Checklist: 10 Questions You NEED To Ask Your Partner Before Having A Baby  

new parents financial planning

Having a baby is a major life decision that requires some serious self-reflecting and communicating with your partner, especially when it comes to money.

Remember, it’s not the same thing as taking care of a plant or a goldfish. This is another human life you will be responsible to bring into this world so you need to be 100% prepared for the long term. We are talking in terms of decades here, and not just a 5 or 10-year commitment!

There are many aspects that you’ll need to consider and they range from everyday expenses such as taking care of your baby’s basic needs, to long-term financial commitments like saving for your child’s education funds – all of which will require thorough and significant long-term financial planning.

Try this simple family financial checklist we have prepared before you start making plans to welcome that bundle of joy into your life.

Have you asked your potential baby’s father or mother these life-changing questions?

      Babies come with magical powers – they accelerate the disappearance of money. Cribs! Diapers! Strollers! And things get more expensive the older they get (read: college fees). Make a realistic financial plan on how much you will need to set aside for your child every month and make sure to leave some leeway for the unexpected.

      The more practical question would be how many can you realistically “afford”? This variable will influence your life and finances more than anything else. Hence, it is important to thoroughly assess the cost of having a child (some experts estimate it will cost roughly RM1.5 million in urban Malaysia), and discuss whether your current or future financial situations will allow for it.

      Statistics show that one in seven Malaysians have trouble conceiving. Should you and your partner require assistance to get pregnant, who and how will you pay for such treatments? The good news is, fertility treatments have a pretty high success rate. The bad? They can easily cost between RM15,000 and RM17,000.

      Are you okay (like really okay) with the financial and career trade-offs that might come with having a baby? If you currently work full time, will you opt for a job with more flexible hours but could entail a possible pay cut? Will one of you work while the other stays at home? If so, how long will the arrangement last and what is the financial impact?

      If having one parent stay at home with the new baby is the most practical option for your family, can you survive on a single income? What are the adjustments that you will have to make that will allow you to cut expenses, save more and leverage on your resources to stick with a single income?

      If you don’t prefer being a stay-at-home parent, or if that’s simply not an option, you may want to consider your childcare options. If you have parents or in-laws who are willing to take care of your child while you work, then it could cut down on your expenses. If not, you would have to consider options such as hiring a baby sitter, a domestic maid, a housekeeper, a nanny, or sending your child to a day care centre. Factors like cost and convenience are key considerations when selecting a childcare provider.

      What kind of schooling experience do you want for your offspring? How much are you willing to pay for it and how will such expenses change your financial options? For example, if you insist on sending your children to an international school, does that mean you have to buy a smaller home or make other financial sacrifices elsewhere?

      College and university fees don’t come for cheap, so take time to research future education costs for your child, before coming up with a long-term plan to gradually save for your child’s education. If necessary, your child can take out a student loan for school. Banking on a scholarship isn’t something you can do.

      With a child depending on you, it is imperative that you are able to provide for your family should the worst happen to you. This is why life insurance is absolutely crucial for new parents. Somewhere around eight to 10 times your current annual income is pretty standard in order to ensure the financial continuity of your loved one.

      Having a child is one of the biggest financial drains to your budget and the question of how to save more money will inevitably crop up. Buying used items, doing things yourself instead of paying a premium for services, and using credit cards that offer rebates for your spending can save you a fortune.

    These questions are tough but it’s better to ask them and address them before you have a baby to ensure you don’t run into any problems later on.

    Are you financially ready for a baby?
    0 – 3 checked – Uh-oh. Looks like it’s time to sit down with your partner to understand and reassess each other’s financial readiness to start a family.

    4 – 6 checked – It sure looks like you and your partner have been busy discussing about starting a family, but there are still more grounds to cover. Further discussions on how you will handle your money when you have a child and learning to compromise in certain situations will better prepare you for the pitter patter of little feet.

    7 – 10 checked – Congratulations, it looks like you and your partner are well on your way to a financially sound parenthood! Together, you have taken the first step in acknowledging the financial challenges and demands that come with having children and are most likely set to take them on!

    If less than three of the above are left unchecked, it’s time for you and your partner to reassess your financial situation and whether you are ready to take the next step.

    Read More: How Much Does It Cost To Have A Baby?

    Coming to terms with your new “family budget” will not always be easy, as it might require you to downsize your budget to cover the costs of a new life. But taking such measures will definitely be worth the effort if it means it will ensure a more secure future for you and your family.

    You can get started right away on your family financial checklist with iMoney’s FREE Checklist Planner to help you achieve your family goals.

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    When you take the plunge to start a family, you want to do it with confidence and the assurance of knowing that you are taking the right step with the right person at the right point in your life.

    This article was first published in November 2015 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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