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Posted on June 10, 2008

Being a father is an awesome and very important responsibility. In addition to teaching your children valuable life lessons, you are also tasked with providing them with a stable and healthy financial future. One of the best ways to care for your children is to be sure that you are prepared for unforeseen costs and circumstances that could have a huge financial impact on your family.

This Father’s Day, the experts at Money Management International (MMI), give fathers the following checklist to ensure that their families are on firm financial footing:

• Perform a health insurance check-up. Find out which services are covered by your provider, and learn what preventive services are offered. Research your premiums and co-payments so that you know exactly what it will cost when you arrive at the hospital or clinic. Explore the cost difference in using doctors in your “network” and those outside of it. If you do not have health insurance, seek assistance from Medicaid or your local state-sponsored plan.

• Obtain adequate life insurance. The life insurance coverage offered by your employer may not be enough. Based on your current bills and expenses, determine how much life insurance you need, and find out which provider offers the best value. Term life insurance, which provides protection for a stated amount of time, is the most affordable type of life insurance—just be sure that the term lasts until your children can be financially self-sufficient.

• Don’t skimp on disability insurance. At any given age, your chances of becoming disabled are higher than your chances of dying. According to MSN Money, 12 percent of the adult U.S. population suffers a long-term disability every year. If your employer does not offer group disability insurance, seek an individual policy.

• Protect your assets. You do not have to have a significant amount of assets to require a will. Most importantly, a will allows you to name guardians for your children should something unexpected happen to you and/or your spouse. Without a will, state law determines how your assets will be distributed. Keep your will in a secure location, such as a fireproof filing cabinet or safety deposit box.

• Expect the unexpected. Commit yourself to establishing an emergency savings account with at least three months worth of living expenses. If this goal seems challenging, start by having a small amount automatically withdrawn from your paycheck and deposited directly into a separate account.

“This Father’s Day, make it a priority to address these important precautions in order to ensure your family is protected in case of emergency,” said Cate Williams, vice president of financial literacy at MMI. “The resulting peace of mind could be the best gift you receive this year.”