Social media can feel like an endless stream of pregnancy announcements and family photos. It’s clear that starting a family is certainly in the cards for many couples. But how do you know if it’s right for you?
As with marriage and other life milestones, the decision to start a family isn’t one to take lightly. This guide will help you decide whether you’re financially ready for kids, as well as how to prepare for this step.
Signs You’re Ready to Start a Family
Some people have always known that they wanted to be parents. However, simply wanting kids isn’t always enough. Here are some signs that you’re financially prepared to start a family.
You Understand The Financial Commitment
The truth is that raising a child costs hundreds of thousands of dollars over their lifetime. Food, healthcare, child care, clothing, and housing costs add up, not to mention the cost of college. It’s important to have a full picture of how much growing a family will stretch your budget.
If you aren’t sure about the full financial commitment of having a child, see a financial advisor.
You’re Ready for the Lifestyle Change
The birth or adoption of a child is a joyful moment in life. However, this transition completely transforms your life, both financially and otherwise. People who are ready to be parents embrace this change.
While you might miss aspects of your old life, you want to make sure that you’re excited about taking this new step.
Kids Are in Your Future Plans
What do you see when you envision your ideal future? Are kids part of the picture? If they are, you’re likely ready to have kids. However, it’s important to think about the logistical side of these plans as well. Consider whether you have children in mind when setting your financial goals.
You Have a Handle on Your Savings
Kids come with plenty of extra expenses. Trips to summer camp, broken bones, and replacement furniture are just some potential chips in your budget. If you have a firm handle on your savings plan, you might be ready to start a family and prepare for these types of expenses.
Signs You’re NOT Ready to Start a Family
It may never feel like the perfect time to have a child. However, it’s important to be realistic and know when it’s definitely the wrong time. Here’s some signs that you’re not ready to start a family.
You’re Feeling Pressured
If you’re married or in a long-term relationship, you might feel pressure from friends and family to have kids. This pressure can be difficult to handle. But it’s not enough of a reason to have kids. Remember, the choice to start a family should be an intentional one.
You’re Struggling Financially
Struggling to get on your feet? It might not be the time to throw a child into the mix. Even if you see a future with children, you want to get your financial life together first. Consider taking some time to pay off debt, create a budget, and secure steady employment before making the transition.
You’re Not Ready to Compromise
Again, having a child completely changes your lifestyle. If you’re set in your ways, it’s likely not the right time to start a family. The same goes for compromising within your relationship. Partners who struggle to see eye-to-eye might not be ready for children.
When it comes to having kids, start by trusting your gut. You’ll know whether you’re ready to start a family. If you do decide to take steps toward this milestone, there are a few ways that you can prepare.
Have Baby Fever? Financial Steps to Take Now
Couples who are ready to start a family should have a clear picture of their financial lives. Here are some steps to take as you prepare to start a family.
Revisit Your Budget
What was once a budget for two will soon be a budget for three. Now is the time to revisit this budget and make the appropriate changes. In the short term, you’ll need to budget for healthcare costs, child care, insurance, and baby supplies. Consider any changes you’ll be making to your home as well. You’ll likely need to move some money around, taking a chunk out of your restaurant budget, for example.
Organize Your Estate Planning
When you’re suddenly responsible for a new life, you’ll want to have a plan. It’s essential to protect your child if anything were to happen to you.
This means taking another look at your estate planning. If you haven’t already, contact a lawyer to write a will. You should also purchase life insurance, get a healthcare proxy, and sign a power of attorney.
Keep Paying Off Debt
It’s likely not realistic to pay off all your debt before you start a family (especially if you have student debt). However, it’s worth revamping your debt payoff plan. Take another look at your finances and calculate your cost of debt. The key is to stay ahead of your debt, so you can still handle your payments as your budget changes.
Pad Your Emergency Fund
When in doubt, save. It never hurts to have more money in your emergency fund, especially when your kids are young. You want to be prepared for unexpected life changes. As you take steps toward starting a family, see if you can put more money in this savings account every month.
See a Financial Advisor
As you consider starting a family, there are likely financial implications that you aren’t thinking of. This is where a financial advisor comes in. These professionals will be by your side through every life transition, so you can stay prepared and thrive financially.
The financial advisors at Second Opinion Partners are here to support your growing family. We’ve designed our LifePrint® Advantage program to guide you through all of life’s transitions. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our partners.