Bringing a child into this world will be one of the most exciting things you’ll ever do. In the months leading up to the birth of your new baby, you are sure to be busy setting up the nursery, putting in the car seat, and baby-proofing your home. While there are many ways to prepare mentally and physically for the arrival of your little one, there are also other areas of your life that require some adjustments. Many parents-to-be are so overcome with joy and happiness that they tend to forget having a baby also requires some more financial output. Below, we’ll highlight some ways in which you can financially prepare for your precious bundle of joy’s big arrival.
Plan for Maternity/Paternity Leave
The amount of time you and your partner(if this applies) plan on and are able to take off after the baby is born will have a significant impact on your finances. Let’s say, for example, your employer does not offer paid maternity or paternity leave, you’ll need to take this into account when mapping out how much time you plan to take. It is also necessary to do your research in terms of what your state laws are, as this will likely provide you with some type of financial coverage during your leave. If you and your partner both work for companies that provide an allotted amount of paid leave, consider staggering that leave in order to optimize each of the time you have to spend with your newborn child.
Bonus Tip: While you’re speaking with your employer’s HR department about leave, you may want to inquire about insurance coverage as well. If you do not already have a policy, what better time than the present to seek out a life insurance quote? Having this protection will ensure your family’s financial stability should anything happen during this maternity leave time, and for years to come.
Decide on a Budget and Stick to It
When shopping for items that will help you care for your new baby, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the latest technology. These days, there’s not much companies haven’t thought of, like an appliance that warms your baby’s milk or a stroller that counts your steps. While all of these gizmos and gadgets are enticing, the fact of the matter is, your baby isn’t going to know whether or not the items you’re using have all the bells and whistles. This is where creating a budget and sticking to it comes into play. When formulating your budget, it’s important to keep in mind that there will not only be diaper, food and clothing costs, but also medical bills coming in. It’s crucial to take all of this into consideration, then form a budget based on the income you’ll be receiving once the baby has arrived. If you want to learn more on the steps you can take to map out a budget that works for you, check out this article on budgeting for your baby’s first year.
Bonus Tip: As your baby grows, so will the cost it requires to care for them. It’s never too early to start planning. Whether it be a college fund or a special account designated just for them when they turn a certain age, the more you’re able to save now, the better off you’ll be in the future! In addition, many parents tend to put their saving goals on the backburner, when in reality they should still be saving. Continuing to invest in your 401k and retirement will only better position your child in the long run.
Research Childcare Options
While some new parents are fortunate to stay at home long-term or have family members who can look after their children at no cost once they go back to work, others are not in that boat. For this reason, it is important to research the childcare options available in your area long before your baby’s arrival date. Some families opt to hire a nanny while others send their kids to a daycare facility. Either way, the costs add up. Unfortunately, many parents are spending the majority of their income on early childcare and education, which is why the proper research and financial planning is necessary.
Bonus Tip: Word of mouth is the best type of advertising and this also rings true when it comes to childcare. While conducting your research, check in with some of your friends with children who currently attend a daycare facility. They may be able to better steer you in a direction that works best for you, your partner and your child.
The months, weeks and days leading up to the arrival of your child are some of the most memorable times of your life. While they say you can never be fully prepared to take on this new role as a parent, you can certainly plan financially in order to position yourself the best you can. While these tips are sure to steer you in the right direction when it comes to your finances, the most important thing you can have for your baby is love!
Shannon M. Clark, MD, MMS is a double board certified ObGyn and Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist, and founder of Babies After 35. In her roles as a clinician, educator and researcher at UTMB-Galveston, she focuses on the care of people with maternal and/or fetal complications of pregnancy. Dr. Clark has taken a special interest in pregnancy after the age of 35, which according to age alone, is considered a high-risk pregnancy. In her role as a physician caring for high-risk pregnancies, she has counseled and treated hundreds of women over the years in her very own situation, and has found a whole new respect for the challenges and complications a woman may experience when trying to have a baby later in life.
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