So.....according to CNN it will cost $245,000 to raise a child in the US. While that sounds a little high, it's a for sure thing that having a child is going to increase your expenses. Ever since my wife got pregnant, I've been thinking about how our little one might impact our finances and what I can do to prepare. After researching the topic, I think there are 6 basic financial steps you need to take after you have a baby.
Add the baby to your insurance. If you have insurance through your company, many insurance providers will require that you do it within 30 days of the little guy or girl being born. Do this on time to make sure hospital expenses for the baby will be covered and you'll have continued coverage
Update your W-2. There are some serious tax breaks for having a child, why wait until the end of the year to get them and let Uncle Sam earn interest on your hard earned money? Update your withholding to put more money in your pocket now. Use this calculator to help figure out what the right amount of withholding might be for your situation.
Buy life insurance. If you already have it, you might want to increase it, especially if you are the primary bread winner. If something were to happen to you, you would not want to put your spouse and child in such a difficult financial position.
Open a 529 College Savings account. No matter what higher education looks like in 18 years, it'll probably cost money. 529 savings accounts are a fantastic way to grow college savings for your little one tax free. Check out this Forbes article with details.
Create a will. This one is no fun to talk about, but do you really want to leave it up to a state government to decided what happens to your child and assets in the worst case scenario that something happens to you and your spouse.
Re-do your budget. There are new expenses, new tax breaks and now you're saving for your child's college. It might be a good time to revisit your budget and make sure everything is aligned.
If you think I might have missed any important steps, please add them in the comments!