Guest Post: Essential Financial Planning Tips and Steps All Parents Should Know

 Having a baby in your 30's can be stressful enough. Trust me, I know firsthand about all of those challenges. In addition to avoiding all of the peer pressure that comes with being an older mom, you also need to worry about navigating the financial changes that come with starting a family. Thankfully, being older also tends to mean being wiser when it comes to your budget and finances. Still, even if you think your budget is stable, it never hurts to take a closer look at your finances to see if there is room for improvement. This can be especially true when it comes to your family's financial future. That's why parents of all ages need these financial planning tips.

You Definitely Need Life Insurance

If you're anything like me, you probably spent the last decade of your life not worrying about things like life insurance. Once you become a mom, however, you realize how important it is to have these financial safeguards in place. Buying life insurance can suddenly become a priority rather than an afterthought. Even if you are a stay-at-home mom, your family will need that extra financial cushion to offset all of the childcare and household work you provide, so make sure that both you and your partner have adequate life insurance coverage.

You don't need to worry about contacting an agent to get the best life insurance for your family, especially when you shop online. Online tools, like make it simple for busy moms to compare premiums and purchase policies, which can be a lifesaver when you are also caring for a new baby.

You May Want to Buy a New Home

With your first baby on the way, you may begin thinking about reaching other milestones in your life, especially when it comes to your finances. For example, buying a new home is often a step for new moms and parents, and owning real estate property can potentially provide some added financial cushion for your future. You or your partner will need to have a stable and secure source of income in order to become homeowners with minimal stress, but you should also feel mostly positive about this major purchase. If you feel anxious or feel like you are making this decision after being pressured by peers, consider waiting for a bit. It's normal to feel some stress when buying a home though, especially when it comes to securing a home loan. Keep in mind, that even if you are in your 30s and have a solid credit score, you may still need to come up with a down payment to secure the best interest rates on your home loan. Some lenders allow down payments as low as 3 percent, but others may require 20 percent or more. If coming up with that money is overwhelming right now, renting your home may be best for your budget.

You Don't Need to Pay Off All Debts

Take it from me, having a kid is expensive! The average cost to raise a child in America is currently hovering at $233,610, and those costs are only going to go up as your child grows older. Of course, that figure only factors in basic expenses, such as food and clothing, so anything extra, like toys and birthday parties, will only tack onto that price tag.

If you are stressed out about other financial matters, adding this tension can be overwhelming. With this in mind, you may think that paying off debts is your best bet for ensuring financial stability once your baby is born, but that could be a costly mistake. If you have high-interest debts, like credit cards or loans, paying them off may make sense but other debts can actually bolster your finances. For instance, making payments on a mortgage can help raise your credit score and provide other financial benefits. Instead of throwing extra cash at these debts, consider putting that money into your savings account, so you will be prepared for emergencies.

You May Not Need to Pay Off Student Loans

Are you struggling with student debt? You're definitely not alone with that financial burden. Most Millenials rack up $200,000 or more in student loan debt in the process of getting an education, but you don't have to let your debt prevent you from becoming a parent. That's because you can take advantage of several student loan programs to make that massive debt more manageable. You may qualify for an income-driven repayment plan, which will lower your monthly payments to match your current income or you can even apply for a forbearance if you need to save a little extra to pay for your new baby's needs. Keep in mind, that these options still allow interest to accrue on your student loan debt, so you should only use them when completely necessary for financial stability. Otherwise, finding simple ways to save could help you lighten your student loan load faster and also help you reduce all of that financial stress. Those steps can include buying used baby clothes and using automated savings apps, and you can put all of the extra cash you end up saving towards paying off your loans much faster.

Taking care of these tiny steps may not seem like such a big deal, but it can do wonders for the stability of your financial future. Plus, by taking some time to check these financial tasks off your to-do list, you may also be able to reduce some of the stress and anxiety that seems to come with becoming a parent. That alone can be worth any extra time or effort it takes to complete these financial planning steps, especially when you need to focus on caring for a newborn.

Photo Credit: Rawpixel

After losing her husband Greg, Sara Bailey created to support her fellow widows and widowers.

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Thursday, 29 September 2022

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