A New Parent’s Financial Planning Checklist


Let’s face it, welcoming a new baby is a whirlwind of emotions. Pure joy? Absolutely! Sleep deprivation? You bet! Questions about the future, especially financially? Definitely!

Not to worry… here are some financial planning suggestions for new parents which I hope will provide some clarity and confidence as you launch your new adventure and will also help your child to successfully launch when they reach adulthood.

Dig deep into your budget. Get a clear picture of your current and future monthly spending. Consider your income: will it remain stable after the baby arrives? Will you or your partner be working less? Factor in the new ongoing costs your family will incur, like childcare, healthcare premiums, groceries, and baby supplies. Once you understand your post-baby expenses, run a cash flow analysis to determine your new discretionary income.

Start an emergency fund. Expect the unexpected when you are a parent. Having an emergency fund that will cover 6-12 months of expenses will be a huge stress reducer when life happens.

Review the parental leave policies at your employer. Providing time for new parents to be with their family is an increasingly common employee benefit; consider taking advantage of it.

Consider long-term disability insurance. If an earning parent can’t work, disability insurance can provide an effective income replacement.

Evaluate your life insurance coverage. Whether you’re a one or a two-earner household, every parent should address the financial risk of an untimely demise. At a minimum, the death benefit should either serve as an income replacement, or it should sufficiently offset the costs of dependent care. A GoFundMe page is not a plan you can hang your hat on.

Review your beneficiaries. Your retirement accounts (401k/403B/Simple/SEP/IRA/Roth) and life insurance policies allow you to seamlessly direct where these assets will flow upon your demise. Keep in mind that the beneficiary designations for these accounts will supersede what you’ve specified in your Will.

Prepare your estate planning documents. Who will take care of your children (i.e. be their guardian) if you’re not around? If you’re not able to make decisions due to a physical or mental disability, who’ll be authorized to stand in your place? The basic building blocks of an estate plan – a Will, Durable Power of Attorney, and health care proxy – document your preferences so that you can control a variety of outcomes.

Add your child to your health insurance plan. This should typically be completed 30 days after birth or adoption.

Know the tax breaks. Uncle Sam provides a number of potential tax benefits for your family, such as a dependent care flexible spending account (which can provide a deduction for qualified dependent care expenses) and a child tax credit of up to $2,000. Check with your tax advisor to learn how you can benefit.

Start saving for college. The Oregon 529 plan provides tax-deferred savings and tax-free withdrawals for qualified education expenses. And you get up to a $360 annual tax credit on your Oregon state income taxes.

A few years ago, my meticulous planning for my own children’s education reached a major milestone. Seeing my youngest (of 3!) secure a rewarding position in the aerospace industry with their Carnegie Mellon Mechanical Engineering degree, all student loan-free, was a mission accomplished! This firsthand experience has fueled my passion for helping new parents like you avoid financial stress and navigate the complexities of education planning.

For those of you who are just starting the exciting and rewarding journey of parenthood, or are midway through, plenty of twists and turns lie ahead. My advice is that you take control of the financial aspects of parenting, and then enjoy the ride!

At Bend Wealth Advisors, we understand that financial planning isn’t one-size-fits-all. We work with families in all phases of life, so we’ll meet you where you’re at now. If you want to learn more about how you can plan for your family’s future, please reach out.

Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services are offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc. Bend Wealth Advisors is not a registered broker/dealer and is independent of Raymond James Financial Services.

The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete, it is not a statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision, and it does not constitute a recommendation. Any opinions are those of Stuart Malakoff and not necessarily those of Raymond James.

Favorable state tax treatment for investing in Section 529 college savings plans may be limited to investments made in plans offered by your home state. Investors should consult a tax advisor about any state tax consequences of an investment in a 529 plan.

Neither Raymond James Financial Services nor any Raymond James Financial Advisor renders advice on tax issues, these matters should be discussed with the appropriate professional.

Every investor’s situation is unique, and you should consider your investment goals, risk tolerance and time horizon before making any investment. Prior to making an investment decision, please consult with your financial advisor about your individual situation.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM, and CFP® (with plaque design) in the United States, which it authorizes use of by individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.

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