December 27, 2012 was the day that my whole world changed. I had to starting thinking less about myself and more about someone else. This day was when my son was born. While I was trying to mentally and monetarily prepare for that day for at least nine months, nothing would have prepared me for how I actually felt that day. Many people can tell you that there is nothing more special than the birth of your baby. I never could comprehend what they were talking about because I didn’t have children. Now, I know what they are talking about. Not only did my personal life change, but so did my financial life. Now, how am I going to manage both of those changes simultaneously?
Yes, that is a picture of my son. We took it when he was 5 days old and just cuddled up in his favorite blanket.
My Personal Life
We all know that our personal lives will change when a baby is brought into the world. It is pretty much common sense. Though I knew this was going to change, I never imagined by how much. My wife and I never really had plans about how we would spend our nights and weekends, but now I know that is out the door. We used to be able to just get up and go to a friends house, a bar, or out to eat. Now, we can barely figure out who is going to hold him first while the other eats dinner alone (our son is a crier and loves being moved).
We no longer can just get up and go somewhere. Now that task encompasses working out very detailed plans and making sure we have enough diapers, wipes, clothing, and any necessary emergency precautions. I am a planner, but this has become exhausting already.
Even though our personal lives have changed, I couldn’t imagine our life without him. I could stay at home all day and enjoy his smiles and crazy sounds. Now that I have gone back to work, I find myself staring at my computer with his picture on it. I miss my son when I am in the office. I wish I got to spend more time with him during the day.
My Financial Life
This is a big one. Since I just finished paying off all of my $50,000 worth of credit card debt back in July 2012, I knew that a baby was going to be a big hit financially. We all know this to be true as well, but the numbers are staggering. I found a great infographic and posted it not too long ago asking “Where Does The Money Go When Raising A Child?“. It is eye opening and a little scary.
My biggest concern financially is whether we are ready for the financial pressure of a child. My wife and I are in good places with our jobs, but we could have waited a little longer in order to push up our savings. This would have been my plan, but my wife had a different one. She always told me that she wanted to have a child before 30. Our son was born 9 days before my wife turned 29, so I made it! I don’t think anyone is really financially “ready” to be a parent, but as long as you in a good place and can manage your money, then go for it.
My biggest shock was when we signed him up for daycare. He doesn’t go in until he is 4 months old, but dang. I think I am in the wrong business. There are not too many ways that you can save on childcare if you choose the daycare route. Luckily, my wife’s employer gives us a discount at the daycare that we chose. With daycare, you actually do “get what you pay for”. I wouldn’t skimp here. There are some things not worth being too frugal about.
Now, with a baby, I also had to be aware of all things going on in our finances. I needed to make sure that I was doing well at my job, bringing home the bacon, and using it effectively. I also wanted to make sure that I was setting up my son with a quality college education fund. After doing research, I decided to set him up with a 529 savings account from North Carolina, since it has good funds to invest in along with tax deduction implications. I also setup a Upromise account that will put any money that we save with our Upromise Mastercard directly into his 529 account. It might not be a lot of money, but it is better than nothing.
I have a lot of things going on in my head right now on how I can teach my son to be financially responsible, but that will come as he grows. Right now, I have to focus on making sure that my wife and I are comfortable with the financial changes and work on ways to make more income. We have not talked about having another baby, but who knows if/when that chat might come. I am just trying to figure out how to get through this initial financial and personal hurricane.
If you have kids, how did your life change? Was the change for the better? Did your son/daughter motivate you to get your finances in order?