Congratulations! You’re taking on one of life’s most challenging — yet rewarding — journeys: raising children!
Deciding on names, decorating the nursery and picking out tiny clothes to bring your bundle of joy home in are all exciting parts of the preparation, but it’s also time to start thinking about your family’s financial future.
Here are some things you’ll want to consider:
Get to know your insurance
Odds are, you know exactly how much your copay is when you’re sick or seeing a specialist. But if this is your first baby, you may not be familiar with your coverage for prenatal care. You’ll want to make sure you choose a doctor who takes your plan and find out what’s covered as far as prenatal and postpartum care.
Remember, as soon as you bring that sweet baby into the world, you’re two separate patients in the eyes of the hospital and insurance company. Most plans will give you 30 days from birth to call and add the baby to your coverage, so be sure to do it sooner rather than later.
Plan for maternity/parental leave
Talk to your employer to gain an understanding of how much time you’ll be given and whether or not that time will be fully or partially paid. Not all employers have a comprehensive plan, so you’ll want to make sure you are familiar with your state’s laws and disability coverage as well.
Anticipate delivery costs
Having a baby is expensive — even if you have health insurance! The average cost of giving birth in the United States without complications is $10,808, according to FAIR Health. But that’s not accounting for prenatal care, possible complications and NICU stays. Ask the hospital or birthing center for a breakdown of the expected costs and confirm your deductibles and out-of-pockets with your insurance provider.
Pick a pediatrician
Find and visit a few pediatricians who accept your insurance before your baby comes to get a feel for their practice and see if it’s a good fit. Your baby will have regular monitoring in the hospital, but you’ll have to bring the baby for his or her first checkup with the pediatrician about a week or so from birth. Make sure you pick a doctor you like because you’ll definitely be seeing a lot of each other in that first year!
Create or adjust your budget
If you and your partner had a budget before you were expecting, now’s the time to revisit it. You’ll have to account for things like diapers, clothes and baby gear that were probably not on your radar before. And odds are, any financial goals you set for yourselves may have to be tweaked with the family addition.
If you didn’t have a budget before getting pregnant, make one! Kids are expensive, and with the rising costs of higher education, it’s never too early to start saving for college.
Get life insurance and make a will
We get it; no one likes to talk about this one. But the reality is, tomorrow is never promised and you want to be sure your family is well taken care of in the event it of a tragedy. Name beneficiaries and designate a guardian. It’s in everyone’s best interest.
Look into child care (if you need it)
The first few months of a baby’s life are exhausting — for everyone — so it’s a good idea to figure out who will be caring for your baby when you return to work before the baby comes. That way, you have time to visit and vet the person (or people) who will be responsible for loving on your most precious gift.
There’s a lot to think about, but be sure to stop and enjoy this time in your life. There really is nothing like it.