Your brand new son or daughter has you seeing the world in a completely new way. It’s full of possibility, and it feels like you have nothing but time. But, in a blink of an eye, your baby will be toddling around, going to school, graduating from college…
So, before time starts moving as fast as it seems to, new parents should take a few steps to secure everyone’s best interests in the months and years to come. Here are four things to do as soon as you can to give you that peace of mind.
- Build a Rainy Day Fund
You may have planned ahead to make sure you had the finances to support a baby. Or maybe your pregnancy was a surprise, but you’ve pulled together to make it work.
Either way, you’ve got your day-to-day finances figured out. But what about your emergency fund? As a new parent, it’s imperative that you have one of these, first and foremost — some experts say it’s more important to save this cash than pay off your debts.
For your emergency fund — also known as a rainy day fund — you should have six months’ worth of expenses saved in liquid assets. That way, you can have a bit of a cushion if you lose your job, get sick or otherwise don’t have your paychecks coming in.
And knowing it’s there will give you peace of mind as a parent who now has to provide for a little one.
- Sign Up For Life Insurance
Next up, you have a dependent now, so you should absolutely have a term life insurance policy on the books, too. If you’re wondering how you’ll be able to afford both emergency fund savings and life insurance, we have some good news. The latter can cost as little as app subscriptions on your smartphone — and provide you protection with that small amount of input.
Obviously, you don’t want to have to use your life insurance policy. But it covers you in a worst-case scenario, and it provides your family with a payout to help them stay on their feet in the case of a big loss. Again, it will help you feel peace of mind no matter what the future holds.
As you get older, you can adjust your life insurance policies, too. You can come up with an end-of-life plan that covers your expenses so that they don’t burden your children. Of course, you don’t need anything like that in place now, but signing up for term life insurance is a good start.
- Prepare a Will
Here’s another must-do that might make you a bit nervous. Yes, it can be daunting to think ahead to what would happen in the case of your death. As a parent, though, you should have a will in place to outline what your child’s life will look like in case something happens to you. Otherwise, the courts will be left to decide where they go and who takes care of them.
So, sit down and make a will as soon as you can. You can sit with a lawyer to prepare your paperwork, or you can make one online. Just make sure you have it signed with two witnesses present, so they can confirm it should anyone contest it down the line.
- Don’t Forget Your Retirement
Your child consumes most of your thoughts about the future, and that’s understandable. But you shouldn’t let this get in the way of considering your own needs, too. After you finish padding out your emergency fund, it’s time to start setting money aside for your own retirement.
The best way to save is by taking advantage of any programs your employer provides for retirement funds or pensions. They will often match your contribution up to a certain percentage. Make sure you put at least that much into your account each month — you’re getting free retirement money from your company, why wouldn’t you take them up on that offer?
If you need further inspiration to save for yourself, think of it this way: it’s an investment in your child’s future, too. They won’t have to worry about your financial status if you take care of it yourself. So, start preparing now for both of your sakes.
Prepare Now, Enjoy Later
As a new parent, you have so much on your mind. It could be tempting to push all of this off until your child’s a little bit older. However, preparing for the future and having these protections in place will help you rest assured that, no matter what, your child will be taken care of. Once it’s all done, you can simply enjoy watching them grow up — and, at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.