What do I need to do as far as insurance, budgeting, my will, and any other paperwork in order to be ready for my baby?
These are important questions, and now is the time to start thinking about it. The best time to get your finances in order is long before baby arrives. This checklist will help you get started.
[ ] Health Insurance
If you don’t have it, get it. If you are insured, read up on what’s covered and what’s not under your policy (screening tests, vitamins, doulas, etc.). If you need financial assistance, look into government programs like Women, Infants and Children (WIS) and Medicaid. Or, use the Bureau of Primary Health Care to locate a clinic near you that provides care regardless of insurance or ability to pay.
[ ] Disability Insurance
Remember: If you don't already have disability insurance, you cannot get it once you're pregnant. However, your mate can. Now's the time to make sure he has both short- and long-term coverage.
[ ] Life Insurance
Not pleasant to think about, but very important. Should anything happen to you or your mate, this ensures your child's financial security.
[ ] Maternity Leave
Bone up on your employer’s policies as well as your rights under the FMLA Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Also, think about whether you'll take unpaid leave once your paid leave is over, so you can start budgeting (and saving) well in advance.
[ ] Estate Planning
If you have a 401K or retirement account, update the beneficiaries if necessary. The same goes for your will, a must-have once you become a parent. Name a guardian for your child and outline any financial arrangements for after your passing.
[ ] Savings Plan
Figure out how much you need to sock away each month for big ticket items like tuition, summer camp, orthodontics, bar mitzvahs and weddings. (Yikes!) If you need help, ask your accountant or financial planner for advice. Any fee you pay for this service will be well worth it in the long run.
Part of creating a savings plan is making a realistic budget assessment. Consider whether you’ll need to move to a bigger place once baby arrives, what type of childcare you’ll need, and whether you can survive on your partner's salary should you decide to stop working. Then, actually try living on your new budget. Now's the time to see if it’ll really work once baby arrives!