Between preparing the nursery, reading all the right books, and stocking up on bottles and onesies, the checklist of what parents need to do to prepare for a new baby is long.
But it’s crucial not to forget getting their finances in order as well.
Business Insider recently asked parents to weigh in on the financial side of having kids. When asked what they’d tell new parents to do with their money before having their first child, respondents overwhelmingly said two things: travel and save more.
And even though parents are saving more than ever for college, they’re still coming up short. According to Fidelity’s 10-Year College Progress Report, nearly half of all parents admit feeling off-course to reach their target amount before their child packs up for freshman year. Parents with kids in 10th grade or higher also admitted they wish they had saved more early on to give their investment time to grow.
Several respondents also encouraged travelling and soaking up life as a couple one last time before starting a family. “Enjoy being just a twosome because after kids that time is gone for at least a few decades,” one parent told Business Insider.
Below, we’ve anonymously highlighted 11 of the best responses of what real parents suggest doing with your money before having your first kid (Note: Responses have been edited for length and clarity.):
- “Save! There are a lot of expenses that come with pregnancy and delivery, and with adoption, too, if you’re going that route. You need to save for those expenses. You’re also responsible for another human being now. That means you need to create more financial security and stability. So you need a bigger emergency fund than you’d need without kids. Definitely start planning and saving an extra two or more months’ worth of expenses in your emergency fund.”
- “Take a ‘once in a lifetime’ trip.”
- “Invest as much as possible. It’s been very helpful to have additional sources of income from active investments such as real estate.”
- “Make sure you have an emergency fund for home repairs. Then make sure you are putting away money into retirement. Then make sure you have a regular savings account. I also think you should sit down and really know where all your money goes, like, how much do you spend on entertainment and dinners out…things like that.”
- “Start a baby fund account, and put at least $40 in there per week, you will constantly be needing new and costly things even when you think you have it all.”
- “Start saving for college and for your retirement, vacation together — mutual satisfaction is better than self-actualization.”
- “Beyond looking at how much the gear is going to cost — stroller, crib, high-chair, etc. — look at the additional ongoing expenses, particularly in the first few years before elementary school. From diapers and formula early on to child care and after school expenses (Every ballet, gymnastics, or swim lesson in the Bay Area costs $97 a month on a subscription basis per child — ugh!).”
- “Do some travelling; enjoy being just a twosome because after kids that time is gone for at least a few decades.”
- “Set up a savings account just for college. Sit down together and discuss your values on money and what you each feel your kids participate in. i.e. what is really necessary and what is just marketing.”
- “Travel! …and start saving for colleges/weddings.”
- “Start saving for your retirement!”