Planning for parenthood it isn’t all about buying tiny clothes or having those magical ultrasounds. Whilst those things are fun there are lots of other considerations too. Preparing for a baby can involve a lot of financial and emotional planning; trust me, I should know. When you’re a new parent some things can be tackled as you go – dealing with nappy explosions, for example; there is no time like the present when it comes to dealing with them! There are however many aspects that you can prepare for, that will help the whole process to run much more smoothly and stand you in good stead for when the baby arrives. You want to be as calm and happy as you can be when pregnant, after all.
Planning Pre Delivery
It isn’t a massive deal here in the UK, but for many people, medical insurance for a baby needs to be planned ahead of time. If you don’t get the right kind of insurance, or you don’t let your insurer know that you’re pregnant, then it can leave you out of pocket in a big way. Even here in the UK, if you have private medical cover, from somewhere like Simplyhealth.co.uk, you’ll need to let them know that you’re pregnant. Then when you have had the baby you can claim the right amount. But all of this will take financial planning and you need to make sure you can afford the monthly repayments or the fee each month for medical cover.
One of the next things that you need to financially plan for is what you are going to do about maternity leave. You need to check what your employer expects and how you can financially afford it all. Will you just take the minimum amount possible? Or will you be able to take a full year with some of it unpaid? Reading up about maternity pay from Cashfloat.co.uk will help you understand the choices you have. Maternity leave isn’t as good here in the UK as it is in other European countries so it will take some planning to make sure that you can afford it, as what you can afford might dictate how much time you take off. It could also be that you partner is the one to take the majority of the time off. Either way, budget for it and perhaps ‘practice’ by living off just one income for a while. It can get you in the habit of putting money aside, as well as living within your means.
Once the medical finances have been ironed out it’s time to start thinking about the fun part of getting everything that you need for your baby. You may have some savings to dip into or some generous family members. Either way, you should look at what you can spare for all those baby items. From there you can decide what you can afford. It could mean buying secondhand, for example, as you can still get some good quality pushchairs that have been pre-loved. But you won’t know unless you make a plan and set a budget, after all, there’s no need to get into debt for these kind of things.
In the First Few Months
Once your baby is born, there is yet more planning and organising. One thing that a lot of people like to do quite early on is to consider getting life insurance or a bank account for your child – we actually did both. It can be a nice thing to pay into an account each month, then when they hit eighteen there will be money saved up for things like university or a deposit for a home. So although it might be one of the last things on your mind, it is actually really financially savvy to get something like that organised.
Again, it might be the last thing on your mind when you have a newborn but you need to start planning for childcare if you will be returning to work after your maternity leave and planning for childcare can take weeks, if not months. You need to check approved providers and you may want to visit them. There might be waiting lists in some cases – round our way some places have waiting lists up to a year long. So it’s a good idea to get your name down early.
There are also documents to sort, such as getting your child registered and getting their birth certificate. From there you can apply for things like child benefit if you qualify for it. It might not sound like much, but it can help cover the cost of things like nappies and wipes in the early days, every penny really does help. There are restrictions however, so knowing ahead of time if you do or don’t qualify can help you in your financial planning and budgeting.
Until now you might not have had a will, but when there is a child involved there are a lot more things to think about. Who would care for your child should the worst happen to you? It might sound a bit doom and gloom, but it is best to be sensible and be prepared. So getting a will, or adjusting an existing one, is a good idea now you have a little one to think about. Then you know that your wishes will be carried out should anything happen.
These are all the things we considered before having Max – Is there anything else that you would add to the list of financially planning for life with children?