If you are asking yourself this question, you are off to a good start. Planning and preparation can go a long way toward creating a solid financial foundation for starting a family. Even if you have already started your family, it's not too late! The following tips can be a boon at any time in your family's growth.
Maybe you haven't paid that much attention until now, but if you are thinking of adding on to your family, now is a great time to look into your insurance policies. What does your health insurance cover in terms of pregnancy and birth? What will it cost you to add children to your coverage? Do you have life insurance? Is it enough to cover the care of a child should something happen to you? Do you have a will? It's a good idea to investigate these areas and get your affairs in order. Having children brings many surprises into your life, but not having insurance or a will is not the kind of surprise you want.
Recent estimates say you can spend as much as $250,000 raising a child to the age of 18-and no, that doesn't include the cost of college. While the figure may seem overwhelming, don't let it scare you off of the idea of having kids. Take a look at your monthly finances, your income and your budget's wiggle room. If you haven't started a savings account yet, it is never too late to begin. And remember, there is no dollar amount that can equal the hug of your son or daughter.
Feathering the Nest
You may spend a lot of money just in the first year of your child's life. From strollers to bouncy seats to diapers, there are a lot of gadgets available for new parents. Sure, some are helpful, and some are even necessary, but don't fall into the trap of thinking you need the latest and greatest of everything. Take your time and decide on the essentials for you and your family.
Stay or Go
Perhaps one of the hardest decisions to make concerns the care of your child. Before you decide to have a baby, sit down with your spouse or partner and talk about what you want for your child's care. Do you want one parent to stay home and watch the baby, and can you afford it? If this is your goal, but financially it seems out of reach, what can you do to make that dream a reality? If both parents prefer to return to work after the birth of a baby, you may want to look into daycare in your area now to find what is best for your family and your budget. Having a baby is a big adventure, both financially and emotionally. Asking the hard questions before you make the leap to parenthood can help you remain ahead of the curve. There is no "one size fits all" decision, but only what works for you. Be honest and be prepared to be patient. Always remember that when it comes to babies, no dollar amount will outweigh the joy you will get from adding on to your family.