Written By Own Your Destiny Team:
For many of us, financial literacy can be a daunting skill to master, even when we’re single with no dependents. After all, a 2017 study found that 59% of middle-class women said worrying about money impacts their stress levels and overall mental health. But when you’re expecting a baby, budgeting and financial preparation becomes immensely important. To foster better financial health for women who are soon-to-be moms, we’ve put together a few tips that can help you ensure you’ll be in a good place by the time your baby makes their way into the world.
- Understand your insurance coverage
There are no two ways about it: caring for a baby is expensive. But giving birth is quite costly, too. That’s why it’s so important to have a clear understanding of your insurance policy and what it will (and won’t) cover. The costs of prenatal care, labor, and delivery really add up, even if you have great insurance. Make sure you choose doctors in your network and that you know what kinds of costs you might be facing when it’s time for your little one to be born. That way, you can better plan for these bills in advance and won’t be stuck with an unwelcome surprise when your bundle of joy makes their appearance.
- Find out maternity and/or paternity leave policies
In recent years, family leave has gotten a bit more attention. Whether or not you (and your partner, if you have one) are able to get paid time off after having a baby will have a huge impact on your finances. You will need to find out your employer’s policies, as well as your state’s laws, pertaining to paid family leave. Your workplace may not have an official leave policy, or it may have one that allows you to take only unpaid time off. Other policies may provide less-than-full pay. No matter what, you’ll need to have as much information as you can to ensure that bills and other expenses won’t be a financial burden during this time. Having a good understanding of total income is really the only way to ensure financial health for women who are expecting.
- Create a pre-baby and post-baby budget
Now that you have a better idea of what costs you can expect before and during your baby’s arrival and whether or not your job will give you paid maternity leave, it’s time to start creating a budget — two, to be exact. One of these budgets should outline your expenses before baby comes and the other should outline expected costs after delivery. You should include a shopping list for baby to keep spending to a minimum (as impossible as that may seem!) and a record of all other expenses like your mortgage payments, utilities, food, gas, and more. This can help you find areas you could stand to cut back on and ensure you don’t go out of control when it’s time to buy for baby. You’ll also want to draft a separate post-delivery budget that includes repeated costs like childcare, food, clothing, diapers, and other household expenses. While you may not have a totally clear idea of those costs yet, it’ll get you thinking about them. You can always add or amend them later on.
- Start an emergency fund and seek out financial assistance
When it comes to comprehensive financial health for women expecting a child, having an emergency fund is key. Accidents and emergencies will happen when you least expect them, so you should have an account set up for those surprises. Experts recommend that you have three to six months’ worth of living expenses in this account. That way, you’ll be covered if you have unexpected medical costs or can’t go back to work right away. This is also a good time to seek out help from a coach who specializes in financial health for women to really ensure you’ve planned ahead as well as you can.
When you’re planning ahead for baby’s arrival, don’t forget about your finances. Need help preparing and making smart financial decisions? Own Your Destiny Coaching is here for you. Contact us today for more information.