if they can save money by refinancing their existing home, can use the House Center’s tools to find and compare the mortgage options best suited to their financial situation. Money’s Purchase Wizard will even help families purchasing their first home determine the best way to come up with a down payment.
Transportation. Whether trading in a two-door compact for a vehicle that can better handle the demands of baby seats and car pools, or buying a teen-ager’s first automobile, parents will find Money 2000’s Car Center to be an invaluable resource. The Car Center provides a host of links that help parents see how buying a car will affect their financial goals, get reviews and information on new cars, look up Kelley Blue Book values for used cars, or find the insurance that’s right for their needs.
Child care. Child care can account for as much as 7-10 percent of a family’s expenses. Parents need to be sure they have factored this cost into their budget. Money 2000’s Budget & Savings Planner can help them do just that.
Education. Will a family’s education IRA or child’s trust fund cover college expenses? By using Money’s College Cost Database, parents can forecast the cost of tuition and room and board for particular schools by entering the year their child will enter college. They can then use the Lifetime Planner to determine whether their current savings and investments will be sufficient to cover the cost. If the current plan isn’t making the grade, Money 2000 can help them refine their budget and calculate the impact of setting aside additional funds, or link them to the MSN TM MoneyCentral TM personal finance online service to explore alternate investment vehicles.
Taxes. Finally, it is important for parents to make sure they are taking all the tax deductions for which they are eligible. Expenses such as child care, the cost of adoption, and medical expenses that exceed 7.5 percent of a family’s adjusted gross income are all deductible. Money 2000 offers valuable tools to help parents identify these deductions and can even provide a report of all their related expenditures at tax time.
“Many new parents don’t feel that they can afford to take the time to organize their finances properly,”
“But they really can’t afford not to do it, and personal finance management software such as Money 2000 Deluxe makes it simple and hassle-free.”
Money 2000 Deluxe is available at stores nationwide for an estimated retail price of $64.95.
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