Already have a baby on the way? Thinking about starting a family soon? Congrats! Adding a baby to your family is exciting, overwhelming, stressful, draining, and thrilling, all wrapped up into one. There’s a ton of stuff to think about. While those baby books and parenting articles are full of tips on getting your newborn to sleep through the night, they’re probably a bit light on the financial side of things. No worries. That’s why we’re here!
Before you assemble that crib, install the car seat, or pack your hospital bag, you should prioritize your finances. Here are our top tips for financially preparing for your wonderful new addition:
- Don’t worry about keeping up with the social media Joneses: Before social media, you had no clue what your friend’s nursery looked like. Now, you’re bombarded with cute pics of swaddling blankets, the latest and greatest baby gear, and adorable newborn outfits. Don’t let what you see on Instagram and Pinterest make you spend heaps of money on unnecessary baby accessories. Baby stuff is expensive! The usefulness of those items will be gone after year one anyway. Find out what the absolute must-haves are, and limit your shopping on the other stuff. You likely even have friends or relatives with baby gear taking up space in their basement. See if you can take some off their hands! It will help them tidy up, and save you a lot of dough.
- Figure out the whole childcare situation: The cost of daycare, babysitters, and nannies will make your head spin and your wallet combust. Unless you or your partner are planning on leaving the workforce to take care of your baby, having a game plan for taking on these expenses is a must. The good news about childcare is the cost tends to decrease as your baby gets older. The bad news? You’ll initially feel like your whole paycheck is going straight to the daycare’s bottom line. The best way to handle this sticker shock is to plan for it ahead of time. Dig into the details of your childcare options, decide what works best for your family, and break down the real costs. Plan to put the childcare funds aside in your cashflows just like any other monthly bill.
- Take stock of your financial goals: Soon enough you’ll be juggling all kinds of new financial priorities. Maybe you want to buy a house to give your growing family more space, or need a bigger car to haul all that baby stuff around. You’ll be faced with the prospect of saving for your kid’s college tuition, while still needing to sock away money for retirement. (Psst…here’s the blog post to help you manage those to-do’s). The easiest way to map out the upcoming changes in your life is with a financial plan. Make a list of the goals you want and need to accomplish, and then sit down with a financial advisor to plan how to get you there.
- Load up your emergency fund: All kinds of unexpected things can happen when you have a baby. You may rack up unforeseen medical bills, or stay out of work longer than you had planned. Start socking away extra money into an emergency fund, so you’re financially prepared for the unexpected things parenthood throws your way. If you don’t already have an emergency fund, or need some solid rules to follow, give this a read.
- Get your legal paperwork in order: Having a baby makes you worry about things you’ve never even thought about before. You’ll be sleep deprived enough as it is. The last thing that should be keeping you up at night is the prospect of your child not being taken care of should something happen to you. Get your legal paperwork lined up now, and put your mind at ease. Wills and Power of Attorneys are the biggies. Sit down with an estate attorney and get everything finalized. Make a note to review it again once your baby arrives, and make sure to formally name a guardian for your child. Review any beneficiary designations on your accounts while you’re at it, and make any necessary updates.
When the time comes, you should be enjoying your new baby. Take care of these tasks now, and take comfort in the fact that you’ve readied yourself financially for parenthood. If you’d like to dig deeper into your personal situation, and start checking off these to-do’s, drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you!