Just because you want to help family members pay for college or help a family member in need doesn't mean you know how to do that. MetLife has come up with the top 10 tips to help families financially prepare for their future.

  1. Thoroughly examine your current financial situation and obligations. Pair that with your long-term goals and responsibilities. Examine your current net worth along with your existing debt and figure out how many people are financially dependent on you and to what level, how much does that account for and what are your known future debts or expenses, such as college funding or caregiving. Have you considered any other challenges that might crop up to throw your retirement plan off track?
  2. Always plan for your own needs first. Pay down debt and develop a financial plan that covers your needs in the future, including an emergency fund.
  3. When major events happen, reassess your goals and plans to make sure they continue to serve your needs.
  4. Give with a goal in mind. According to MetLife, many parents and grandparents want to help their children and grandchildren with expenses like school or paying for a new home, so target your gifts in a way that helps your family members out the most.
  5. Partner your love for family with practical solutions. If you want to help your dependents, consider purchasing life insurance, disability insurance or putting money away for them in retirement savings vehicles.
  6. Plan for the unexpected. Make sure you have plans in place to handle death, serious illness, permanent disability or loss of earnings if you are unable to work.
  7. Draw up a will that ensures your assets are distributed as you wish them to be. Make sure guardians are named for your children or dependents and consider putting a trust in place to help distribute your assets and reduce estate and gift taxes.
  8. Tell your family what financial plans you have in place. It is important they know what you've done and what will happen if anything happens to you.
  9. Discuss what will happen if adult children need to move home or if parents need to move in with their children.
  10. Know how much you need. Life insurance is important if you have dependents who would be unable to pay off a mortgage, afford day care, pay off debt or pay for college expenses if you were not around.

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