Preparing to Have a Baby
Having a baby is a joyous occasion and one that should be celebrated. It is a very exciting period and very few want the worry about financing your child’s future. But deciding to have a baby isn’t a decision to take lightly. So start planning well before there is even a bun in the oven. Having a child can be one of the most exciting times of your life. At the same time, it can be stressful; especially in the ways it affects your income and finances. By taking some time now to become informed, you can put all of the necessary plans in place.
It is recommended that you review your health insurance coverage for both mother and baby, pre and postnatal. Find out exactly what benefits you are entitled to receive, at what medical facilities and for how long. Maternity benefits vary from policy to policy, as do choices for birthing and the method you prefer. Also, make sure you’re aware of the timeline of adding a baby to your policy. The rule of thumb is 30 days from birth. Learn more about health care for the baby at womenshealth.gov.
Prepare for the spending that you can’t necessarily foresee. A huge part of caring for a child in the first year is the medical expenses. You will need to start budgeting for this baby from the very first day, as there may be out of pocket expenses for the delivery itself. Check with your employer to see if they offer a flexible spending account. Some employers offer this fund as an opportunity to spend tax-free dollars on necessary medically related expenses like co-payments or vitamins, and they also offer such accounts for dependent-care costs such as a nanny.
Take a look at your household budget. Babies are famous for their unexpected expenses. A budget will be the key to making ends meet, whether or not you decide to return to work. A U.S. Department of Agriculture study estimates that a middle-income family will spend $450,000 to raise an only child from birth to age 22. Do some research and revise your budget to include your new circumstances.
Make sure you understand your leave options from work. Even if your employer has its own maternity leave, the federal government’s Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), mandates that a company with more than 50 employees must grant eligible employees 12 weeks’ job-protected, unpaid time off for the care of a child. FMLA is an option for both mom and dad, and a policy which supersedes that of any employer.
Try to cut down on the amount of spending you do per month before the baby arrives. Practice living on one income. If mom or dad decides to be a stay-at-home parent, it’s a good idea to perform a trial run of living on a reduced income. Banking the salary of the spouse who will not return to work sets the stage for the upcoming change in the financial situation. This type of savings plan not only helps you learn to live on less but also provides a monetary cushion for the family.
You should save regularly and creatively. A savings plan is often forgotten or even ignored. You can never start saving for a baby too soon. Your new baby has a whole world of opportunity to grow into. When your baby is just learning to smile and roll over, a college education may seem too far away to think about. Open a Base Share Account at allU.S. Credit Union as soon as possible. Your baby will thank you. Starting to save is a wise investment in your child’s future. Time is definitely an asset when you begin a regular savings program from the start. The money you once spent on diapers or formula can now be stashed away into a college fund or an Education IRA, which allows tax-free growth and penalty-free withdrawals for college expenses. ? Do you know the benefits of a 529 Plan or Coverdell Education Savings Account?
- Learn more about Saving for College with Credit Unions.
- For more information of 529 Plans, visit: SEC.GOV .
- Learn more about Coverdell Education Savings Accounts at IRS.GOV
Don’t forget to increase your insurance. Married couples without children usually have minimal amounts of life, disability and homeowner’s insurance. Supplementing these policies before the baby’s arrival is important. Consult a professional to help tailor your family’s insurance needs. For more information on insurance, visit the Life Insurance and Disability page at USA.GOV.
Do you need a new Vehicle? Is your expanding family making you realize that now might be a good time for a new vehicle? If you think you may need a little more room, or just a car with four doors visit the allU.S. auto loans page for your vehicle financing.
Get your new baby a Social Security Number , so you can claim the child as a dependent on your taxes and you can open accounts in his or her name.
The unknown can be a little frightening for new parents. allU.S. Credit Union can help balance your family’s short-term and long-term needs to make the transition easier for you.