You're expecting a baby: Congratulations!
Parenthood is one of the most significant milestones you'll ever accomplish. It can also be stressful, as your life is about to really change with a new addition to the family.
Some careful preparation can help. Instead of worrying about ticking these items off once the baby arrives, start working on them now so you can enjoy your newborn time with a few less to-dos.
1. Establish a Financial Plan
Be realistic about the costs of having a kid. According to Investopedia, the average cost of raising a baby in its first year is around $21,000 for a household earning $40,000, and $52,000 for a household earning $200,000.1 The majority of parents grossly underestimate the cost.
Over time, the average American family will have spent around $233,610 for a kid once they turn the age of 18. Knowing these costs, you (and your partner, if you have one) should establish a financial plan now.
Rethink your current budget and ways to cut costs to put those toward expenses for your child. You may also want to consider creating a college savings plan, like a 529 Plan, to help save money for your child's future education.
As you save for your child, continue to contribute to your own savings, like a Roth IRA, for your retirement. You may want to work with a professional financial advisor who can help you plan for your new family member.
2. Get Life Insurance for Parents
An essential way to protect your family's financial future is to get life insurance policy for parents. Life insurance provides financial benefits to your family in case an insured parent passes on. Both you and your partner/spouse can get life insurance policies that protect your little one and your family.
Generally, the younger and better health you're in, the lower the rate you're able to lock in. In many cases, you're able to get life insurance when you're pregnant. It's recommended to get life insurance before your baby is born, in case you experience pregnancy complications or health issues after labor. That can increase your premium price or put you at risk for getting denied for life insurance.
It's important to talk with a life insurance agent early on about what your life insurance options are as new parents, so you can lock in a low rate on a comprehensive plan.
3. Solidify a Work-Life Balance
In the United States, on average, around 60% of families with kids have both parents working. Only 3% of families have neither parent employed.
If you're currently working and are interested in working after having a kid, find out what new parent benefits you have at your job. Some employers offer both maternal and paternal paid leave. Some provide on-site childcare. Some will offer extended leave for moms who have a C-section.
It's important to know what the maternity and/or paternity pay will be, because in some cases, it may be a fraction of your typical weekly pay. You'll want to factor that in to your budget.
Also, talking with your manager about your post-pregnancy plans helps your team prepare for your absence. You may need to train another employee on what you're working on or complete certain actions before you leave for your baby.
Now may also be a good time to discuss remote work options and a flexible schedule. Your employer may be open to having you work from home a few days a week, or may be willing to adjust your schedule for when you need to drop your newborn off to daycare.
4. Establish a Living Trust
If you've never thought about estate planning, pregnancy is definitely the time to start thinking about things like these. A will is a document that's enforceable in court that states how you want your assets distributed and your affairs handled after you die. In a will, you can also appoint guardianship for your children. A trust is a way to give another party legal authority to handle your assets and how they're distributed to beneficiaries.
One major advantage to a trust over a will is that you avoid probate. Probate is the process of a will being proved in a court of law. Probate takes time, costs court and attorney fees, and can get complicated when there are disagreements about the will.
A living trust enables the property owner to make changes while they're alive. When the property owner dies, the property is immediately passed on to the beneficiaries who are named.
5. Baby-Proof Your Home
As you prepare to welcome a newborn into your home, you'll want make sure your home is safe for your baby. The process of baby-proofing a home also gives you the opportunity to take inventory of things you don't need in your home. You can sell or give away unwanted items, get rid of clutter in your space and create more space for the baby.
To make your home safe for your baby, remember to do the following.
- Set your hot-water heater to less than 120 degrees.
- Add child-proof locks to toilet covers.
- Add locks to bathroom doors.
- Add door knob covers to door knobs.
- Remove tablecloths from tables. Secure windows.
- Add corner guards to tables.
- Put household cleaners, laundry detergents and medications in a secure place.
- Use safety gates near stairs.
- Keep window cords out of reach. Or, replace window treatments with cords with cordless blinds.
- Cover electrical outlets with tight-fitting covers.
- Move heavy objects to baby-safe locations.
It might sound silly, but crawling around your home from a baby's point-of-view can give you an idea of all the hazards they might encounter.
Be sure to have everything ready for when your newborn arrives with this handy list.
- Diaper changing pads
- Diaper rash ointment
- Waterproof pads for changing table
- Rattles and small toys
- Dirty diaper receptacle
- Wipes or cotton cloths
- Small thermos to hold warm water
- Plastic wipes holder
- Newborn diapers
- One-piece outfits that snap at the crotch
- Pajama sets
- Soft booties
- Stretch cotton pants
- Cotton sweater
- Knit cap
- Sun hat
- Zip-up sweatshirt
- Baby hangers
- Nursing pillow
- Burp cloths
- Bottles equipped with newborn nipples
- Bottle brush
- Insulated bottle holder for diaper bag
- Nursing bras
- Nursing pads for bras
- Breast pump
- Hooded towels
- Cotton swabs
- Baby shampoo
- Baby body wash
- Infant bathing tub
- Baby nail clipper
- Soft brush and comb
- Rubbing alcohol
- Petroleum jelly
- Digital thermometer
- Bulb nasal aspirator
- Mild soap for laundry
- Receiving blankets
- Cotton blankets
- Cradle or bassinet with cotton sheets
- Crib mattress pads
- Waterproof liners
- Crib and mattress
- Glider/Rocking chair and footrest
- Baby monitor with receivers
- Changing table
- Cool mist humidifier or vaporizer
- Lullaby music
ON THE GO
- Rear-facing infant car seat with head support
- Sun shields for car windows
- Portable playpen
- Diaper bag
- Sling or soft front carrier
- Bouncy seat
- Baby books
- Smart phone for camera
- Baby music CDs
- Playmat with toys attached
- Squishy baby ball
To be sure to have everything ready for when your newborn arrives!
Protect Your Baby Now & In the Future
Having a baby is an exciting time for your family. There's so much to do, but by checking things off your list now, you'll be more able to live in the moment once your baby arrives home.
If you have questions about family life insurance, contact the friendly experts at AIG Direct.