Friday, September 22, 2006
For What It's Worth: Planning for Baby
We've all heard money makes the world go round, but in most homes, there's not even enough to get through the week. That's why every other Friday, we will be discussing For What It's Worth to you and your family. Here's Seven's Craig Stevens with a common question: How to prepare financially for a baby.
WSVN -- Whether you're a married couple like Kelly and Wes or a single mom like Marla, having a bundle of joy costs a bundle of money.
Dr. Marla Bennett: "I think the grocery bill went up three times what we were normally used to, and it's funny because this person is so small."
Small stature but a heavy burden.
Wes: "My mom always told me wait as long as you can. Possibly you will be better able to withstand the blow financially and save, save, save, save."
Now since the stork isn't delivering dollars, that saving is the secret to planning for a baby.
Ken Wurtenberg: "Is anyone going to ever be ready to have a baby financially? The answer is no."
As Seven News' new financial expert, Ken Wurtenberg has been a certified public accountant for more than 30 years.
He says couples should plan ahead for the financial impact of having of a child.
For instance, you should first consider how you're going to manage on less income during maternity leave.
Ken Wurtenberg: "If the spouse is working -- which, as most couples are today -- they will probably have some downtime, so immediately you're going to have less income coming into the family jointly."
If your company doesn't cover your maternity leave, check your short-term disability plan for supplemental coverage.
Ken Wurtenberg: "They have waiting periods, so you have to check with your insurance carrier if you have a disability plan as to what it covers."
Also consider how you will pay for the birth of the baby.
Ken Wurtenberg: "Perhaps you prepay your medical expenses. Whatever arrangement you have with your doctor or hospital, there might be upfront money required whether you have insurance or not."
And then, of course, you have to budget how you will raise the baby.
Consider not only groceries and clothing but daycare or a nannny.
In some circumstances, it may even be more affordable to be a stay-at-home mom or dad.
Ken Wurtenberg: "It depends on the family situation, the income bracket they're in, the job the spouse had, the job the other spouse has. Do you have any other children in the family? There's many multiples."
And, of course, don't forget long-term planning.
For college, immediatly consider the Florida Pre-Paid Plan.
It's also a good idea to start a baby fund in a liquid account.
Ken Wurtenberg: "You wouldn't want to put it in a stock market, more like a money-market short term CD where you're earning interest, and you can withdraw readily when the funds are needed."
The bottom line when expecting: Expect big changes emotionally and financially.
Dr. Marla Bennett: "You go through the whole process of registering for all of the gear you think you're going to need, then she comes, and there's always more stuff that you need."
Craig Stevens: "Ken also says if you think having a child means a big tax deduction, think again. You will get some money back at the end of the year, but it's no comparison to what you will be spending to raise that child."
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