Adding a little bundle of joy to your family can rock your world. But his or her arrival can also rock your finances. From birth until age 19, your pride and joy can cost you up to $243,660. Plus, many kids are flying the coop later on in life, with some even returning home to live after university.
You may be thinking, “It costs HOW much to raise a child?!” You're not the only one. But don't panic. Instead, prepare financially to bring up baby with these six tips.
From birth until age 19, your pride and joy can cost you up to $243,660.”
1. Kick your debt to the curb.
Are you carrying around pesky credit card debt? Do you still have student loans from a decade ago? Debt is a ball and chain that can weigh heavily on your new family, so it's important to keep chipping away at it. Here's how to get started:
- Step one: Tally up your total balances and see how much you owe. While the number may make you want to run away and join the circus, it's crucial to tackle it head on.
- Step two: Find out your interest rates for each balance. (Interest is the fee you pay for the convenience of borrowing money, and it can quickly add up.) Focus on paying down your high-interest debt first.
- Step three: Make extra payments when you can afford to. For instance, as tempting as it is to blow your tax refund on a pair of designer shoes, use it to pay off part of a loan or credit card bill instead.
Getting out of debt is tough, but think of all that money you'll free up, which can be used to build savings.
2. Research your benefits, research child care, research, research, research. (Did we say research?)
Once your baby arrives, you'll have your hands full with round-the-clock feedings and diaper changes. That's why it's crucial to do your research on what you'll need before the birth.
As a Canadian, you're entitled to 52 weeks of parental leave if you've worked a certain number of hours in the months leading up to your little one's debut. Check to see if you're eligible, as well as what your monthly benefits will be, and whether your employer will kick anything in.
Also, if you're planning to return to work, you may want to look into child care options now. Not only can it cost an arm and a leg (more than $1,000 a month in some major centres!), it can also be difficult to secure a spot. You wouldn't be the first one to find yourself on a waiting list before your baby's due date.
Lastly, having a baby can mean additional expenses you haven't even thought of (like increased utility bills, baby-proofing your home, lots and lots of diapers and so on). Doing your research pre-birth can help you establish a budget before baby's on board.
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3. Prepare for unexpected illness or injury.
Having a baby is exciting, but can also be stressful. Suddenly, you're responsible for another human being and your health is more important than ever.
Unfortunately, sickness or injury could occur at any time, and if it's serious, it may mean additional medical bills and an inability to work. Critical illness insurance can help provide you with a financial safety net, helping to cover the costs of medical treatments not covered by the public health care system — allowing you to focus on getting well. Additionally, disability insurance can help you out financially if you're ill and can't work by supplementing a certain percentage of your income, helping you pay bills like your mortgage.
4. Create an emergency fund for those rainy days.
There may be days when you don't want to go to work and spend all your waking hours with the baby. It's normal. But if you no longer had a choice and got let go? The loss of income could be stressful.
It could also be a huge hit financially, which is why it's key to start building your emergency savings now. Consider automatically transferring over a percentage of your income to a separate savings account with each paycheck — as much as you can after paying your bills. Strive to save six-to-12 months’ worth of expenses, which can help you with this transition.
And try not to touch those funds unless a real emergency strikes.
5. Even though it's difficult, plan for your family's financial future should you pass away.
Having a baby can bring renewed joy to your life. It's tough to think of death at a time like this. We get that. But, it's crucial to help financially protect your family should you or a partner unexpectedly pass away.
Why get life insurance, though? More importantly, is life insurance necessary? Here's the deal — life insurance can help your loved ones cover funeral costs, as well as recoup some of the loss of income.
Plus, it can help cover mortgage costs and education-related debt, so your children don't have to go it alone. The last thing you want your family to do is worry about finances while they're mourning.
6. Avoid a pregnant pause on insurance.
Purchasing a life insurance policy now can be beneficial, as some issues — ranging from high blood pressure to the onset of gestational diabetes — may arise during pregnancy that could affect your ability to get life insurance down the road. Every pregnancy is different, but getting coverage in place when planning to start a family will give you the comfort of knowing you have coverage for the future.
Are you thinking about getting a life insurance policy? Get a quote today!
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These comments are general in nature and should not be construed to be legal or tax advice, as each client’s situation is different.
Please consult your own legal and tax advisor.