Especially in the beginning, lots of unforeseen costs will crop up, potentially clouding your entry into parenthood with stress and anxiety instead of excitement and happiness.
That’s why Sophia Bera, CFP and founder of Gen Y Planning, says its crucial to have a healthy reserve of savings on hand well before the due date.
“Getting an emergency fund in place is so important before you have children,” Bera told Business Insider during a Facebook LIVE. “The more savings you can build up before you have kids,” the easier that transition is going to be.
Most Americans drop the ball on this front, regardless of whether they’re having kids. Experts recommend having at least three months of costs covered in your emergency fund, and some advocate for as much as a half year of expenses.
Another new-parent power move that Bera recommends: Figuring out the company benefits you’re entitled to early on, and then planning around them. If your employer’s maternity or paternity leave policy isn’t as generous as you’d hoped, start saving up paid time off that you can deploy when the baby arrives.
“Planning some of that in advance can be really helpful,” Bera says. “So you can really focus on the new baby when the baby gets there, and not be stressed out about, ‘Oh my gosh, we’ve spent so much money getting ready for the baby and now I have to get back to work as soon as possible.'”
Watch Bera’s full Facebook LIVE interview below:
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