Money & Life contributors draw on their diverse range of experience to present you with insights and guidance that will help you manage your financial wellbeing, achieve your lifestyle goals and plan for your financial future.
Starting a family will bring you plenty of joy, but it will also create many challenges. In addition to possible sleepless nights and changes in your lifestyle, it could also affect you financially.
First, there are the costs of raising a child. Research published by the Australian Institute of Family studies in April found the minimum weekly cost of one child in unemployed and low-income families ranges from $140 to $170 a week. And the figure gets higher for middle and high-income families.
An earlier NATSEM study revealed that the lifetime cost of bringing up two children for a typical middle-income family had risen to $812,000 in 2013, up from $537,000 in 2007 and almost double that of $448,000 in 2002.
Adding to the financial pressures of having a baby is that it’s likely that one or both parents will initially take some parental leave or reduce their work hours, reducing the family income.
Speaking to a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional before you start your family could be one of the best financial steps you ever take. Here’s why:
You may need to cut down on your expenses to accommodate the costs of having a child, such as childcare, food and nappies. A financial planner can help plan for living on a reduced income and suggest ways in which you could reduce your spending.
The planner will help you put together a budget so that you have a better idea of what your expenses will be and what you need to do to keep out of debt.
As your family grows and its needs change, a financial planner will help you plan for future goals, like buying a home, family holidays, children’s education and growing your wealth and retirement nest egg.
Your family’s financial future could be dealt a heavy blow if you or your partner loses a job, becomes incapacitated or passes away. For example, if the other partner is unable to cover the rent or mortgage, the family may have to move.
Fortunately, a financial planner is well placed to consider your specific needs and advise you on the best insurance cover for you and your spouse. Importantly, your financial planner may be able to structure your insurance so that its drawn from your super and not your income at a time when your income may be particularly tightly stretched.
Financial planners are ideally placed to help you with your estate planning and in drawing up a Will – a crucial legal document that gives directions for what you want to happen to your assets in the event of your death. It’s an important way of protecting your family and your children, including those from previous relationships, if something were to happen. It also allows you to identify who you want to take care of your children if both you and your spouse pass away.
Protecting your super
A financial planner can also advise you on how to keep building your super if you or your partner have decided to take time off work to look after your baby. He or she will go through the options, including co-contributions and splitting your super contributions between you and your partner.