Oh, baby! 3 steps to prepare your finances for your new arrival

Personal Finance

If you think bringing a new human into the world is daunting, wait until you see what he or she will do to your budget.

It will cost a middle-income married couple an average of $233,610 to raise a child from birth through age 17, according to 2015 data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In fact, your child is costing you a bundle before you even bring him or her home.

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Hospitals charge an average of $32,062 for a Caesarean childbirth and $22,734 for a vaginal delivery, with out-of-pocket payments for these procedures approaching $2,000 — and that’s if you have health insurance through your employer, according to Truven Health Analytics.

But don’t let the numbers scare you off from an otherwise thrilling time in your life. With the proper planning, you can work your child’s expenses into your cash flow — and even set aside some money for those far-off college costs.

“It’s an exciting time,” said Winnie Sun, founding partner of Sun Group Wealth partners in Irvine, California. “Some of us think, ‘How am I going to afford another person in my life?'”

“Start with a budget,” she said.

1. Plan for your costs

Kathrin Ziegler

“When you’re making that baby registry, you’re thinking about the cutest clothes and the best stroller,” said Sun.

Some of those first-year purchases can be doozies, but they are largely one-time expenses: your car seat, your crib and your stroller.

Keep tabs on the cost of child care, which you’ll need to work into your budget. Sun has a sample baby budget here.

In 30 states and Washington, D.C., the annual cost of sending an infant to a child-care center exceeds the annual in-state tuition and fees at a public college, according to Child Care Aware of America.

Don’t forget that your child will also have annual expenses related to health care. Once you’ve added your baby to your insurance plan, read up on the copays, coinsurance and deductibles.

Your baby will have his or her own annual deductible to meet.

2. Plan for the long term

Millennial parents who are still paying down student loans now have to consider funding Junior’s college costs.

“Start thinking about the big things,” said Sun. “College education and how much is it going to cost your family in the future.”

Stashing money into a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan — and doing it early and often — allows you to benefit from years of compounding interest and market gains.

Better yet, 34 states offer a tax deduction or tax credit for contributing, according to Savingforcollege.com.

3. Shore up your finances

JGI/Jamie Grill

Get your own financial house in order before your child arrives.

Review your life insurance needs, as you’ll want to provide for your child and pay off your debts in the event something happens to you.

Meet with a financial advisor to hash out how much coverage you’ll need, as you may want to provide for your child’s college education — or you may want to leave him or her enough money for a jump-start into adulthood.

Term life insurance, which covers you for a set period of 20 years to 30 years, is relatively affordable and easy to obtain. Just remember that the coverage ends once the term has expired.

Talk with your partner and visit an estate planning attorney to draft your will, power of attorney and guardianship.

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