A Baby Changes Everything – Part 1

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Anne Bednarz, CFP®, AIF® Financial Advisor

There is no greater joy than finding out that either you or a loved one is expecting to bring a new little baby into the world. It can bring a flood of emotions, from excitement to terror of not knowing what’s to come, but being prepared is a good first step.

I created a checklist to prepare new parents on the issues they will encounter along the way that may not be as obvious as cribs, car seats, and other items needed to care for a new baby. This is not an exhaustive checklist; everyone’s situation is different, but I hope to capture the general idea of things to consider prior to baby’s arrival. Feel free to use the checklist and make it your own along your expectant path. This checklist can also be used for families who adopt with a few minor edits. I have included an image of the checklist in the post, but there is a link for a printable version as well.

 

While most of this post is for someone who is already pregnant, I’ll digress momentarily — the first topic is for someone who’s planning to be pregnant in the near future.

Pre-Pregnancy

The most recent edit I have made to our expecting checklist is the topic of short-term disability insurance. If you don’t have short-term disability prior to becoming pregnant, that does not mean that you are unable to purchase a policy; however, any disability or unpaid time from work would not be covered for the existing pregnancy, as it is considered a “pre-existing” condition. However, any subsequent pregnancy would be covered after your nine- to twelve-month window, depending on the policy.

Disclaimer: not all short-term disability policies cover pregnancy/maternity leave, and it would only apply to mothers who give birth; short-term disability policies will not cover leave for parents who adopt.

 

Expecting — Back to Already Being Pregnant.

I’m a planner by profession and highly encourage all expectant parents to review the checklist below.

  1. You have more time with fewer interruptions before the baby arrives, especially if this is your first child.
  2. The sooner you can get a plan, the better.Life Changing Event Checklist - Expecting A New Baby - Both PagesClick here to view the checklist in a printable format. 

    The checklist is generally self-explanatory; however, there are a few points that I want to address in a little more depth.

    Adequate Emergency Fund

    Depending on your employer and family situation, your emergency fund may differ from the general rules of thumb of enough to pay for either three or six months of expenses. It depends on your employer and how its maternity/paternity/family leave policy works.

    • Are you covered by short-term disability while at home with the baby?
      • What is the elimination period prior to benefits being paid?
      • How long will benefits last?
      • What percentage of your income will be paid?
    • For working parents…
      • Do you need to use paid-time-off (PTO), vacation, or sick days?
      • Will your time at home with your baby be unpaid family leave?

    Expected Increase of Expenses per Month — A Few Items

    • Medical expenses for prenatal care and labor/delivery.
      • You can discuss this with your doctor’s office and the care facilities to determine what type of payment options they have.
    • Diapers — start stockpiling in advance.
    • Formula/Breastfeeding Supplies
    • Child Care

    Childcare Options

    This is unique to each person and how you view child care or if it will be needed. I highly recommend that you starting looking into child care at least four to six months in advance of the baby’s arrival.

    Many facilities have a waiting list that can be several months long. This will be the place that your child spends the majority of his or her waking hours; you need to be comfortable with the facility and the type of care that is provided to your child.

    Make an appointment to meet with the right personnel for your initial meeting. Bring a list of questions or concerns you have regarding the care of your child and how different situations would be addressed. I also encourage you to stop by without an appointment to see how the facility operates daily.

    Licensed care facilities are monitored by the state to ensure they are in compliance with the rules and regulations of the state. In Texas, the Department of Family and Protective Services website is where violations are reported and monitored.

    General Guidelines

    Discuss with your employer, human resources department, or supervisor your upcoming arrival. It is better to give everyone adequate notice of the new baby, so plans can be made and other colleagues can be trained to cover your responsibilities while you are out with your baby. Know what the policy for maternity/paternal/family leave is and what is required of you prior to taking your leave. Also, if your employer falls under the Family Medical Leave Act, know what type of protection that provides you and your job.

     

    There are a number of things that should be planned for prior to your baby’s arrival; however, relax and enjoy this time too. Seek out others who have prepared for a new baby. Family and friends are always happy to give insight, sometimes more than is wanted, but know they are eager to help make the transition a little smoother. If you are not sure whom to ask, feel free to contact me; I have children myself and will be expanding my family by one more in February. I will have another post and checklist in a couple of weeks for what to do after baby’s arrival.

    If you have any questions/comments, please feel free to reach out to me at 806-747-7995 or abednarz@ek-ff.com.