1. Get Your Family Budget Together
Money means more than ever with young ones in your nest. You need to consider your own 401K contributions, a 529 Plan and an Emergency Fund. Discuss and commit to your financial savings goals and look for ways to save in your everyday. An Emergency Fund is really key now that you have a family to look after. Do what you can and truly commit to it. See my post here for the complete rundown of getting started on a family budget.
2. Enroll Baby in Health Insurance Coverage
When your baby is born, don’t neglect to get the ball rolling with your health insurance provider to add them to your coverage plan right away. It is isn’t the first thing you are going to think about after giving birth, but it definitely shouldn’t be the last thing to check-off for the month.
3. File Their Paperwork
Your babe will need a social security number for a variety of reasons (taxes, health insurance, bank accounts, etc.). Complete the form at the hospital and receive the card in the mail. If you are giving birth at home, visit your local SS Administation Office, you will need to provide proof of identity along with two documents showing baby’s age, sex and citizenship status, such as her birth certificate and hospital birth record.
4. Pick-up their Birth Certificate
You can do this at the local Clerk’s office/Vital Records office. Some require appointments, others do not. Bring your checkbook or credit card to pay for the official record.
5. Get them a Passport and/or Passport Card
This one is not super necessary but made me feel better. The process for obtaining a passport card (similar size/make-up of a driver’s license) was pretty easy. You can do it at the post office but both parent’s need to be present. If they can’t be, you’ll have to provide a notarized letter. Visit this link for more info on all of that!
We travel with our children’s passport card even though no one ever asks to see it. Which, by the way, is weird to me.
6. Look for a Free Estate Planning Workshop
Some legal offices offer free workshops to offer high-level insight on Estate Planning. Proper and legal estate planning is necessary when an individual has assets that exceed $150,000 (car, house, savings accounts, investments, 401Ks, etc.). Otherwise, there is going to be a slow and expensive probate process. Probate also freezes your assets and makes everything financial in your personal life, public. To avoid this and be able to smoothly transfer your assets/cash to your loved ones and children upon (unexpected) death – you’ll want to have a Will and a Trust. Talk to a local Lawyer after your free workshop to see what is best for you!
7. Set-up that Legal Meeting
Meet with a recommended estate planning lawyer in your area to create a Will and potentially, a Trust.
A Will and a Trust will include:
- Legal Designation for your child if you die
- Personal property distribution
- Financial distribution
- Authorized individual to handle your financial matters
- Advanced Health Care Directive
- and more…
8. Check-out Your Tax Breaks
You can claim a dependent exemption on your taxes until your children turn 18. You also get some tax credits towards applicable childcare costs. Credits and percentages of various tax breaks vary, talk to your tax professional before the year is up.
9. Buy Life Insurance
Everyone’s financial needs are different. The coverage you’ll need is just the same – different from family to family. Your employer might offer life insurance but you should also think about a 3rd party provider in case you leave that job. You should also consider insurance for the parent who may not work outside the home as well, as that individual also provides a huge contribution to your family (such as childcare, housework, cooking, errands, etc.) that will need to be calculated in a loss.
10. Consider Long-Term disability Insurance
After you have weighed Life Insurance as an option for you and/or your spouse, it is also time to think about long-term disability insurance. Disability insurance offers coverage if you become sick or injured and can no longer bring home a paycheck. Disability insurance will pay you a percentage of your salary for a specified time period. With that in mind, consider your current income, expenses, and savings when choosing a policy. Remember that your living expenses will increase with your newborn – especially childcare costs!
11. Write Letters
This one isn’t legal or financial, but sentimental. Consider writing letters to children, spouse, siblings, parents or best friends in case of unexpected death. You might want to thank them for helping to raise your children in your absence, or offer something else in your note (like unconditional love, forgiveness, gratitude, acceptable, or other). Some might find this one too hard, others may find comfort in the process.
12. Find A Safe Place
Consider a safe deposit box at a bank or fire-proof safe at home to keep documents such as passports, birth certificates, Wills, Trusts, adoption papers, investment records, and letters safe and secure. Ensure someone very trusted knows of their existence. Never keep cash in the same place.
- Get Your Family Budget Together
- Health Insurance Coverage
- File their paperwork – Social Security
- Pick-up their Birth Certificate
- Get them a Passport and/or Passport Card
- Look for a Free Estate Planning Workshop
- Set-up that Legal Meeting
- Check-out Your Tax Breaks
- Buy Life Insurance
- Consider Long-Term disability Insurance
- Write Letters
- Find A Safe Place