Welcoming a new baby into the world is life-changing, to say the least. Besides lack of sleep, this new member of the family comes with a lengthy list of responsibilities — and tremendous financial responsibility.
A recent USDA study found that the average cost of raising a child is nearly $13,000 the first year alone and more than $230,000 by the age of 18. This is based on a middle-income ($59,200–$107,400), two-child, married-couple family.
Upon the announcement of a new baby, three classes of expenses are immediately triggered: medical costs associated with the pregnancy and delivery; possible costs from taking time off after the birth or reducing your work capacity; and most important, of course, the costs of rearing your new arrival.
Go ahead, bask in the bliss that is new parenthood. But when you have a moment, consider these key steps you should take now to prepare for your financial future.
Before your new child arrives, create a checklist of key financial considerations you need to address. At a minimum, these should include:
• How you'll pay for prenatal and delivery costs. It's important to double-check your insurance coverage and associated benefits to determine how much you'll be paying out-of-pocket.
• Whether you (or your partner) will take time off after the child's birth. You will need to look closely as to how much this will impact your budget in the short- and medium-term.
• Whether you'll need child care. There are many available options, but you must figure out what is within your budget.
• Adding in the overlooked costs. There are many additional expenses associated with a new child, such as clothes, toys, food, diapers and furnishings. FIgure these in before you decide on child care.
• Procuring insurance coverage for your new child. In many cases the mother's insurance will cover baby for the first 30 days, but you should obtain coverage for your child before birth to ensure there's no interruption in coverage.
If you haven't yet had a baby shower, consider your financial situation. Maybe you're better off asking for baby gifts as contributions toward a fund for childcare, paying off medical expenses or any of the related costs discussed above.
More from Invest in You:
Trick yourself into better money management. No budget, no spreadsheets required
Why everyone should get a prenup, according to 'Broke Millennial' author Erin Lowry
How much money do you need to retire? Start with $1.7 million
Once baby arrives, you'll likely feel a shift in your money mentality, as the reality of your child's future needs set in. Now is the time to start doing some financial planning. For instance:
• Update your beneficiaries on all your accounts. And if you don't yet have a will, create one. It's also time to think about an executor of your will and who would handle Junior's needs if you're not around.
• Consider additional financial products. If you don't yet have life insurance, get some STAT. Remember, it's not just about you anymore. Disability insurance should also be a strong consideration so that you're able to provide for baby without disruption.
• Investigate 529 plans or other college savings vehicles. The sooner you begin saving for college, the more time the account has to grow and enjoy capital gains.
Finally, use this shift toward more responsible and careful financial planning to really alter your overall money mindset. A child can be just the motivator you need to make better financial choices in every area of your life, in order to really treasure what matters most: family.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.