A Bundle of…Debt?
Just because we don’t have children for financial reasons doesn’t mean they don’t have a big financial impact. If you’re expecting a child, begin examining your maternity/paternity issues right away. It’s also smart to start thinking as soon as possible about how your budget will need to change. Babies require lots of new stuff. If you plan carefully you’ll end up with everything you need without too much damage to your bottom line. As you settle in with your new family member, it’s wise to begin socking away cash for college. The earlier you start that savings account, the easier an education will come.
Planning for Pregnancy and Birth
If you or your partner are pregnant and working, then it’s worth studying your employee benefits to see if there is coverage for maternity leave. You can read more here.
…have you considered how you’ll manage on the reduced income caused by time off for the pregnancy and birth? Check with your employer to see if you’re covered by short-term disability insurance, which covers pregnancy. A typical policy will pay 60 to 70 percent of your gross income for approximately six weeks following the birth of your child (there may be a waiting period of a week).
Even if you don’t have disability insurance, your employer may be required to grant you time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), but they’re not required to pay you during that time. Whether or not you’ll receive salary or disability benefits, schedule out your expected income and expenses and make sure you can make ends meet.
Remember that your collective bargaining contract may contain protections for pregnant people and sometimes includes benefits for the pregnant person. Those benefits sometimes also extend to her partner. Check with your shop steward and make sure to check your contract! Because of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act it is illegal to treat pregnancy disability differently from other workplace disabilities like heart attack or cancer treatment. If you are pregnant or know someone who is, make sure they understand their legal and contractual rights as union members in the workplace.
Do you have the right bouncy chair? Do you even need a bouncy chair? You’ll be inundated with these sorts of questions, and it’s bewildering. If you buy everything that seems like it might be handy, you’ll max out your credit cards exactly when you might see a drop in income and a rise in costs for more child care. There are several clever strategies that will net you all the things your child will need at a fraction of the price you’d face paying retail. Here is a great article you can check out for more information and ideas.
Now that you are financially responsible for someone who can’t pay for themselves, you should think about what would happen to them if something happened to you.
Once you have figured out the basics, start exploring saving for college. It’ll be much more manageable if you start early.
Kids bring both tax costs and tax breaks—this article at Kiplinger details everything you need to know about getting your kiddo into the system and accounted for in a way that benefits both you and the little one.
If you are reading this section, it’s probably because there's news. Congratulations!
A baby is expensive, to be sure, but you can keep yours from being a burden. Here are some tips from Get Rich Slowly on acquiring all the things you'll need at less cost.
Read up on your tax benefits now that you're a parent, here.