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Whether you are planning a small and intimate Bar/Bat Mitzvah or a larger, more lavish affair, you still need to pay for it. And for most of us, that means some financial planning needs to be involved. What are some strategies for planning ahead for your child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah? We caught up with Merrill Lynch financial planner and Mitzvah Dad Steven Brett for some pointers. Of course, we could have written a book on the advice he had to offer! But here are a few suggestions to help us all get the ball rolling:

  1. Start now. “Whether your child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah is six months out or six years out, you can start saving now,” says Brett. Of course, the more time, the better, but it is never too late (or too early!) to start thinking about putting money aside. Especially if you have more than one child!
  2. Look at the big picture. “Planning for your child’s Mitzvah should be one piece of a bigger plan,” Brett says. “With saving for college, retirement, family vacations and other financial demands, there is competition for where to allocate your funds. Figure out what your goals are and what it is you want to save for. Prioritize your goals.”
  3. Come up with a plan. Where to put your money in order to see it grow depends mostly on your timeline. And this is where an expert like Brett can help, especially when you consider our current economic climate.
  4. Stick with the plan. Easier said than done, we understand. But if you can create a realistic plan, it is much easier to stick with it. Brett also suggests that as your child matures, you let him or her in on your Mitzvah savings goals. “It is a great way to have your child start to think about being fiscally responsible,” he says.
  5. Check in. “This is the most important part to financial planning,” Brett says. “You need to evaluate how you are meeting your goals along the way.” If you get off course, then the plan needs to be readjusted. “Financial planning is a work in progress,” Brett says.

Interested in learning more? Contact a financial planner in your area. Or find one on Merrill Lynch’s Website. Steve Brett, who is based in Locust Valley, NY, but has clients all over the country, can be reached at [email protected]. Or feel free to visit Brett’s Website.

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