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How to Prepare Financially for a Baby

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Bundles of joy tend to cost bundles of cash. Budgeting and money management become more challenging when life becomes all about your family's needs. If you are considering starting a family, your priorities and responsibilities will expand and change. There’s nothing like a baby to reinforce the fact that even happy events can derail a budget. A recent U.S. Department of Agriculture study indicated that middle-class families will spend between $270,000 and $393,000 per child between birth and age 18. And that doesn’t include the cost of college. Here are some tips on how to financially prepare to have a baby.

Update Your Budget

Having a baby means an increase in doctor’s visits, time off from work, baby-related expenses, food, and potentially the additional cost of child care. Make sure you plan for this time off, understand your employer’s policies, and prepare in advance for the lost income and increased expenses. It’s a good idea to project these expenses and your income and update your budget before you start trying to get pregnant.

Start Saving Early

It’s wise to save for a variety of expenses for the short and long term. There are a few different types of savings account to consider:

  • Establish an emergency fund using a Savings Account or Money Market Account to prepare for the unexpected costs that will arise.
  • Once your child has a Social Security number, set up a savings account in the child's name and let family members know about it so they can contribute.
  • Saving for a college education can begin now, too. Consider setting up a Coverdell ESA or 529 plan to build a college fund.

Consider Used Baby Items

Once your new baby arrives, your household is more active than ever. Family and friends join you in the celebration, and everyone buzzes excitedly. Gearing up for a new baby can cost a small fortune - even if you're clear about your priorities. Average middle-class families will spend about $12,000 on baby expenses within the first year, which climbs each year according to a report from the USDA. You will need some supplies, but you do not need everything you'll find featured in parenting websites, baby boutiques and department stores.

  • Let friends and relatives indulge a bit, but otherwise try to stick to essentials
  • Accept hand-me-down items gratefully
  • Make sure those older items meet current safety standards

Protect Yourself and Your Family

Before the baby arrives, review your health insurance coverage so you know what to expect financially. Once the baby is born, add your new child to your health insurance plan within their first month so you are covered if they need care. If you’re eager to change jobs or careers to better provide for your family, consider the type of health benefits that employer offers and the accompanying costs.

Purchasing a life insurance policy may become a priority for the first time. These policies provide a variety of coverage in the event of a tragedy so that your family doesn’t suffer financially. Mortgage payments and educational costs are covered, and you can choose a policy that earns dividends through investments. You’ll also want to update your family’s will and retirement plans to include your new beneficiary.

Having a baby can be an exciting time. If you’re looking to grow your family, let the experts at Coastal Credit Union help you prepare. Contact us to set up an appointment today.

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