Your family is growing and changes are rapidly occurring.
Sometimes you need to take stock, reassess, and ask yourself the big questions that could help determine your family’s direction.
Here are some things to consider when planning the next steps for your growing family.
Where should we live?
Australia’s major cities and regional centres are full of unique suburbs. We’ve previously compiled the Top 5 Family Friendly Suburbs Per State, but what are some other things you should consider when choosing where to live?
Depending on your work, proximity to public transport may not be a big deal when kids are young, but when they get older those needs may change. You may get to a point where you wish they could not be so reliant on you driving them.
While on work, commute times and methods of transport will also come into consideration. In theory, the shorter the commute, the more time you have to spend with your family, so proximity to public transport or main roadways could be important.
Friends and family should also play a role in determining the best spot to live. You’ll be able to make new friends wherever you go, but having a strong, established support network within reach is a big consideration for many.
Also consider space for children to explore, play and learn. Access to good schools are an obvious drawcard for young families, so check out what is available in the suburbs you’re considering.
If you are living in a property that doesn’t have a backyard or much outdoor space, you’ll want to live in a suburb that has a playground or local park. This is also a big consideration if you have an active dog, and we’ve created an article on some best suburbs for dogs, too.
Heading to the park with the whole clan can become a family tradition that everyone looks forward to. You can check out Playground Finder to find out where your closest playground is, as well as ratings and reviews.
Finally, local shops are always a great thing to have nearby, especially as the family is growing. Being a parent can leave you short on time, so having access to shops for last minute supplies can be your saving grace.
Renting vs. buying?
Which is better suited for you?
Both have their own advantages and disadvantages, and weighing up the pros and cons could help you decide.
By buying your own home you can turn your home into your castle. You can paint, renovate, and change whatever you wish without having to ask permission or be afraid of breaching any rental agreements. This is great for when the family is growing because you tailor your home to your family. You can build that treehouse, or give your daughter a colourful bedroom wallpaper for her birthday. But, you also don’t want to live beyond your means. Property could be considered a long-term investment and a mortgage is sometimes referred to as forced savings, but you need to consider if a mortgage will be at the expense of your current well-being.
Rental properties can allow you to have more money in your pocket for the present time, as the upfront costs involved in buying a home can be quite expensive. You can also have a greater flexibility on where you live, and change locations or property types to suit changing circumstances.
Whether you decide to rent, buy, or do both, housing will most likely be your biggest ongoing financial cost in Australia. Weigh up the different options, think about the desired lifestyle of your family, and figure out which solution works best for you. It’s also a good idea to seek personalised advice from a professional to help with your decision.
How do I maintain balance?
As your family grows, your career is likely to be doing the same, free time is more fleeting, and it starts to feel like each day simply doesn’t have enough hours. How can you ensure that you feel balanced between all the important things in your life?
The first step is to prioritise and explore some trial and error. What are the must-do jobs, and how can you work as a team to relieve the pressure on each other? Can you divide and conquer tasks to give each other a break? Can you call on a support network for a night of babysitting while you take a hard-earned break?
Explore opportunities to work from home, as this could cut down the commute and open opportunities to be closer to your loved ones.
And mentally and physically, to feel more balanced, how do you build in time to regenerate, relax and stay fit? You can do simple mindfulness exercises, squeeze in an extra lunchtime fitness session, or take up an interesting hobby to do on your own. Allowing the time for this helps you switch your thoughts off from everything else going on, and lets you pause for a moment and work on yourself.
In considering the direction you want to take your family over the growing years, don’t forget to consider their ongoing protection, too. Life is full of surprises, so to be prepared, consider Virgin Life Insurance.