When you are expecting a baby it is such an exciting time and it is easy to get swept up in the prospect of your lovely little family, but reality bites and at some stage you’ll need to have some conversations around money.
Your world is going to have some seismic shifts once your baby is born and it is important that you have had open and honest money conversations with your partner around what these changes are going to mean for you both. Regardless of your financial circumstances, your household income will take a hit. Even if you plan to return to work very quickly you’ll still have expenses you didn’t have before, including a significant child care expense.
So here are a few things you should cover when you sit down to talk about it:
You need to be clear with your partner about how long you want to be at home with the baby. Talk about this together with an open mind.
Things you will need to consider are:
What Immediate Steps Will You Take As a Couple to Save Before the Baby Arrives?
There are some items that you will have to buy before your baby is born – for example, you can not legally leave the hospital without an appropriately fitted car seat for the baby. Things like a car seat, pram, cot – these are ‘big ticket’ items which can set you back hundreds of dollars if all bought new.
Once you have these covered making a plan to stash some savings as a buffer for that first year is a wise decision, coming up with a plan together is the best way to approach it.
When money is already tight it can be easy to put education on the back burner – especially as it seems so far away. It comes around quicker than you’ll be prepared for and if you’d put a little bit away each week, you’ll be so thankful that you did.
The secret is to start early. For a relatively small amount (around $10 – 15 a week), companies like ASG can set you up with an education fund that will provide you with a good nest egg when those education expenses start rolling in. Make sure you agree on how much you both want to lock away each week and decide on a fund that suits the education goals you have. For more information on saving for education, you can read this post (link to Saving For Education article).
If you already have credit card debt or personal finance debt it is worth trying to clear this before the baby arrives. Consider seeing a financial counsellor or financial planner so you can make a plan to get rid of this debt before the baby arrives. It is important to determine who is responsible for clearing the debt, or if it will be a joint effort. Debt from a ‘past life’ can cause significant conflict if it is not clear how it will be managed.
You will need to analyse your spending habits and consider the amount your household income will be reduced so you can adjust your discretionary spending to suit. It is worthwhile doing this as soon as you find out you are pregnant as it will help with your saving plan, and not make the transition to parenting as difficult if you have learnt to live on less.
Look at each others spending and saving habits and try to meet halfway, the more you talk about it the less of an issue it will be. Make an agreement on how much you will each put away so it’s a joint effort. When your baby arrives neither of you are solely responsible for the financial aspects of child-rearing, so plenty of open conversations will help reduce conflict around money, so you can both enjoy all the great things that new parenthood brings.