Babies are both adorable and expensive. The cost of raising a child to age 18 is a whopping $233,610, according to a 2017 report. You can provide financial security for your family by making these six money moves before your little one arrives.
1. Update your budget.
Your current budget doesn’t include infant essentials like diapers, wipes and onesies – not to mention the cost of health insurance and childcare. Examine all of the expenses of adding an extra member to the family, taking into account a potential loss of income if one parent decides to stay home after the baby is born, to create a new, post-baby budget.
2. Build up your savings account.
Your finances may take a serious hit during your maternity or paternity leave, especially if your employer doesn’t cover your wages. Aim to build a safety net that will cover at least six months of living expenses. A savings account will help with the costs of bringing home baby and cover any unexpected expenses once she arrives.
3. Purchase (or upgrade) life insurance.
More than one-third of parents have no life insurance coverage, according to one survey. Without life insurance, you risk leaving loved ones without the means to cover the mortgage or fund a college education. Your Farm Bureau agent can help set you up with the life insurance policy to best fit your family’s needs.
4. Establish an HSA or FSA.
If you have a high-deductible health insurance plan (HDHP) you can set aside $3,450 (for self-only HDHP and $6,900 for family HDHP coverage) in a health savings account or HSA to cover approved medical expenses such as health insurance premiums, co-pays and prescriptions¹. HSA limits are set to increase in 2019. Contributions are tax deductible, grow tax free and can be withdrawn for medical expenses without being taxed. A Flexible Savings Account or FSA is an employer-sponsored plan that allows you to set aside money from your paycheck — up to a maximum of $2,650 per year — to cover qualified medical expenses.
5. Plan for college.
Your little one might be too small to know his or her ABC’s but that doesn’t mean it’s too soon to start planning for college. The average cost of tuition and fees in 2018 was almost $10,000 at public colleges and more than $34,000 at private colleges — and those fees are going to grow as fast as your child. Starting a 529 Savings Plan now ensures you’ll be able to help with the cost of college.
6. Write a will
Yes, it’s unpleasant to think about but having a new baby makes preparing a will more important than ever. In addition to providing instructions for the distribution of your assets, you’ll need to name a guardian for your child. (If you don’t name a guardian — or don’t have a will — the decision will be left up to a judge).
Making some key financial moves before your baby arrives will allow you to spend time with your little one without worrying about your financial future.
¹2018 HSA contribution limits