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Financial Tips for Future Families

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Planning to start a family? If so, chances are you already know that having children can be a costly, if immensely rewarding, life event. Some couples who already have several young ones running around the house will tell you, it's all about financial planning, especially for a first child. Here's a very condensed version of ways to make the financial impact of a first birth less stressful than it otherwise might be.

Start Saving ASAP

The journey to being a family begins with saving. If you don't already have a savings account, set one up and contribute as much as you can to it every month (or, preferably, twice per month). Even if your finances are thin right now, having a small stash of cash will inevitably come in handy as the time you least expect to need it.

Additionally, make the time to create pre-birth and post-delivery budgets. They'll likely be very different kinds of plans, but it's essential to make them so you'll have an idea of where all your money will be going during each phase of the process. The good news is that there are many templates out there to use as a guide for building these two budgets. The secret is in anticipating every conceivable cost. Husbands and wives should brainstorm together when making a master list of potential costs associated with the birth.

Reduce Monthly Expenses the Smart Way

If you have a student loan, work with a private lender to refinance it. Doing so can help free up funds in the monthly budget at a time when you really need some breathing room, could mean a lower rate, and is the most efficient technique for reducing monthly expenses as you prepare to start a family.

Shop For an In-Network Doctor and Hospital

Even if you have good insurance in your mind, it’s worth it to double-check the listing of in-network providers for all the different medical professionals, clinics, and hospitals you intend to use. Avoid any out-of-network facilities and services. The cost differences are often immense, so strictly opt of in-network choices.

Read Fine Print on Maternity Leave Policies

Never assume all employer maternity leave policies are created equal. In fact, they all have unique aspects that you won't be aware of until you read the boring fine print. These things are written by lawyers, so get ready to parse sentences and look up relevant terms. If you have a question about anything in the policy, speak with the human resources person at your company and get full, understandable answers. A comprehensive maternity leave policy can make a significant financial difference when it comes to childcare costs, reduced pay for extended leave, and other core features of the plan.

Make a Will

If you do not already have a will, now is the time to create one. Having a will may seem like something that can cause stress but the truth is, creating a will is a great tool for stress management at any stage of life. If finances are tight, consider a DIY version, templates for which you can download and simply fill in the blanks. For about $150, most attorneys will guide you through the process over the phone and make sure you're doing it correctly. Maybe you've gotten along without a will for a very long time. However, when you start bringing children into the world, you absolutely must have a last will and testament. Don't forget to update this vital document at least once every two years.

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