Preparing for your baby’s arrival requires a lot of forethought and planning. For new parents and growing families, determining things like how much money to save before your baby arrives or what types of expenses to anticipate might not come naturally.
Childhood expenses aren’t always predictable, but most parents will agree on one thing: children are expensive. Understanding the overall cost of raising a child can help you gain a general idea of expenses, but taking some time to review your unique situation will help you create a more detailed plan.
Before the big arrival, try to complete these five important tasks:
1. Review your insurance
Once you have a little one counting on you to provide for them, reviewing your insurance to see if it meet the needs of your growing family is important. You may have to adjust your policy and you’ll definitely need to add your new dependent to your health insurance plan.
Other insurance products to review include life and disability. Should something unfortunate happen and you sustain a serious injury or worse, you’ll still need to provide for your child. In the short-run, it’s more likely that you’ll need disability insurance than life insurance. However, both are important. Many employers even offer a base level of life insurance and add-on disability insurance coverage.
In addition to your own life insurance policy, consider one for everyone in your family. No one expects the worst to happen, but being prepared will help you out financially during a very challenging time.
2. Recalibrate your budget
Keeping track of your income and spending habits is an important part of staying financially healthy. If you don’t have a budget yet, now is as good a time as any to create one. If you’re already using a working budget, you’ll need to adjust it to account for your new expenses.
One important bucket of expenses to account for is medical appointments. You’ll need to arrange many doctor’s appointments throughout your pregnancy and the first few months of your baby’s life. Review your health insurance policy to determine how much these appointments might cost you, and begin to prepare.
Additionally, estimate how much you’ll need for baby supplies. Your little one will need a crib, stroller, car seat, clothes, nearly endless amounts of diapers and more. You’ll likely receive some essentials from family members if you have a baby shower (a diaper tower is quite common!), but you’ll still have to purchase many of these things yourself.
3. Start saving for school
Education isn’t cheap, and it’s unlikely that costs will decrease anytime soon. Preparing for your little one’s future now is a smart move to ensure you’ll have the funds to help cover tuition, books and other related expenses.
You have many options for saving for your child’s education. A 529 account is a popular choice; these lock in your money and are reserved specifically for your child’s educational expenses. Other options include regular savings accounts, Certificates of Deposit or index funds.
4. Revisit your emergency fund
Your emergency fund is there for when something expensive and unexpected occurs, like a major injury, a totaled vehicle or a lay-off. Many financial experts recommend basing the amount you keep in your emergency savings fund on your monthly household expenses. Having at least three months’ worth of savings stocked up will help you through a period of unemployment, when your income stops unexpectedly.
When you have a baby, your monthly expenses will inevitably go up. You’ll become a regular buyer of diapers, baby food and clothes as your baby grows. Recalculate your new monthly expenses and try to stash some extra money in your emergency fund as needed.
5. Plan for parental leave
The Family Medical Leave Act guarantees workers 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave to care for newborn children or sick family members, according to the Department of Labor. In addition, you may have additional benefits depending on the state in which you live or the company for which you work. Look into how much time you both are granted for the arrival of a new baby. If you and your partner can take leave but aren’t paid during that time, factor that into your budget and savings strategies.
The childbirth process has varying degrees of recovery involved, and there are circumstances that can cause a mother to take an extended leave to recover. Factor this possibility into your planning.
When planning for parental leave, determine how much time you and your partner will each take. You may find that you’re better off with one parent taking a longer time away from the workplace. If one of your incomes can sustain your growing family, transitioning to a single-income household might also be an option.
The average annual cost of daycare is $10,468. This study found childcare to be unaffordable for seven in 10 families. Due to this trend, 23 percent of the respondents said they decided to either become a stay-at-home parent or take on a part-time work schedule to save on childcare costs.
Planning for your new arrival will take time and likely require adjustments to your budget. Need some advice to get you started? Reach out and we’d be happy to discuss our savings accounts, financial planning services and other ways we can help you get financially prepared for your growing family.