Millennial Money: New parents’ finances also need care
When caring for a newborn, it can be hard enough to make time to shower, let alone stay…
When caring for a newborn, it can be hard enough to carve out time to shower, let alone keep up with financial tasks. In the fog of sleep deprivation, you might miss a bill payment or buy random things online to help with baby care. Suddenly your credit scores are lower and your budget is stretched.
Planning for the baby itself – the name ideas, the nursery themes – is certainly more fun than developing a system to make sure you don’t forget to open the mail, but the last thing you want to do is leave money management to chance when your baby is born. comes. Here are ways to start financial nesting.
EXCLUDE IMPORTANT TASKS
Take advantage of the pre-baby months to make some big decisions, including:
— BABY HEALTH INSURANCE: Giving birth or adopting a child is considered a “qualifying life event” as far as health insurance coverage is concerned. That means you don’t have to wait for open enrollment to add your child to your plan, but you only have a limited amount of time — about one or two months — after birth or adoption to do so. Check your insurance plan rules to find out what your deadline would be. If you and your partner have separate plans, compare costs and decide who will take care of the baby.
— ESTATE PLANNING: Talk to a real estate attorney about drawing up a will, selecting a power of attorney and power of attorney, and setting up a trust for your child, if appropriate for your situation. “If something happened to one or both of you at the same time, it would create a host of problems for your child,” says Paul Sydlansky, founder and senior advisor at Lake Road Advisors in Corning, New York.
— LIFE INSURANCE: Life insurance can provide life insurance for your family should something happen to you, your partner, or both of you.
MAKE YOUR BUDGET BABY READY
From smaller ongoing purchases like diapers and formula to huge costs like childcare, those baby costs will add up. If you take unpaid parental leave or if one parent quits their job to take care of care full-time, the money coming in will change dramatically.
Start by identifying cuts you can make or bills you can renegotiate to reduce costs. If you have credit card debt and there’s room in your budget to aggressively pay it off, that can free up more money for necessities later on. Start by pricing out expected ongoing baby expenses, such as monthly childcare costs, so you can get a general idea of how your expenses will change.
Then automate bill payments for recurring expenses, such as credit cards, utilities, and mortgage payments. If you rent out your home and normally mail a check to your landlord, use your bank’s bill paying feature so that it sends checks on your behalf. Set up everything you can in advance so that these services continue without interruption and late fees.
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
Don’t forget to make room in your budget for unexpected costs.
Emily Rassam, a senior financial planner at Archer Investment Management in Charlotte, North Carolina, found herself spending more on self-care than planned. “My interest in grocery shopping and cooking plummeted during pregnancy,” she says. That meant more of her food budget went to restaurants and takeout.
Rassam also recommends confirming the cost of childbirth with your insurance company beforehand. For example, she learned that the hospital where she planned to give birth was in her insurance network, but the anesthesiologist was not. In that situation, getting an epidural would cost more than expected.
TAP IN YOUR VILLAGE
Your loved ones aren’t just great sources of hand-me-downs, advice, and free babysitting. They can also help with financial tasks, whether that’s checking in with you on your money goals or even reminding you of payment deadlines.
Lori Gross, a financial and investment advisor at Outlook Financial Center in Troy, Ohio, says neighbors have the same deadlines for expenses like property taxes and utilities, so ask them to text a reminder when they pay their bill so you don’t miss it. forgets.
“Family and friends are really good at helping with those things, but many parents are hesitant to ask for help,” says Gross. “They don’t think they’ll need it.”
This column was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Sara Rathner is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @SaraKRathner.
NerdWallet: Estate planning checklist: a 7-step guide to getting your affairs in order https://bit.ly/nerdwallet-estate-planning-a-7-step-checklist-of-the-basics
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