In the months leading up to bringing your first baby home, you might find yourself compiling checklists for checklists and endless tasks like stocking up on baby gear, furnishing the nursery, writing a birth plan and childproofing your entire life. But what about the not-so-obvious stuff? Here are a list of things to do before maternity leave starts.
Edwin Theron, CEO at digital insurance provider Sanlam Indie says: “Having a baby won’t just have a small impact on your life, it’s going to shift the centre of your universe, so thinking ahead about the possible challenges such as medical costs, maternity leave, life-insurance and pre-baby budgeting, will help you prepare to be the best parent you can be.” He goes on to say that “even though you think 9 months is a long time, don’t put off financial planning for your future self to handle – soon washing milk bottles will replace life admin so now is the time to do it.”
Here’s a list of five less thought about items before your baby arrives:
1. Gap Cover
For many, it may come as a shock to realise that even if you have medical aid, you could be faced with additional medical costs that having a baby can bring to the table. Gap cover provides extra financial protection and closes the gap between what specialists charge and what your medical aid is prepared to pay, ensuring that you can afford the care that you and your family deserve and need.
Top Tip: Gap cover providers appoint a 10-month exclusionary waiting period on pregnancy and childbirth, so be sure this is something you include into the planning stages of starting a family.
2. Where there’s a will…
Like Life Insurance, it’s one of those things we don’t like to think about, but if you’re going to become a parent, getting a will should be right up there with deciding on baby’s name or which pram to buy. Without one, you would have no say over who should care for your little bundle in the event of your death or what they will inherit from you and who should look after this inheritance until they’re old enough to look after it for themselves.
Top Tip: Unless you have multiple assets and numerous issues that require a lawyer, you can draw up a will yourself online within minutes.
3. Save, save, and save some more
Welcoming a baby into the world will have a significant impact on your finances. Being proactive when planning will help you to direct, save, and protect your wealth and is essential in preparation for raising and sustaining a child – not to mention the optional luxuries like a night nurse or whether your Mother-in-Law is up for babysitting. Consider borrowing items that the baby will use for short periods of time and look out for car seats and cots that are convertible, meaning you will save on large purchases in the future.
Top Tip: Consider opening a tax-free savings account and setting up a monthly debit order to assist you with the discipline and frequency of saving.
4. Baby proof your life
As you are heading to the final stretch, the nesting phase will start to kick in. While you will be inspired (again) to clean, organise and rearrange the nursery and house in preparation, don’t overlook the safety around the house. You may think you have time, but in the blink of an eye, that tiny baby is going to be digging under things or doing weird things like chewing on furniture legs so now is the time to cover those sharp corners, clear out/raise any indoor plants, and cover up plug points across the house.
Top Tip: Go down to tummy time level to make sure that there are no heavy objects on high cabinets or counters that can topple over once baby starts moving around.
5. Insure your life
It can be easy to put off big tasks until tomorrow (which never comes), so if “sign up for life insurance” is toward the bottom of your pre-baby to-do list, now is the time to push that right to the top. Even though the last thing you want to be thinking about is the possibility of your family needing to use your life insurance policy, not being able to provide for your child or leaving your partner with the financial burden of having to do so alone, is a far less pleasant thought.
Top Tip: There are many factors to consider when getting life insurance so it’s best to see what kind of cover you need (and don’t need) with an insurer like Sanlam Indie – With Sanlam Indie you can get covered in 10 minutes, so there’s no time like the present.
Bonus Tip: Stock up on groceries
“Why?” you ask. Short answer… to save your sanity! Stock up on essentials such as coffee (the only thing you will really need), easy oven/frozen dishes, crackers, butter, and milk so you have them on hand, as well as some fresh foods such as fruits and veggies to snack on that will help you power through the chaos of those first whirlwind weeks (don’t forget the chocolate Mom).
Top Tip: Bottled water is another important thing to buy in bulk so make sure to buy enough for the first few weeks.
“Providing for your child isn’t just about taking care of their current needs; it’s about preparing for their future needs too.” – Edwin Theron, CEO at Sanlam Indie