From the warm, fuzzy feelings you’ll get watching Junior swing his shiny, new baseball bat for the first time or Susie enthusiastically pedal her two-wheeled bike without training wheels, the memories to come as a new parent will be nothing short of priceless.
But for many first-time parents, the real cost of raising a child can come as a bit of a surprise. With the rising costs of diapers, baby furniture and education bringing the total up to an estimated $2M from year zero through college – and beyond, if you account for grandchildren as Business Insider did – it’s best to be financially prepared to set your growing family up for financial success from day one.
The upside of raising a child today is that many new family-related costs, like housing and education, are well-documented and can be somewhat projected. That means it’s possible for soon-to-be parents to begin planning and even saving before baby number one even arrives.
The unexpected expenses along the way are the tricky part. The good news? Many unexpected expenses in a child’s early years can also be accounted for in a financial plan. With a little research and the right amount of planning and saving, you can ensure your family has it covered.
Here are just a few examples of unexpected expenses that can pop up in your first child’s early years:
You might be wondering why this one is on the list since childcare is an essential part of many families’ routines. If preschool is in your family’s future, you likely have already priced out your first choices ahead of baby’s arrival. That’s great! But don’t stop there. Even if one parent plans to stay home, consider budgeting for more childcare than you think you might need.
Without a backup plan, your family is only one sick day or schedule change away from financial stress. Assume that you may need full-time childcare at any point during your child’s early years and rope it into your family’s budget just to be safe. And if the added dollars save end up not being used, treat your growing family to a nice, relaxing vacation – or roll the funds over into another bucket for potentially unexpected expenses.
New parents generally don’t expect to interview occupational therapists, speech therapists, or physical therapists for their child. That said, if you and your child’s physician decide that your growing boy or girl would benefit from some form of therapy in his or her early years, you may be happy to learn that your school district covers the expense. On the flip side, you may be surprised to learn that it doesn’t.
Private therapists charge thousands of dollars each year. And you can’t know in advance whether your family will need one. Budgeting for this type of expense ensures you’ll be ready just in case your little bundle needs some extra support.
Unexpected hiccups...and sleepless nights
Whether your newborn has a milk allergy, or your toddler’s sleeplessness is keeping the whole family awake, there are times when grandma’s advice might not cut it. Luckily, there are professionals experienced in training parents how to respond to and solve the most stressful troubles and transitions, especially during their firstborn’s early years. Factor in the possibility that you may need to call in reinforcements. And have the financial plan to back it up.
Be a fam with a plan
So how can you plan for the unexpected costs of raising a child through her early years? Start with research and setting a budget. Begin with a conversation with a trusted financial professional and determine what the likely costs of such unexpected expenses are in your area.
Then work to find places in your financial plan where you can save, earn or reallocate the funds to protect your family and your future. One example for setting your family on the right path is exploring the options that are out there for life insurance. This helps cover the unexpected.
To begin exploring these options, visit our website to learn more.