Parenting in India has different perspectives in Joint families and Nuclear families but, every household needs to plan the funds while they are planning an expansion in their family as this reduces a lot of panic with sudden increase in responsibilities. The expecting parents need to understand that it’s not only about adding a new member in the family but also about changes in their lifestyle and the physical and emotional state of the expecting mother. There are a few instances where the sudden responsibility on the father has also resulted in a situation of panic about managing the expenditures and a chaotic atmosphere. So financial planning is an integral part of family planning.
When the news of a baby arriving spreads, it brings joy and multiple advices from the immediate family and extended. It is then the time for the expecting parents to decide the best way to manage the upcoming responsibilities along with their present obligations and commitments! In the present days mostly both the spouses are working and have their own financial freedom and lifestyle. A sudden shift in life may affect the expecting mother more so she ought to plan the finances better. In case she has liabilities, she needs to be prepared for a temporary break in career as well if that is required.
Here are a few tips that can help the expecting parents to manage their resources and responsibilities better:
Communication with partner : the spouses should discuss and communicate their financial obligations and liabilities so that a backup reserve can be maintained in case a need for a temporary job break arises and the financial commitments can be carried out well. There should be clarity about the loan obligations if any so that the finances are managed well in case of an emergency.
Check for Maternity/ Paternity benefits at workplace : one should check what are leave options, hospitalization and settlement benefits, what are the post maternity facilities and work options available so that the future nursing and care- taking of the baby is done in the best possible way.
Leave options : the expecting parents should find out about the leaves options available so that they can save their leaves for future when the baby arrives rather than exhausting their leaves beforehand. Because paid leaves are better to go for after the baby arrives.
Calculate Expenses : one should calculate expenses and categorize them so that they can prioritize the financial expenditures in the 9 months and save the money for the future needs. This is mostly helpful in the nuclear family set-ups where there is hardly any back-up or support.
Delay major purchases : every parent want to spend to decorate the baby’s room the best possible way but the major purchases should be avoided till the baby arrives but the funds should be saved and reserved the pre-arrival expenditures should be avoided.
Spend within limits : the working couples have a habit of outings and purchasing as they don’t have much responsibility in the initial years of their marriage but once they know that they are expecting they should limit the spending habits. The saved funds over the outings and purchases will not only let them have a spare fund but also save them a great deal on wasted clothes and health issues. As the increasing size of the expecting mother and health issues arising from eating out habits are something that people tend to forget otherwise.
Start an emergency fund : this is a medical process which at any point of time might demand a sudden expenditure like some sudden tests or a c- section or may be some treatment post the child birth, so a reserve fund should be maintained. It is advisable to save a fixed amount every month so as to avoid a sudden helplessness.
Health insurance options, invest in insurance or sip : this is the right time to take a good health insurance plan that shall cover the entire family. A few plans may or may not cover death during maternity but the hospitalization and medical insurance is advisable so that in case of an emergency there is no cash crunch. There are cashless benefits and options available. The expecting parents should start systematic investments so that in the coming years the expenses for the children like school admissions and further education might be well taken care of. The expenditures these days are unpredictable so an insurance to support contingencies should also be kept in mind. The money back policies are considered the best.
Care taking options : mostly the child is taken care of by the parents and grandparents when very small but there may be cases where the availability of a caregiver within the family is not possible and the parents ought to look for paid care-giving either by babysitters or day care centers this involves money too so such expenses and options should also be kept in mind to avoid the unforeseen.
Decide about the will and guardianship of the child in case of death or decease of the parents: This sounds cruel and rude but one should be prepared for the worst. Future is unpredictable and it is the responsibility of the parents to ensure the well-being of the child they are bringing into this world. A few tough decisions will ensure a good living and a secured future of the child. So a proper will and legal guardianship for the child is a pre- requisite.
One more thing advisable in the Indian context is that the husband should try to help the wife financially and emotionally in case of a temporary job- break and help her to take care of the responsibilities if any towards her family and parents as this would help her overcome the phase of crunch in a much better way. Saving the relationships and securing the future of the child depends upon the financial and emotional well- being of the family as a whole.
Image Courtesy : http://www.atb.com/learn/articles/Lists/Photos/full-indian-family-baby.jpg