Ask a Financial Professional: Prepping For Parenthood
As any parent will attest, no couple is ever 100 percent ready for a baby. But what if, rather than view readiness as pass or fail, we saw it as a spectrum? Indeed, some parents are better prepared than others to welcome their first child. So, what have they done differently? And how can more expectant parents get primed for the biggest change of their lives?
Misty Weltzien, a Managing Partner at Pacific Advisors, in Newport Beach, California, is also a mother of two. Through her own experience, and in working with soon-to-be parents, she’s learned a great deal about the unique challenge of preparing to raise a family. “Being a planner, I love to plan out everything,” she says, “but with children, you have to be ready to pivot and adapt. I wish I had known that the unexpected would become my new norm.”
Today Misty, and other financial representatives like her, help new parents prepare as best they can for the unexpected. No two families are the same. Yet, through the support of a financial representative, every family can become better prepared for the future. To get started, Misty shared some of her key guidelines.
Take Your Financial Inventory
“It starts by getting financially organized. Take an inventory of your assets, liabilities, insurances and cash flow. Gather at least a quarter worth of statements to account for the fluctuations you may be spending at different times in the year. I suggest going through this process with a financial professional, who can help you navigate what data is needed and make sense of it.”
Expect the Unexpected
“Unexpected expenses can be common with the addition of a new baby. You may think a family member will provide child care, then circumstances change, and you need to pay for a licensed provider (that happened to me on my first delivery). Maybe you plan to nurse your baby exclusively, but something changes and now you decide to use formula.
My best advice is to know all of the expenses that may come up and have a plan in the event they impact you. This would include increased insurance costs, formula, diapers, child care, clothing, car seats, strollers and more.”
Know Your Insurance Policy
“Be very clear on how your health insurance policy works. Insurance policies have an individual deductible and maximum out-of-pocket, and a family deductible and max out-of-pocket. During pregnancy, any care related to the baby is covered under the mother’s individual portion of the coverage. Once baby is delivered, he or she becomes their own person and has their own deductible. You may “max out” the deductible on mom during delivery, but then if baby needs extra care for some reason, you may incur additional expenses.
My son had pretty severe jaundice and was in NICU for less than 24 hours, but it cost us an additional $5K towards our family out of pocket maximum. Have an emergency fund to cover any unexpected medical expenses.”
Prepare Others, Including Your Employer
“The timing on when you let people know about your pregnancy is a personal decision, but once you decide it’s time to share the good news, your employer should be looped in. Find out what your company policy is for leave, how your group disability policy integrates with any other insurances you may carry, etc. Create a plan with your employer and any colleagues to cover your work while you are out so that once you take leave, you can focus on your baby and not stress about work. This is also another area where I would plan for the unexpected. With both of my pregnancies, I was put on rest earlier than I anticipated.”
A Financial Representative Helps With the Big Picture
“I believe it’s important to take a holistic approach to planning and look at all aspects simultaneously. When you start to plan in silos, you sometimes miss opportunities. Choose to work with a financial professional who will help you navigate all aspects of planning, including long-term goals like retirement, near-term planning for the birth of a child, and everything in between and beyond.”
Are you planning to welcome your first child soon? It can be a thrilling time—and a nerve-racking one, too. Working with a financial representative will help to put your nerves at ease. When you feel financially confident, you’re able to worry less and be present for the adventures of raising a child. Best yet, as Misty says, there’s one more thing that she didn’t expect about having children: “No one could have prepared me for the fact that being a parent is one of the most rewarding and best jobs imaginable.”
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2021-124090 Exp. 7/23