If you're thinking about starting a family, you know that having children can be an exciting time that also comes with many economic and practical challenges. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you consider starting a family of your own.
Building an emergency fund
From tuition to moving expenses and vacations, families often plan for big expenses years in advance. While it's important to plan for big life events, it's important to plan for unforeseen costs as well. That's why it's key to build an emergency fund to deal with unexpected expenses. With a family, costs are often multiplied, and a setback can be expensive-having enough saved up can make a big difference. As you outline your hopes, plans, and goals, consider discussing the details of an emergency fund with your partner.
One of the most important considerations when starting a family is choice of health insurance. It's no secret that for the uninsured, medical issues can become very costly. However, even for the insured, medical plans can come with high deductibles, large copays, or other costs that can add up quickly, especially with children. To avoid expensive medical costs, it's important to find the right health insurance plan for you and your family.
Having a child is also often a reason parents get their first life insurance policy. If something were to happen, the surviving spouse would be left with the same bills, mortgage, and caretaking responsibilities. This is why new families often opt for a life insurance policy. A 20-year term life policy, for example, is often enough to cover a new family until the children become adults.
Where you want to live
You've planned for expenses and accounted for unforeseen challenges; now it's time to think about where you'd like your family to settle down. Starting a family is often the impetus for a big move. For example, many people choose to move away from a city and into the suburbs. It's also a time when many couples purchase their first home. Where you live affects job opportunities, education, health outcomes, your children's social ingroup and how often your parents will be able to visit-so choose carefully!
If parents plan to continue working after having a child, it's necessary to have a plan for childcare once parental leave ends. If no relative can fill in as a caregiver during work hours, plan to set aside money for childcare. There are several options, including daycare, nannies, and nanny share, so it's important to figure out what works for your budget and lifestyle. Many companies also offer flexible spending accounts that allow parents to save pre-tax money to pay for some forms of childcare.
Raising a family is expensive. Taken at once, the expenses and unforeseen costs of raising a family might seem daunting. However, by setting goals and planning, it's possible to account for unknowns and set your loved ones up for success.
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