When a couple becomes pregnant, the financial worries that accompany raising a child can overwhelm the joy and excitement they feel. The couple may immediately think about housing costs, private schools, and college. While they do not lose the happiness they feel for the pregnancy, they quickly realize the need for a robust financial plan, one that will ensure their future little one has access to all the possibilities life has to offer. Preparing before a baby arrives can be daunting, but planning will help.
You mustn’t squander the precious nine months you have before your baby’s arrival. Take the time to tackle any debt and financial responsibilities so when your newborn arrives, you can welcome them with relaxed and open arms.
During the first month of pregnancy, gather all of your finances. You want to figure out precisely how much debt you have and categorize it. The core focus is on credit card debt. You want to work on getting that paid off. While you might not get it all paid off within the first month, figure out a plan for eliminating such debt within the year.
As you figure out your obligations, you can start a new budget. Be specific about budget goals and rules because you need to follow this plan throughout the next nine months and beyond. You will have an opportunity to adjust this plan later.
The second month is a time for getting organized. You can install finance software to help you keep track of receipts and spending habits. These programs also allow you to streamline financial records come tax time. Now is also the time to check any company records and personal data. You want to remove out-of-date beneficiary information and emergency contacts. Updating information is not only for work; you should also check the names on your bank accounts, changing anything that is necessary.
Regardless of your payment history, take the time in month three to review your credit score. You want to check your credit statement to ensure that all information is accurate. It is not uncommon for different credit agencies to have inaccurate information on file. You want to challenge the accounts that do not make sense to improve your score. Next, take another look at your budget. How is everything working out? Find more areas to cut expenses if possible. However, if you can set aside an adequate portion of your monthly income into savings, you may be on the right track in preparing before the baby. Do not be afraid to talk to a financial advisor for help.
During the fourth month of pregnancy, you should visit the Human Resources department at your company to discuss any maternity or paternity benefits. You may be surprised at the services your company offers, allowing you to stay home and take part in the first weeks and developmental stages of your child’s life.
Your only other objective for month four is to stick to your budget. Learning proper spending habits and fiscal responsibility are vital to sustaining a healthy household. The more you can stay inside your budget, the less stress you should feel in preparing before the baby arrives.
Month five is when you need to answer the stay-at-home parent question. Will either of you quit your job to be a full-time parent? There are costs and benefits to both options, staying in the workforce or leaving. If you both decide to work, you need to factor in daycare or a nanny. If one stays home, you need to figure out your budget to see if that will work. You want to check with your employer because many companies offer free or discounted daycare to employees.
Month six is all about getting your estate in order. You want to buy life insurance in case something unfortunate happens, and you should create a will if you don’t already have one. If you do have a will, revisit it and edit it to include your unborn child. While a will is an essential financial tool, the primary reason new parents need one is to establish legal guardians for their child if they die. It may seem like the least enjoyable part of preparing before your baby, but it is a necessary one. You do not want to leave such an important decision up to the courts.
Month seven is a great time to start a college savings account for your future bundle of joy. There are many programs out there that allow you to start putting something back for education, but you need to look at the regulations and requirements for each. You can also look into tax-advantaged investments for future expenses. These investment programs allow you to put money back for a child’s college fund without incurring taxes.
You should purchase a safe deposit box in month eight to keep birth certificates and other essential documents. Month eight is also the time to look into retirement savings options.
When you finally welcome your baby into the world, don’t forget to enroll them in your health insurance. Most insurers allow up to 30 days for enrollment.
Financial planning will help calm your nerves during pregnancy. If you need help consolidating debt, consider a loan with a LoanConnect partner.