Getting Your Finances in Order Before You Have a Baby

As I start to approach 30, the idea of starting a family has been a reoccurring topic in our household. Of course, all the inevitable questions start to pop up as we prepare for this new stage of our life: Are we financially stable? Are we emotionally ready? Can we afford it? How much will a baby add to our monthly expenses? How will we pay for college?

It can be completely overwhelming, both financially and emotionally, to think about adding a new addition to the family. But it’s also impossible to think that you’ll ever feel completely ready to take the pregnancy plunge. Here’s what we’re talking about in preparing financially for a baby:

Getting Our Finances in Order

Emergency Fund: For us, it’s critically important to have a certain sum of money saved up in case of an emergency. It is much easier to save up now than it will be after baby. For this reason, we’d like to have our emergency fund in place before we have a baby.

Maternity Leave Insurance: While the Family Medical Leave Act allows mothers to take three months off, in many states, this leave is unpaid. I feel fortunate that I live in California and get partial pay during this time, but securing maternity leave insurance before we conceive will help us feel more financially prepared for maternity leave and any delivery bills not covered by insurance. The key to this insurance is purchasing it before you are pregnant.

Purchasing a family car: Unfortunately, neither of our two-door cars will fit a car seat, which means purchasing a family car is inevitable before we have a baby. Let this be a lesson to young people! Think way long-term before you purchase the two-door car. When I purchased my vehicle at 22, I thought that by the time I wanted kids eight years later, we would be financially well-off enough to buy a new car. While a new car purchase won’t put us out, I wish it were an expense we didn’t have to worry about, especially as we are expanding our family.

Life Insurance: Neither of us have life insurance beyond what’s covered through our employers (4x my annual salary). The reality is that if something happened to either one of us right now, the survivor would be financially okay. However, that completely changes if we have a child to look after. For this reason, as soon as I get pregnant, priority #1 would be to secure additional life insurance for both of us.

What’s Not as Important to Us

Owning our own home: While we would love to be homeowners before we have a baby, we know we can’t financially do everything at once. If we are able to purchase a home beforehand, great, but if not, it’s not the end of the world. Thankfully, we live in a two-bedroom, so we don’t have to worry about moving, which can be stressful.

Traveling Everywhere: I have a baby bucket list with places and things I want to visit and do before I had a baby. I used to think that my life would come to a screeching halt as soon as I had kids. While we are still trying to travel as much as possible before we have children, seeing our friends with kids continue to travel is truly an inspiration for our future. Traveling doesn’t suddenly end just because you have kids, you just need to be more flexible.