Four years after getting married — and after a lot of financial planning — Jennie Kennedy and her husband welcomed their baby son into their Spokane, Wash., home.
Kennedy, 34, recalled their discussions before their son was born: " 'Are we ready? Are we in a good spot?' We probably over-thought it because we put off getting pregnant."
Not quite. Kennedy and her husband took all the right steps before having a child, including putting money aside and analyzing their finances, experts say. Adding a child represents a major financial stress: The cost of raising a child today is $233,610 – excluding the cost of college – for a middle-income family, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The stakes may be higher for new parents than in previous generations, thanks to a combination of changing demographics and economic pressures.
Women are delaying motherhood, a trend especially pronounced for college-educated women. That means new parents typically have a better financial foothold than in earlier decades, yet it can deliver other challenges, such as a higher rate of fertility problems and tough decisions about balancing work and family.