It's official: You're the proud mother of a beautiful baby boy or girl (or maybe both)! And, as you know, with baby comes some pretty significant financial responsibilities. Keeping lists of the things you need to do will help you stay organized and make sure you don't miss anything. Below are five things to do now that you're responsible for someone besides yourself!
1) Set Up a Baby Fund.
If you haven't set up a baby fund, now is the time to do it. Just like an emergency fund, a baby fund is a way for you to put money away for additional and unexpected costs in the future, i.e., braces, summer camp, tutoring, after-school programs, etc.
According to the USDA, a single-child family with an average income of $61,000 will spend over $200,000 on raising a child from birth through age 17. Don’t be scared; just start saving now!
2) Save on Tax Breaks.
Despite all the expenses that come along with having a baby, you can actually save big with a child in the house. There are lots of tax breaks you get as a parent. Research the child-related tax laws carefully, or make sure to talk to your accountant if you have one. You could even take the money you're saving on your taxes and put it into your newly established baby fund!
3) Get a Social Security Card for Your Child.
It's imperative you obtain a Social Security card for your new baby in order to insure a healthy financial future for them. Down the road, you'll need your child's Social Security number to establish a savings account in their name or to claim them as a dependent for tax purposes.
4) Add Your Child to Your Health Insurance.
I'd recommend adding your child to your health-care plan before they're 1 month old. As you probably already know, you'll have frequent well-visits almost immediately and you'll want to have coverage for your child.
5) Research Qualified Tuition Plans.
Qualified tuition plans, or 529s, are a tax-free way to save for your child's education. Remember it pays to save and it pays more to start early. LearnVest offers information on 529s and comprehensive advice for investing in your child's education.