Magazine article Working Mother

6 Smart Money Moves

Magazine article Working Mother

6 Smart Money Moves

Article excerpt

GOT A SPARE $9,510 LYING AROUND? That's what your child may cost you each year, according to the USDA's annual survey of expenditures on children. And if you're expecting, the first year of your baby's life could cost even more, as you've no doubt discovered while shopping for a crib, a car seat and other basics. Before you panic, here's our hit-the-ground-running money guide for moms-to-be.

1 REVIEW YOUR BENEFITS A recent survey by Aetna and the Financial Planning Association (FPA) found that 71 percent of expectant moms have spent less than one hour-or no time at allreviewing their health benefits. But this task is as important as getting together your baby's layette, now that your health-care and financial needs are about to change. Beyond checking information on your maternity leave, ask your benefits officer: Are routine procedures and blood work covered during pregnancy? Does your health insurance cover genetic counseling or other new high-tech medical care? What changes will you need to make to your life insurance policy? For a full list of questions to ask, go to Aetna and the FPAs website, www.planforyourhealth.com.

2 PLAN A BUDGET Write down every nickel you spend for the next month, including rent, dry cleaning, car expenses and even little things like a bottle of water, says Barbara O'Neill, PhD, a professor of financial resource management at Rutgers University in Ne-W Jersey. Then sort your spending into categories such as entertainment, clothing, restaurant meals and work-related costs so you can see what you're spending and where the money is going. This will enable you to identify ares where you can save (maybe you can cut back on eating out, for example), which will be especially important if you plan to take extended unpaid leave. One smart idea: If you're going to live on one paycheck for a while after the baby's born, start making do with one income now. Use the other salary to reduce household debt, save for a big-ticket purchase (like a safer car) or create a buffer account to cover emergencies.

3 HUNT FOR BARGAINS Wait until after your baby shower to do most of your shopping. Then take an experienced mom with you to help separate essential gear from stuff you probably worit use. Research products on consumer Internet sites like www.babybargains.com, and look for clearance items at online stores like www.babycentral.com, says consumer advocate Alan Fields, coauthor of Baby Bargains: Secrets to Saving 20 to 50 Percent on Baby Furniture, Equipment, Clothes and Much, Much More. You can also register on mailing lists of brand-name companies that send free samples to new parents, says Sue M. Hannah, author of Free Stuff for Baby! One note of caution: Never buy a crib or car seat secondhand, since it may not meet the latest safety requirements or may have been recalled. If you do get any other secondhand gear or toys, check the Consumer Product Safety Commissions website, www.cpsc.gov, to make sure they're not on any recall lists.

4 REVIEW YOUR WILL Lots of couples believe that when one spouse dies, the other automatically receives all of his or her assets. In many states, however, this is not the case. Typically, the spouse receives one third to one half of the value of the estate; the rest is allocated to the children. If kids are under age 18, this can involve court oversight and costly fees. With a will, you can guarantee that your savings and possessions, including your sentimental belongings, will end up with the people you choose-and most important, you can name a guardian for your child. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.