Posted on Friday 20 April 2018
This article is part of our Finance Hub.
Having children is one of the most significant milestones in the life of any adult. In the best case scenarios, knowing that a baby is on the way can be very exciting and even a little nerve-wracking. However, without the proper financial planning, excitement can quickly become stress while nerve-wracking can morph into downright terrifying. This is why financial preparation for the newest member(s) of the family is absolutely imperative.
Virtually everyone has heard the infamous phrase: "Kids are expensive." Many people even believe it and rightfully so. However, hearing that children are pricey and getting a numerical breakdown of the associated, ongoing costs of childcare are two different things. The exact digits can help people understand the gravity of the costs which will definitely become real. Anyone who is preparing to have kids needs to, at the very least, have an idea of the specific average costs. Thankfully, Discover thoroughly breaks down each facet of childcare and how much they amount to. For instance, the average annual expenses of raising a child within the first two years cost over $12,600. This breaks down to the following average, yearly costs: $2,900 for education/childcare, $1,800 for transportation, $800 for clothes, $3,700 for lodging, $1,600 for food, $1,200 for healthcare, and $900 for various other expenses. Granted, these costs can be higher or lower depending on assorted factors, but nevertheless, the aforementioned costs provide an idea into how pricey it is to care for one child just within the first 24 months.
An emergency fund is paramount for all adults; however, it becomes fifty times more critical when a baby is involved. The truth is that no matter how much money is carefully budgeted out, unforeseen costs have a way of arising, especially when babies are involved. According to USA Today, new parents are advised to save up to [at least] six months of living expenses in the event of any crises or urgent matters. Even after the arrival of the baby, the aforementioned emergency fund should not be touched unless it is absolutely necessary.
While budgeting and saving money are incredibly important financial planning steps for having children, the positive impacts are severely counteracted without the existence of steady and reliable income. This is why Money Crashers recommends for expecting parents to have ongoing pay and preferably an established position, particularly if one works in a company. Each family has varying work situations and what is applicable to some parents may not be suitable for others. While each circumstance and career path is different, steady and reliable income is utterly paramount when starting and expanding a family.
Children are a blessing to any loving couple who is ready to grow as a family. The ability to enact strategic financial plans is guaranteed to make raising kids much easier and stress-free than it would be without any preparation. Understanding the expenses associated with children, maintaining a healthy emergency fund, and ensuring streams of reliable income will make a significant impact. Although the ups and downs of parenthood are unavoidable, even with the best of plans, following the foregoing steps will prevent many problems both in the short-term and the long-term.