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If you’re going to be having a baby soon – congratulations! No doubt your world has been a flurry of doctor’s visits, ultrasound scans, new dietary restrictions for the expectant mum and exciting announcements to your nearest and dearest.
When you start to get your head around the fact that in a short time your world is going to be turned upside down by a real-live miniature human being you will need to come back down to earth, put your sensible head on and work out the impact that this will have on your financial situation. Children are an expensive business so it’s definitely worth planning ahead.
The medical costs associated with pregnancy are high – pre-natal scans and check-ups don’t come cheap before you even start to consider the cost of your room, the obstetrician’s and midwives fees’ and all costs associated with the actual birth. What if you need a caesarean section or you or your baby need specialist post-natal care?
The ideal time to take out maternity healthcare cover is well before you fall pregnant. This is because often there is a waiting period of 10-12 months (sometimes more) before you can claim on a policy. We always advise our female clients to take out maternity cover even when parenthood seems a distant possibility however we do understand that accidents happen.
If you are pregnant without pre-arranged cover, you will need to seek out policies with shorter waiting periods which may not cover you for pre-natal care but could pay out for the costs associated with labour, delivery and recovery. One of our financial planners can help.
You will certainly want some time off to enjoy with your new-born whether you are a mum or a dad-to-be. Look at your employment contract to find out what your entitlement is and discuss with your partner who will take time off and when. Make sure you let your employer know of your plans well in advance of the baby’s arrival.
There are certain items that you will definitely need when your baby arrives – a buggy, car seat and cot are all indispensable and you will need to factor their purchase into your household budget over the next few months. A word of warning though – don’t go overboard. There is a bewildering range of baby items which clever marketing will persuade you that you need when you really don’t – heated baby wipe dispenser anyone? Buy the essentials and then work out which extras you will actually need and use once you get into the swing of parenthood.
Your new family member will impact your household finances in two ways. Firstly there is an extra person to buy for – baby formula, nappies and general expenses add up, not to mention the cost of childcare which you should start researching now.
Your family income may also be reduced if one partner chooses to stop work altogether or go part-time. Have a close look at what will change once the baby arrives and revise your household budget accordingly.
Having a child changes everything financially. Whereas it might have seemed ok to skip on life insurance and health insurance when you had only yourself to worry about, when you are entirely responsible for another human being who is utterly dependent on you, you need to make sure that you have the financial resources to cope whatever life throws your way. Look at your life insurance requirements, whether you should take out critical illness cover and income protection and start a savings plan to safeguard your child’s financial future.
An emergency fund is a key factor in any financial plan. With an extra person in the house, you will perhaps need to increase it to reflect your extra monthly outgoings and to ensure that you still have a good six month’s worth of money stashed away to tide you over any unforeseen events which mean you are unable to work.
You will be amazed at how much time a baby can take up so it is wise to think about all this in advance of the birth. Take it from me, when you are reeling from sleepless nights and the juggling involved in parenthood you’ll be glad you did some advance planning!
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