Yesterday was High School Graduation Day here in Napa, so summer break is on. However, it seems like graduation has been going on for weeks: Kindergarten through College. I had no idea they made cap and gowns that small!
I remember years ago learning that Commencement Day, though the end of one phase, is more importantly the launch to the next phase. Graduating from 8th Grade means the commencement of High School and so on. I have noticed that each graduation opens a wider variety of opportunities. For example, when you graduate from Kindergarten, there are probably only one or two elementary schools that you might attend. Eighth grade opens the door to a number of public and private High Schools here in Napa. Graduation from high school opens the door to thousands of institutes of higher learning, and college graduation opens the vista even further.
Out in the “Real World,” we have differing names for graduation. You may receive a promotion, change jobs, change careers and even retire. Life has a way of presenting points to stop, reflect and consider what we might do next. Are you prepared for the next phase of your life?
Young parents may consider how college will be paid for. Eighteen years seems a long way off, but with college expenses what they are and climbing, it’s worth doing some planning. Today a UC education is $25,000-30,000 per year, and by the time today’s newborn goes to college that amount will more than double.
Parents with children in middle school are more concerned as the direction their child is headed is more clear: Napa Valley Community College, UC Berkley or Stanford. They are probably looking at how to save for college and save for retirement at the same time.
Older parents may have successfully launched all of their children and are enjoying a little extra income and time. Retirement looms even larger, as well as considerations of Social Security, Medi-Cal, and how to help the grandchildren.
There is no phase in life when planning does not seem like a good idea; however, it is fraught with lots of options. I urge clients to choose a set of assumptions that makes the most sense in the moment, and then set a plan based on those assumptions. With the passing of my mom, Nani and I became the top of the pyramid with children and grandchildren below. Recently, we talked about getting our burial plans in order. It was nice that Mom had it all laid out what she wanted, and it was paid for. We want to do the same for our children. Is it a pleasant conversation? No. What if we set everything up with Tulocay and end up moving to another state for our retirement years? We are going to make a plan and take action. If circumstances change, we will adjust.
Congratulations to all graduates from Kindergarten to retirement! If we can help in any way, give us a call.