With the buzz about the Royal Baby and a couple of my colleagues ready to pop–I’ve got babies on the mind! While your son or daughter might not be third in line to the throne of England, you will still be treating them like the prince or princess that you feel they are. Having had three of my own, and lived to tell about it, I thought I might pass some money tips on to new and expecting moms and dads out there!
Kids are mighty expensive! According to the calculator on BabyCenter, it’s close to half a million dollars in my area to raise a kid, including paying for public college. The good news is that it’s not all at once.
Aside from your medical expenses which will vary depending on birth, location, and medical needs, there are some steps you’ll want to plan ahead for.
Important Things to Do Before the Baby’s Born:
You want to make sure that your baby is taken care of if something horrible were to happen to you. There are various rules of thumb for how much to insure yourself, and it depends on the debt you have, lifestyle you live, etc. Term life insurance is affordable and something you will want to have in place before the baby’s born.
This post goes into detail on the cost of not having life insurance.
A will simply stats what you would like done with your assets and who you want to be guardian of your children. Without one, it’s left up to the state to decide.
Talk with your spouse or partner to determine who you want to take care of your kids should both of you die. You’ll want to consider family values, religious beliefs, financial stability, location, and anything else that’s important to you when choosing someone. You also want them to be trustworthy to handle your financial assets in the best interest of your children. Talk to whomever that is to make sure they’re willing and able to take on that responsibility.
Revise Your Budget:
You’ll have additional expenses after the baby’s born; medical bills, clothing, diapers, possibly formula if you’re not breast feeding, clothing for mom, child care, college savings, etc. You may be adjusting from a two income family to living on one income, for a while or indefinitely. Maybe you need a bigger car or home to accommodate your growing family. Make a list and budget it in. Figure out where you will need to cut back to make your budget work and realize it’s going to be a work in progress as the baby grows and your needs change.
Important Things to Do After the Baby is Born:
The hospital will probably help you with the paperwork for this. Check it over carefully! My husband is the fourth (IV) in a lineage of father’s naming their son’s after themselves. We realized when the birth certificate for my son came in the mail they had my husband listed as Jr. instead of IV. That’s the weird and confusing equivalent of the county thinking my husband’s grandpa is the father of our child!
You’ll also want to order several copies of your child’s birth certificate since you’ll need them for school registrations, day care, etc.
Social Security Card:
If you’re going to claim your baby on your taxes (duh, why wouldn’t you?) you must have a social security number for them. Get that submitted right away. The hospital helped us with this as well.
Like any investment, the best time to start is 20 years ago, the second best time is now. It’s hard to imagine when you’re holding that little one for the first time that in a blink of an eye they’ll be Juniors in High School applying to colleges. Planning ahead now with a 529 college savings account will pay off and you’ll be thanking yourself that you did.
Enroll Them In Your Health Insurance Program
After a child is born you will need to enroll him or her in your health insurance plan. For us, the delivery and care for the baby while we were in the hospital counted on my insurance as one deductible, but check with your insurance to be sure.
Establish Good Credit:
My co-worker and financial magician, Bryan, suggested I add to this list to help your child establish good credit by adding them as an authorized user to your credit card. If you have good credit you can help your child obtain a longer credit history. Remember that you’ll be responsible for any charges your child makes and if you don’t have good credit you’ll do more harm to your child’s credit rating. If you do this at age 10, and your child goes at 25 to buy a car, they already have 15 years of established credit history behind them. As a mom of teens, I think it really depends on the child if I’d do that or not.