You are having a baby soon and this will be the most exciting moment of your life!
As you celebrate this joyful occasion and embark on this life-changing experience, it is important that you and all parents–to-be to understand how significantly parenting correlates to financial planning. From the day you are expecting, right up to the birth of your child, very much of everything involves money. If you are unprepared financially, it will easily burn a hole in your wallet.
Most new parents in this era are tech-savvy Gen-Ys, who are well-versed with the usage of Internet, social media, network sharing and so on and so forth. With greater exposure to current trends, there tends to be higher emphasis placed on the origin and quality of products used on their child; some to the extent of the type of brands.
There is, of course, nothing wrong in being selective and wanting to dote on our precious. While we aim to give and provide our child with only the best, it does not mean indulging in exorbitant spending. For the purpose of this post, I will be sharing with you, ways to manage your household finances soundly. Here are the key elements:
Total household income
If both you and your spouse are working, then contribution from each is highly recommended to show commitment towards the family.
Every now and then, both of you may need to assess the amount that goes into savings and spending based on your combined income and arrive at a decision that is mutually agreed upon by both parties.
Current commitment (i.e. loan repayment, insurance, allowance for parents, etc.)
Before taking on additional liabilities, keep in mind a list of all your current commitment that needs to be settled.
If you are required to spend on your child, you can always opt for budget or on-sale baby items that are of good condition. This way, whilst not spending excessively, you do not compromise on the quality of the products either.
To help you save further in your parenting journey, you may sell your ‘used’ baby items (provided they are well maintained). Alternatively, branded baby goods can be inherited for reuse (if you plan on having more children).
Family planning (i.e. the number of children to have)
This is a crucial aspect which you may want to look at seriously because an unexpected ‘surprise’ may occur, if both you and your spouse are not ready to have another child.
Discuss with each other the number of children both of you intend to have and accordingly, control the timing of pregnancy until you are financially ready.
As you welcome another new member into the family, a thorough budgeting is required from associated medical costs, to pre and post-delivery expenses, child care, etc.
Plans for the foreseeable future (i.e. buying a new house or car, going on vacations, etc.)
As your family expands, you may consider getting a bigger house or car in the near future. Set a time frame for both of you to achieve your life goals; say, in the next 3 years.
Develop strategies that suit you and your spouse, so that both of you are able to work towards your shared vision.
Saving for education
This should not come last in your long list of plans and priorities for the family. In fact, it should be ranked the highest once you welcome your child into the world.
Parents should start saving as early as they can for their child’s education. With a blink of an eye, it is time for your child to attend pre-school; followed by primary, secondary and tertiary education. Choosing a good school may cost you more than expected, if you aspire to give your child the best education.
Parenthood is neither an easy nor a tough task. You just have to navigate wisely and God willing, everything will fall into place as intended. If you wish to share your thoughts with me, drop me a line or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ms Tracy Teng Mun Yee is an accountant by profession. She has passed her ACCA qualification and gained her ACCA fellowship during her 8 years of practical experienced working with multinational organizations.