Welcoming a new family member is exciting but with so many aspects of your life changing, when it comes to your finances some forward planning can make the transition so much easier.
Fortunately, babies allow several months to prepare for their arrival and can be easy to get caught up in the excitement. When making preparations it’s important to have all of Bub’s needs ready; but is equally important for Mum and Dad to be financially organised.
It’s wise to conduct a review of your financial affairs as early as possible, even before you start your family. A good idea is to draw up a “baby-budget”. Do this by listing all household income and expenses under three columns: before pregnancy, during pregnancy and after pregnancy.
This allows you to see and compare your financial position at the different stages you’re going to experience.
If you have difficulty keeping track of incidental spending you’re not alone – many people can’t account for where their money goes. To help, ASIC has developed an app you can download from its Money Smart website, www.moneysmart.gov.au called TrackMySpend. It suggests using this app for two weeks prior to completing your baby-budget and reports that people are often surprised by the results.
Determine your entitlements
At least one parent will probably take time off work and the potential reduction of household income can be daunting. Understanding your support entitlements upfront can relieve some of the worry.
The federal government offers eligible parents up to 18 weeks Parental Leave Pay. Centrelink has a Paid Parental Leave comparison estimator on its website, www.humanservices.gov.au. This tool will estimate your entitlement and enable you to determine the best option for your family.
If you decide to return to work after Bub arrives, you may qualify for government assistance with the cost of childcare. The Department of Human Services can provide information about your eligibility. Again visit www.humanservices.gov.au.
Planning= less stress
People often set up a savings strategy for key life events like buying a home, a major holiday or retirement.Having a baby is more than a key event – it is life-changing – yet few people consider saving for it.
Your financial adviser can assist you in creating a practical household budget and set up a savings plan that will help cover large or unexpected costs. At this time you should also consider life insurance to protect your family’s future.
Planning ahead will provide peace of mind and place you in the best possible position towel come the newest member of your family.