Where to start? First, financial experts recommend socking away six months of living expenses, which will help if a parent wants to take unpaid time off from work or if the family encounters surprises.
Next, get a grip on your budget.Estimate how your expenses might change after the baby arrives. While there will be new expenses – such as higher costs for food, clothing and child care – some couples may spend less on restaurants and entertainment, said Adrienne Penta, senior vice president at Brown Brothers Harriman’s Center for Women & Wealth.
“Think about what your life will be like after a baby, which isn’t the same as two professional people in the city,” Penta said.
Financial programs such as You Need a Budget or Mint can help would-be parents set up a budget and model expenses after a baby. One of the biggest costs is child care, which can vary considerably depending on your location. Talking with friends and family who have relied on child care can give a sense of your area’s costs, said Kelly Barrow, a wealth management adviser with financial services firm TIAA.
Setting up a health savings account (HSA), available to people with high-deductible health care plans, can also prove helpful, as New York mom Priya Raghavan discovered. She and her husband relied on an HSA to help cover unexpected medical expenses, such as an unplanned hospital visit for their newborn daughter.
“I was surprised because we have good insurance,” Raghavan said.