Having a baby has given you a new perspective on life — including your finances. Suddenly, you’re not just worried about making it until the next paycheck. Instead, you’re thinking about things like how you can set your child up for the brightest future possible and how to care for your family if something happens to you.
Revisiting your financial plan during major life changes is always a smart move, and there’s no doubt that starting a family is a big change. Instead of just worrying about your finances, take these actions to set your family’s future up for success.
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Enroll Your Baby in Health Insurance
Signing your child up for health insurance is one of the first financial matters to take care of after having a baby. Depending on your insurance provider, you’ll have 30 to 60 days to enroll your child in health coverage. You can enroll your child in an existing policy, change policies, or enroll in CHIP or Medicaid if you qualify.
Buy a Life Insurance Policy
Health insurance isn’t the only policy you need. Life insurance becomes important after you have kids because most couples couldn’t cover the costs of living including childcare on a single income. Life insurance keeps your family afloat if the worst happens, and buying it doesn’t have to be complicated. You can compare quotes online before talking with an agent, and if you want, you can even get a policy that skips the medical exam; neither simplified issue nor guaranteed issue life insurance policies require medical exams. However, if you’re in good health, you’ll probably save money with a medically underwritten policy.
Update Your Beneficiaries
As you get life insurance in order, think about the other accounts and policies you have. Have you updated beneficiaries since starting a family, or do you still have exes or your parents named on accounts? Update retirement accounts, insurance policies, and wills so they name your spouse or a trust as the beneficiary.
Upsize Your Emergency Fund
Insurance protects against big emergencies, but what about the little mishaps that throw a wrench in your finances? Whether it’s a broken-down car or a sick child keeping you out of work, it’s important to have a financial cushion for weathering all of life’s little emergencies. If you normally keep a three-month emergency fund, bump it up to six months now that you have a family. And if you don’t have an emergency fund at all, now is the time to start one!
Start an Educational Savings Account
It may feel strange thinking about college when your child is still a newborn, but it’s never too soon to start saving for your child’s future. Plus, education savings accounts aren’t only for college expenses. Depending on the type of account, you can use your savings for education expenses spanning from elementary school through college.
Make Sure Your Business Stays in Order
New parents who also run a business need to make sure they keep a close eye on operations, as time marches on regardless. For example, if you haven’t yet registered your business as an LLC, take some time to do so, as this will help protect your personal finances from your business’s finances in the event that something goes wrong. You can simplify the registration process by using a formation service like Zenbusiness.
It’s also very important to make those quarterly tax payments on time; this can help you avoid trouble come tax time, as the last thing you want is to stare down a larger-than-expected tax bill. Last but not least, devote some time every day to your business’s finances, which will help keep you abreast of what’s happening and what needs to be addressed.
Bonus: Plan for Charitable Giving
It’s not in the budget for every family, but if it is for yours, consider making charitable giving part of your family’s financial plan. Charitable giving is a wonderful way to help less privileged families and sets a great example for your children as well. Whether you give money or give time, your contributions make a big impact on the missions you serve.
It takes more than money to raise great kids, but that doesn’t mean finances aren’t important when starting a family. The steps you take today will impact your family’s financial well-being for years to come, so make sure you’re putting financial security at the top of your to-do list. When you make these financial moves a priority, you create a bright future for your growing family.
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