If you are here and reading this piece, either you’re on the brink of starting a family or you already have one and you are looking for ways to make their future secure.

Either way, the love and affection you have for your loved ones brought you here and it only makes sense that you start planning for them if you haven’t done so already.

Some years ago a financial services television commercial used a tag line that appealed to millions and made them look back on the monetary decisions they’ve made so far. The tag line was “You can be poor when you’re young, but you can’t be poor when you’re old” and we couldn’t help but agree that truer words were never spoken. For most of us when we were younger and dumber, we led a communal lifestyle sharing just about everything be it accommodation, money, food, the not so occasional beer – you name it! Our post-pubescent life is one that we cherish because we had to look after no one but ourselves (oh what days!)

But, now that you have a family and the responsibilities that come with having one, could you lead a life in the same way as you did before? Because we are not getting any younger and it’s a given that we cannot afford being any dumber, a very sane and responsible answer would be – HELL NO!

Now, we aren’t asking you to do the impossible and emerge as a financial genius overnight but there are 5 basic principles that you can incorporate to secure the financial future of your family.  Maybe you might not be a wealthy person but you should have the financial cushioning that allows you to live a comfortable life whenever you call it quits and your spouse can support themselves in the event of your premature demise.

Now, it sure does sound like a lot to do but building a sound and secure financial future is simple although it requires consistent efforts over a period of time. Just stick to these 5 principles and be a person with THE PLAN:

1. Establish your short and long term financial goals

That’s right! Start off by taking an all-inclusive snapshot of your current financial state which consists of all your possessions, debts, net earnings and living expenses. Once this is done, you can now begin to plan your long and short term financial goals. Think about the lifestyle you want to lead between now and when you retire; the retirement lifestyle you would prefer leading and the kind of education you wish to provide your children with.

2. Getting aspects of your life insured

Once you’re done assessing where you are now and where you want to be in the future, take necessary steps to safeguard your capability to get there. Once you get there, do everything in your power to stay there. One of the most important aspects of your family’s financial agenda is to insure yourself against major monetary losses. This is mainly because there are simply no promises against fatal health issues, accidents or ill-timed death. So do what you can to insure your family against loss of life, sudden loss of income and loss of physical asset and property.

3. Paying yourself first

Do this by trying to save at least 10% of your income from the pre-tax amount – more if that’s possible. Pay off your mortgage as fast as you can especially when the market has low interest rates. You are better off cutting down a mortgage in the short term that costs you 6% instead of earning a taxable 1.5% or less from a savings account.

Increase your contribution every year and make this happen at the beginning of the year instead of waiting to do it at the end of the year. Simply doing this will substantially add to the size of your retirement nest egg when you’re ready to cash out and get cracking!

4. Beware of getting entangled in the credit trap

Simply refuse to put yourself in a situation where the credit situation can ruin everything that you’ve worked for. Avoid credit traps at all costs! If you do use credit cards, make sure that you always end up paying any money that you owe before the due date comes knocking on your door. Pay off outstanding credit card dues immediately in case you have cash in savings account. This is because with the mortgage, the interest earned on savings is bound to be lesser than what will otherwise be charged by the by the credit card company.

Strictly steer clear of using credit cards for any cash advances. The interest charged for this facility is usually higher and the charges begin to accrue instantly. If you do carry forth certain amount of balance on your card, then try to negotiate a lower rate with the credit card company. If you need cash on an urgent basis, a sane and relatively cheaper option will be to negotiate a personal loan with your bank or the credit card entity.

5. Make a Will

At last, make arrangements to safeguard the interest of your family members in the event of your death and to do this you’ve got to make a Will. If you die without leaving a Will behind, the only thing that you will really leave your loved one to deal with is a big mess. Mind you this could take several years and a whole lot of money to sort it out.

In the absence of a Will, the court or the government get to call the shots and decide how the distribution of your property and possessions will roll out. If this happens, there is absolutely no chance that your wishes will be honoured as to who gets what. Making a Will is doesn’t mean that a visit from the Grim Reaper is due; it simply means that your matters will be organised and sorted in the way you want it to be. As a result, you can go on about your life with a mind that is at peace because you know that your loved ones are protected no matter what!

Making a Will has never been easier, all you have to do is get your hands on the free Will kit and get started right away.

Let these 5 principles be the beacon light to get your financial affairs right on track. Do not refrain from taking professional help wherever necessary and do your homework before making any big decision that involves money.