Preparing for a baby isn’t only about purchasing tiny clothes, diapers and mittens. It goes beyond watching the endearing ultrasound photos and counting baby kicks; baby planning involves a lot of financial preparation.
Priti Rathi Gupta, Founder of LXME, MD & Promotor Anand Rathi Group spells out the most crucial financial tasks that must be on your checklist from the onset of your pregnancy, including estimating your medical costs, planning leave from your job and budgeting for your new born’s arrival.
Save for medical expenses
The most obvious first step to take – start saving! Considering the exorbitant charges for medical check-ups and tests, and poor maternity benefits in health plans, it would be wise to keep aside a small amount each month in a liquid fund soon after you receive your good news. Don’t forget that with prenatal care, epidurals, and hospital stays, giving birth doesn’t come cheap.
Keep your debt status in check
If you have a substantial debt figure before you have a baby, there’s a good chance it will swell once your baby arrives. The ideal scenario is to be debt free with probably just your mortgage because when the baby comes along, expenses are bound to shoot up. Ensuring your debt is under control will render you financially secure resulting in peace of mind and contentment. If debt is all you think about, it will be hard to focus on your family.
Prepare for Maternity Leave
Taking time off your job to bond with your new baby, heal your body and adjust to the changes in your family is extremely important. According to the Maternity Benefit Amendment Act, women can take 26 weeks maternity leave. As per the Maternity Benefit Amendment Act, women can commence their leave upto a maximum of 8 weeks before the expected delivery date and the remaining time can be availed after childbirth. Some couples also make use of their paid vacation or sick days once the baby arrives. Discuss with the HR department and understand your company’s policies with regards to this so that you can plan your leave accordingly.
Review your health insurance
You will need to include your new born to your health insurance policy, so take the time to review your policy now, while you are still free from baby duties. If you’re currently covered through your job, you can find out more from human resources, or talk to your insurance provider. It would be of use to note that even with health insurance, you might be responsible for some out-of-pocket expenses when it comes to childbirth and family coverage plans. By reviewing promptly you will have more time to clarify any doubts and start saving.