Having a child is a major event that will affect all areas of your life, including your finances. As you prepare to become a parent, be sure to consider the financial impact. The additional costs of buying diapers and baby food may not seem too significant, but the US Department of Agriculture estimated in 2014 that the cost of raising a child from birth to age 18 was over $245,000, or an average of $13,600 annually.
Areas to consider:
- Build some financial reserves before the birth: Once you learn you are going to have a baby, make sure to save some additional money. It will be easier to cover those diaper costs if you don't have to worry about having money available. Some extra money in a savings account will help reduce the stress during this exciting time.
- Check your medical insurance: If you don't have medical insurance, buy a policy before you become pregnant. Some policies require three or more months of coverage before the start of your pregnancy. Other policies limit the amount they will pay, so be sure to check the terms of the policy. Also, determine if your policy will cover all related costs, or if you also need to save additional funds to cover medical expenses.
- Check your employee benefits: Many companies have provisions for paid leaves for pregnancies for both mother and father. You may even be able to combine vacation days and sick days to maintain your income for a few extra weeks before returning to work.
- Talk to your employer: Be sure you understand your employer's maternity leave policy and talk with your supervisor so the appropriate planning can be done.
- Review your life insurance coverage: You are going to have an additional person in your family that is dependent on your income. If you don't have life insurance, now is a good time to get it. If you have coverage, consider increasing it to recognize the additional financial responsibility you will have.
- Write or revise your will: Even if you do not have substantial assets, a will is necessary at this time. The will can designate guardians in case you and your spouse are unable to care for your child. Minor children generally cannot inherit assets directly, so establishing a trust inside your will is crucial. You should also use this time to create a power of attorney for health care issues. This document will spell out the type of care you will receive in case you and your spouse are unable to make those decisions.
- Consider how you are going to handle child care: If you plan to stay home with the child and not return to work, you obviously will have less income. If you plan to use a day care center, it will cost money. In either case, investigate your options and do some financial planning before your baby arrives.
- Start saving for college: College is expensive and the sooner you start saving, the easier it will be. Many types of education savings plans are available including Section 529 and Coverdell accounts.
We can help
Visit one of our branches or call us at 1-800-288-3425 help with college funding options, life insurance or estate planning.
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