Do you have a baby on the way, or are you planning to have children soon? Being a new parent comes with both invaluable rewards and, let’s face it, some challenges. Although there might not be much you can do to prepare for sleepless nights or loud crying, you can take steps to help ensure you’re financially prepared to have and raise a child.
According to American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC), a national nonprofit, new parents often underestimate the costs of having children. To help you get ahead of your finances before parenthood, ACCC offers the following tips:
Update your budget. Having a child means one more individual to care and be responsible for. It’s important to reconfigure your budget to include all the expenses that come with having children, such as diapers, childcare, food, etc.
Look over your health insurance. Review your health insurance coverage before having a baby so there aren’t any unexpected bills. After having a child, make sure to add him or her to your plan.
Establish an emergency fund. If you don’t already have an emergency fund, now is the time to start one, as kids are prone to accidents—and raising a child comes with high costs.
Look into childcare. If both parents intend to go back to work after having a child, you’ll need to find a daycare or nanny, which can take time. If possible, start your research while on maternity/paternity leave so you don’t miss more work. Do extensive research to find affordable prices.
Get life insurance. Getting life insurance is an important part of a family’s financial planning, as it ensures dependents are financially taken care of if the family’s main breadwinner dies.
Make or update a will. If you don’t have a will, now is the time to make one to ensure your family is taken care of. If you already have a will, make sure to add all new beneficiaries.
Don’t forget about retirement. It’s important that you don’t forget about retirement while raising a child. You need to keep contributing to your retirement plan and make sure you stay on track.
Start saving for college. College costs are increasing, and the best way to handle these high costs is to start saving as early as possible. Though college is years away for a newborn, the sooner you start to save, the more money you’ll have for your child’s education.