Ask any parent and they will gladly confirm without hesitation -- kids change everything.
Becoming a parent is an immense blessing that changes our view of the world, our capacity to love, and our priorities. No doubt, having kids can therefore drastically change our finances. Adjusting to the new norms and overall financial impact of raising a child can be a challenge. These 6 financial tips can be a helpful guide to any couple who is preparing for or has recently become a new parent.
1. Continue to Tithe
It is natural for any parent to want to give everything they can to their kids in order to offer them the best possible upbringing. While this feels selfless (and it is), it cannot take the place of selfless giving to the Church and to the Kingdom. We are to give our first fruits to God. This shouldn’t change after having kids.
2. Preserve Savings as Much as Possible
New parents continually face the ‘need’ to make significant purchases such as cribs, car seats, and strollers, just to name a few. This will rapidly deplete savings if these purchases are made impulsively and without foresight. Instead, start with a list of big purchases on the horizon. Prioritize the list, and then get creative with how and where to find savings.
Ask friends or family with kids for their advice: What was worth spending the money on and what purchases would they have approached differently? Many items can be purchased in slightly used condition and work just as well as new for a fraction of the cost. The generosity of others is also likely to factor in. Humbly ‘accepting without expecting’ is a good policy when it comes to baby showers and the like.
3. Set a New Budget
As life looks drastically different so, too, will the budget. Have the important conversations early and often. Address topics like health insurance, future work outlook, and day care as soon as possible. Continue to revisit these conversations in perpetuity as needed.
Then, transpose the financial implications of these conversations into a working budget. Start with all the knowns. Keep a best guess placeholder for any unknowns and update it regularly as circumstances evolve. The goal is to maintain margin within an ever-changing scenario.
4. Plan for the Future
Parents have the joy of watching their kids grow and mature over time. Most will say that this seems to happen too quickly! This is all the more reason to invest early into savings vehicles like a 529 college savings plans so that it, too, can grow and mature over time. This is just one of many ways to take advantage of the time value of money and secure a strong foundation for the child’s future.
5. Protect against ‘Worst-Case Scenarios’
Thinking about how life would change if a parent were to pass away or become ill is not pleasant. The birth of a child, however, makes it even more important to be prepared for all the ‘what-ifs’. Strongly consider starting or adding to term life-insurance policies that adequately cover both parents (even if only one will be earning an income). Long-term disability, if not offered through an employer, is also wise to have in place.
Also, now is an excellent time to create or revisit a will and other estate planning documents. It is important to have named a guardian for all children and determine what will happen to all assets should both parents pass away.
6. Continue to Communicate
We highlighted the importance of clear communication in our post last month titled “7 Musts for Money and Marriage”. Communication is no less important after becoming a parent, yet it can be even more difficult. Parents have their hands full and are in demand around the clock. This means their attention and their energy are going toward caring for the child. But it is essential that couples not compromise time and communication with each other. Keep in mind that the space to communicate and be together will typically no longer offer itself as freely anymore; it often must be intentionally set aside and protected. Prioritize time as a couple and communicate openly about everything, including finances.
Staying on top of financial goals often isn’t easy for couples that have just had (or will soon have) their world changed by the birth of a child. Couples need not go at it alone. Wacek Financial Planning is here to help!
About Wacek Financial Planning
Founder, Ben Wacek, is a fee-only, Certified Financial PlannerTM who has a passion to help people of all income levels make wise financial decisions and steward their resources from an eternal perspective, using Biblical principles. If you’d like to learn more about Wacek Financial Planning, please visit www.wacekfp.com.
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