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6 Vital Money Tasks to Tackle Before Your Baby Arrives

A pregnant woman sitting on her bed and holding her exposed baby bump
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Babies are adorable and loving -- and they come with a hefty price tag. The average middle-income couple will spend $241,080 to raise a child who was born in 2012 (not including extracurricular activities). Here are six financial tasks to complete to help ensure you're prepared.

1. Build Your Emergency Fund

Do you have a reserve cushion of three to six months of living expenses set aside? If not, get started on building one today by automating your savings and getting that first $1,000 set aside at a minimum. If you're a single-income household, it's best to be conservative and plan for six months of expenses in reserves.

2. Tackle Debt

Parenthood will likely be hard enough without the added stress of credit card and loan payments. If possible, pay down debt prior to the baby's arrival. Set a biweekly or monthly pay-down goal and refrain from adding to balances. By paying off early, you'll save money in interest and be able to shore up your savings faster.

3. Create or Update Your Budget

If you don't have a spending plan, create one using an online program and include changes in:
  • Groceries. How are items like baby food, diapers, formula and more going to change your spending? Where are the best prices?
  • Transportation. Will you need to buy a child-friendly car? Does your current one have room for a car seat? What are your options for updated transportation?
  • Child care. In some cities, paying for day care can run parallel to the amount of your mortgage. Explore and prepare for costs around nannies, day-care groups or individual care. If you're thinking of switching to one income, begin living off one income today and start stocking away the rest.
  • Medical costs. Contact your benefits department and insurance provider to get clear on premiums, copays and coverage for your new addition. How much will your premiums increase? Are vaccines covered? How often can you expect to go in for check-ups? Now is a good time to take advantage of your employer's Health Savings Account, if offer ed.
4. Get Your Affairs in Order

We don't like to think about the bad things that could happen in life, but making sure you have a plan in place is one of the best gifts you can give your family.
  • Wills. A will ensures your wishes are documented for your assets and appoints an executor to handle issues associated with your estate.
  • Guardianship. When appointing a guardian, consider who your children would feel the most comfortable with and what their values are. In addition, look to whom you think would most responsibly and effectively control any funds left to them.
5. Protect Yourself With the Right Kinds of Insurance
  • Life insurance. Life insurance isn't about you. It's about your family and ensuring they're protected and able to replace any income lost if something happened to you or your partner. Consider your debt levels, income, assets and existing policies to ensure your family has income to sustain its lifestyle.
  • Disability insurance. Should you be disabled for a short- or long-term period, this coverage will ensure you're paid a percentage of your income.
6. Communicate Often and Craft a Plan

Having a baby can be exciting and stressful. Whether you're going it alone or as a part of a team, check in on your expenses monthly and set SMART goals to keep accountable and on track with spending.

Mary Beth Storjohann is a certified financial planner and the founder and CEO of Workable Wealth.

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I am a father of 2 beautiful daughters, and to I can attest to how important life insurance is. There really is no excuse not to have it. I pay $24 a month for a policy from Life Ant, and my wife pays about $18. To have some peace of mind...yeah Ill take that any day. We both work so we definitely would struggle if something happened. I really hope we never need it though.

April 16 2014 at 10:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply