New Arrival

Get the latest information and tips on financial planning.

Starting a Family - There's More to Think About than Education

When my wife, Stephanie, and I were first starting a family of our own, we purchased a beautiful baby bed that we were sure would last for each child we planned to have. We set it up, bought beautiful linens and loved watching our son Gates sleeping in the cradle. What we didn't expect was that our cat, Techno, thought we had brought this beautiful bed home for her! So, in order to keep the cat out of the cradle, we had to cover it with duct tape and tinfoil anytime the baby wasn't in it! So much for our beautiful and perfect baby bed!

Starting a family will be full of surprises no matter how prepared you are. Whether it's something silly like a tinfoil-covered cradle or something large such as unexpected medical expenses, we always encourage new parents to prepare as much as possible but still expect the unexpected.

One of the first things new parents need to think about is healthcare coverage for the mother and for the baby after the little bundle arrives. When couples first get married, it's often cheaper to stay on separate health plans through each spouse's respective employer, but perhaps now it's time to think about a family plan. Two relatively healthy parents who don't use health insurance very often might be fine with a high-deductible plan, but perhaps a preferred provider organization (PPO) and a lower deductible would be better options now.

It also makes sense to review other available employee benefits outside of health insurance. Even if it's not open enrollment time at your employer, a "qualifying event" such as getting married or having a baby will allow you to adjust your benefits outside of open enrollment. You may have opted out of disability coverage, health savings accounts or pre-tax childcare previously, but now is the time to revisit those options. For further information on dependent care flex spending accounts, click here.

Many expecting parents come into our office wanting to talk about starting education savings accounts for their future kiddos, but remember: the child must have a birth date and a Social Security Number in order for you to set up one of these plans. Education is important, but right now there are larger and more important things to think about, especially if this is your first child. You and your spouse need to decide where and what the baby will sleep on (hopefully not duct tape and tinfoil!), and even more importantly, what the theme and colors of the nursery will be. These are the things that can break a marriage!

Seriously speaking though, all of these considerations and options tie into your overall budget and need to be discussed, especially if you slept in a cardboard box as a child and your spouse slept like the Princess (or Prince) and the Pea! It's important to be on the same page and find middle ground.

If you or someone in your family is expecting a baby, whether a first child or a happy new addition to a large family, let us know so we can send them our New Arrival packet. We are happy to help with any questions you and your family have, so give us a call. We'd love to hear from you!

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