The costs of raising a child
Children don’t stay small for long, and the costs you face in the early days, like nappies, bouncers and prams, can pale into comparison with the subsequent cost of raising teenagers.
Nonetheless, when two becomes three (or four, or five) you’re going to face additional household bills for food, clothing, energy consumption, and of course all the equipment a new baby needs from cots and car seats to bibs and bassinets. Remember too, taking holidays is likely to cost more in terms of fares and accommodation. And later on, you’ll face the expenses associated with giving your child a quality education.
Investing for your child
One of the best steps new parents can take to manage the financial aspect of parenthood is investing for their child’s needs. This can mean setting aside funds to cover school fees, a university education, or helping your older child buy a first car or even a first home.
Single and having a baby
Raising a baby on your own can be a rewarding though challenging experience. Remember too, if you are a single parent you may be eligible to receive certain financial government support. You may also be eligible to receive child support payments from your baby’s other parent.
Maternity leave and parental leave
If you are working, you may be entitled to maternity or paternity leave. It is worth letting your employer know at an early stage when you would like to start your maternity leave – some employers will stipulate the stage of your pregnancy you must begin maternity leave.
Aim to set a date for when you’d like to return to work also. This allows your employer to make arrangements for an interim employee.
These days it’s not unusual for both mums and dads to take leave, one after the other. By tagging your maternity and paternity leave this way, you both get to spend time with your baby, avoid child care costs and give your newborn the benefit of an extended period with mum and dad.
If you plan to return to work after the birth of your child, aim to make arrangements for child care at an early stage. It can be competitive to secure a spot in a centre near your home or workplace.
Government assistance for growing families
There are a raft of government support payments designed to help parents meet the costs of having a baby and raising their child. Be sure to apply early as it could take some time to be processed and for the payments to start coming through to you.
Private health insurance – does your family need it?
It is not essential to have private health cover, and many public hospitals offer excellent ante- and post-natal care. But if you prefer to have your own obstetrician or if you’d like to have your baby in a particular private hospital, it is worth reviewing your private health cover.
Be sure any policy you select meets your needs as a family. Many policies will let you cherry pick the services you most need at this stage of life. This means you are only paying for what you need.
Check out the government’s Private Health website for an ‘apples for apples’ comparison of different policies.
Life insurance - keep your family protected
The arrival of a new baby is a key life event, and that should always be a trigger to review your personal insurances.
Be sure to check you have adequate protection in place to provide for all your dependents if something were to happen to you. Remember too, to be sure your other half has up-to-date insurance cover.
Financial advice for families
Financial advice can be especially valuable for families. Whether you need help drafting a household budget or a complete financial plan to help ensure you can give your children the best opportunities possible, good financial advice can be a good investment.