Going from DINK to SICK?

Going from DINK (Double Income No Kids) to SICK (Single Income Cute Kids) – planning your maternity leave or paternity leave.

If you are planning to have a child in the near future, there are several changes you need to be prepared for. This may include where you live, how you live and what needs to be prioritised in terms of the family budget. For many couples, this means the transition from the DINK lifestyle of Double Income No Kids to what we call the SICK lifestyle of Single Income Cute Kids.

The DINK lifestyle presents many opportunities for financial wellbeing. If managed wisely, DINKs can reach financial independence earlier, wipe out debts and build assets. Regardless of the reason why DINKs may not have children, it is a unique position to be able to build and utilise their dual income to improve their financial future.

Friends enjoying lunch

At this stage of life, it is tempting to spend more than you save. Without the responsibilities of kids, DINKs tend to enjoy their lives and splurge their earnings on luxury items, entertainment and holidays. While this immediate gratification can be tempting, it is important for DINKs to plan for the future and make some responsible financial decisions that will provide long term financial wellbeing.

Here are some of the considerations DINKS can take into account regardless of whether children come along in the future or not:

1. Spending now vs Saving/Investing for the future

Striking the right balance between what you spend now and what you save or invest in for the future is important for DINKS. The money you spend now will go a long way to helping you enjoy your life in the immediate term however saving and investing for the future is definitely a wise option and the money you invest now has the potential to increase your standard of living down the track.

2. Invest in the right mix of insurance

DINKS should consider their insurance carefully. Having the right mix of insurance against death, disability and/or income protection is important. Look at both parties and get the right cover for a range of different scenarios so as to help protect your family financially in case of any unforeseen accidents or sickness.

3. Tax time implications

DINKs need to manage their income across the family in order to minimise taxes. DINKs may find that one member of the family is in a higher income tax bracket than another, and therefore it is important to consider how other assets and incomes are split within the family structure.

Going from DINK to SICK

When and if the time comes to add children to the family mix, DINKs need to ensure they are ready for the sudden change of going from dual income to one income, not to mention the added costs associated with children.

If planning for children, there is a lot to consider including whether your existing lifestyle is viable on one income and if so for how long? Many soon to be parents can now consider maternity leave or paternity leave options providing reassurance that your income will be available on your return. Some parents will choose to sacrifice one of their incomes to focus on raising the children and in turn avoiding the costs associated with childcare.

Child running through garden

So where to begin when planning the transition to a single income household?

1. Budget

Managing money coming in and going out is essential. Budgeting allows you to plan in advance for bills and essentials and gives you visibility on what is left over that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

2. Evaluate and consolidate your debts

Consolidating debts is a great place to start, you may be able to reduce interest owing by consolidating the debt into lower interest accounts such as your mortgage.

3. Ensure you have the right insurances to protect your whole family

As with DINKs, the right mix of insurance is a major factor for families to consider. This includes health insurance, life insurance, income protection and other personal property insurances. Look at both parents’ cover, which policies include the children’s best interests and ensure that you are not left short if something unexpected comes up.

4. Investigate government support packages and what you are entitled to receive

There are numerous government support packages available to families, such as childcare rebates, active kids and creative kids payments, family tax benefits and many other school related rebate schemes. It is worth investigating this and applying for everything you are eligible for. It may seem time consuming and painful when you are filling out all the various forms, however it is well worth the investment in time.

5. Save for the future if you can, every bit counts

Consider setting up accounts for your children and putting a little money aside each week. This will add up and might be a nice surprise for the kids when they reach the age of moving out of home or wanting to purchase a car to gain independence. When doing this look for high interest savings accounts or term deposit accounts.

No matter what stage of life you are at, there will always be unexpected ups and downs. Being prepared with a budget and financial plan will help you maintain your financial wellbeing. It is especially important when other people are counting on you, such as your partner or your children.

Tribel’s team of financial advisers can help you plan for each stage of your life, whether it be budgeting for the now or planning for the future.

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All of the material published on this web site is for information purposes only and does not constitute advice. This information is of a general nature only and has been provided without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this, we recommend you consider, with or without the assistance of a Financial Adviser, whether the information is appropriate in light of your particular needs and circumstances.

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