The New Year has begun and 2019 is well underway. A new year can mean new experiences just around the corner like buying a house, going on a family vacation, or having a child. There are plenty of things that you can do to be ready for the big and small changes in life. We asked Navy Federal’s Katie Miller, senior vice president of savings products, for some tips on how to be financially prepared for some of life’s big events:

1. Live Happily Ever After

If you’re planning on getting married, setting and sticking to a budget can help you save on wedding expenses. There are several things that you can do to eliminate an expensive bottom line. Picking an off-season date or choosing DIY invitations can leave more money for other things. At the end of the day, your wedding shouldn’t be “’til debt do us part.”

“It’s important to set a realistic budget and to know your spending limits,” says Miller. “A good principle to follow is to make sure your total debt payments don’t exceed 35 percent of your income.”

Before the “I do’s” are said, avoid future financial headaches by having a conversation with your partner about your individual finances and how you plan to manage them once you’re married. Here are some questions to ask.

2. Plan for Expecting Expenses

Before you take home your new bundle of joy, it’s important to consider all the costs associated with having a baby. According to a 2017 study by the USDA, the average cost of raising a child is $284,570. Don’t let that number scare you! This figure includes many one-time costs, like a stroller or crib. Creating a budget can help you tackle your expenses and get back to spending time with your newborn.

Within your budget, make sure to account for any paid or unpaid leave. Some companies have different plans, so be sure to check with your employer to see what they offer.

3. Gear Up for Your Golden Years

Depending where you are, retirement may be right around the corner or in the distant future. Regardless, it’s important to get started sooner rather than later.

“The key is to make saving a habit and build your savings portfolio early. This will put you in good financial standing in the future,” says Miller.

With so many plans, like a Roth IRA, 401(k), 403(b), the Blended Retirement System (BRS) and the government Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), it’s hard to know which one is right for you. Check out Navy Federal Credit Union’s retirement planning calculator to make sure you’re saving enough for retirement. If you still need help, talk to a trusted financial advisor* who can help ease any uncertainties and set you on the right track.

Mission Accepted

No matter where you are in your financial journey, Navy Federal is here for all of your life adventures. Visit navyfederal.org to learn more about products and services that can help you maximize your membership and reach your goals.

Navy Federal Credit Union is federally insured by NCUA.

*Nondeposit investment and insurance products are offered through Navy Federal Financial Group, LLC (NFFG) and through its subsidiary, Navy Federal Brokerage Services, LLC (NFBS), a member of FINRA/SIPC and an SEC registered investment advisory firm. Brokerage and advisory products are offered through NFBS. These products are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guaranteed or obligations of the credit union, are not offered, recommended, sanctioned, or encouraged by the federal government, and may involve investment risk, including possible loss of principal.