Family planning often means financial planning and quite likely, a change in the way you see your finances. Whether you are starting a family or welcoming a new addition, there are financial realities you can't ignore. Planning and saving for those realities can help to reduce anxieties, and help to make the financial side of the experience easier.
If you're expecting a new child, one of the first things you'll want to consider is any loss of income that will occur during and after pregnancy. (Maternity leave policies can vary, so be sure to review your company's policy in advance.) Parenting and Lamaze classes carry expenses. Review your health insurance to verify coverage for childbirth, especially if you are planning an out-of-hospital birth, such as at a birth center. Some hospitals and fertility clinics now have financial coordinators who can help maximize the insurance benefits available to you through your insurance plan.
A new baby means some new day-to-day expenses. Your baby's food, clothing, and especially diaper costs will increase your household expenditures. Another consideration is the cost of childcare. Study your daycare options early, and plan beforehand. It's wise to plan for "unforeseen expenses" and while there's no way to know exactly what those will be, I can tell you from experience you'll have them.
Finally, you'll want to consider your baby's future. Education planning can never start "too early" in fact, you can actually start planning for college even before a child is born. If your parents have an estate plan or an IRA, they may want to direct wealth toward their new grandchild someday, so estate plans and beneficiary designations may need to be revised.
Ask many financial analysts, and they'll tell you a home is a family's biggest investment but can any material investment compare to the investment we make in our children?
Is there ever an investment more valuable?
If you're starting a family, think about setting a financial plan in motion, so you can welcome the new baby with less financial stress and more capability to meet the expenses that come with the most rewarding investment of all.