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Okay, where to begin...let's start with the stats. I'm 35 and my husband is 52. Neither of us have children nor ever really planned to have children (although we do have a cat and a goldfish). So, on a whim we decided to have unprotected sex...well we always have unprotected sex but this time we "forgot" to cut things short...and now we're pregnant.
I'm a mix of emotions about the whole thing and so is he, but we're coming to terms with it all. OMG, are we really having a human baby??? Yikes!
Ok, now that I got that momentary panic out I can get back to business (my questions). First, does anyone have a recommendation for good financial planning advice? I don't mean just "how to budget to have a baby" but more like "how to revamp your financial situation from self centered spending with no consideration of dependants to sound family planning without sacrificing personal dreams". Ok, maybe that's pretty specific but it's high on my list of concerns/fears.
Second, I was just about to put one foot out the door at my job. I've been working at the same place for 12 years and am desperately in need of a change. However, I'm afraid I won't be able to make the same pay at a new job but I was willing to take a pay cut BECAUSE I didn't have anyone to look after but myself. Well, that's all changing now, isn't it. I think my current employer has a decent maternity leave program so i'm thinking I should tough it out for a while longer...but 7 months is a long time to tough it out when you were ready to walk out the door. I'm also worried about how best to transition to a new job with a new baby. I guess I'm looking for some suggestions on career changes around the time of a new (and first) baby.
Finally, our living situation is a little unusual and I think it's going to have to change. Our house is about 2 hours from our jobs. I work in the city and my husband is self employed and needs to be in a metropolitan area near wealthy clients. So, we have a studio apartment (it's actually an au pair suite of a large house...what's the irony of that?!?). We spend the week in the studio and go to our house on the weekends. Of course I'll be at the house for the few months after the baby is born but I don't know if we can do the shuffle with a small child. I also am not sure it's practical for 3 people to live in a studio, granted one if the people will be tiny but potentially noisy...not sure how keen our landlord would be about it either. So, I'm thinking it will be very likely we'll need a new housing situation. Rent is not cheap where we work and we're paying under market rates now so this one feeds into the financial question above.
Long posting, I know, but thanks for reading and any thoughts or advice would be appreciated. LOTS of changes coming!
Babies really don't cost that much. Diapers and wipes are pretty important, some clothes and a car seat, maybe a pacifier. As a parent, I spend money on my daughter because it makes me feel good. If you breastfeed that will save you $100/month on formula costs. Really you don't need a lot of extras.
As for the job... I stuck it out at a job I really hated so that I could get maternity leave, and basically it just sucks. As you get more pregnant, it seems like the job sucks even more - your tolerance goes out the window. Would I do it again? Probably. Stick it out through your pregnancy and then job hunt while on maternity leave. That would be my suggestion because a new employer generally won't be happy when they hear you're expecting and may not guarantee your job back. Good luck either way.
First off, congratulations! What a fun story with a delightfully unexpected twist getting ready to join you!
I agree with the other poster that babies don't have to be super expensive. It really is going to come down to what you're core beliefs and life goals are. We have decided not to have college funds for our children because we believe, after considering our own college and that of friends, that they will value college much more if they are working to pay for it themselves. We will help out in other ways. We do, however, pay for private school for them. It's a big financial sacrifice, but one we find well worth it. Assuming you have only one child, even private school won't be that challenging to squeeze into the budget if that's what you want. As for other areas, adding one person to the family won't change much of your financial plans and goals. It would be a good idea to meet with a financial planner to talk about things like life insurance and such. But honestly, we're making it on one income with several already in private school and still saving for retiremen, and we have six kids, so I know you'll be fine.
As far as a job goes, I say feel free to look around and get some interviews. Employers and prospective employers can't ask about pregnancy, and of course you're not obligated to mention it. If something amazing lands in your lap, great. If not, stick it out where you are for now, and then you can leave after your maternity leave. It might be annoying to stick it out, but at the same time it gives you a very specific, 'just have to make it until' date. I guess I would lean towards telling you to stay for now, enjoy maternity leave, and reevaluate then. See if you can make it work to stay home for a few years to give your baby your 100% if that appeals to you when the time comes. Which leads to my next point about housing. Where you work and your situation will be a big factor in the housing thing. Staying home, working from home, or working close to home might make it pretty easy to do what you're doing currently. If your little cutie has a very stable routine with lots of parental attention then a weekend at a different home won't be a big deal at all. If things are hectic and chaotic with back-and-forthing to daycare and such then it might just be one more annoying and disruptive thing to deal with. It's hard to know. But while a studio apartment with a baby is super no big deal, a studio with a bigger child will be pretty challenging. For example, when it's time for your 6 month old to go to bed, the lights have to go out or he or she won't sleep.
Anyway, you have lots of time to work out the details, and I can tell from your post that you have a cheery sense of humor which goes such a very long way in this crazy ride of parenthood!
Brooke, happy mama to one girl (9), and four boys (7, 5, 3, and 2) and a surprise post-vasectomy miracle baby born February 7.
You have 9 months to get yourself ready! I say stick with that job for now... I do not think that you can get fired for medical reasons... I hate my job right now and we are trying to get pregnant... I said I would come to work until I was uncomfortable. We actually live in a foreign country (Kuwait)
I think that once the shock wears off, you will go into Mommy Mode and do what is right for your family! Congrats!!!
I think the refocusing from the only having to take care of me to include a baby in the plans if very scary. I am in the process of doing this and I struggle every day.
We were surprised and at four months in we are struggling with the changes. We race motorcycles and it is worse for me because right now I do not have the option of riding and he still does. It is hard to give up the way of life you've become accustomed too and that you had planned for yourself. I find myself easily frustrated and very upset over the changes. I really wasn't ready and hadn't planning on giving this part of my life up and now the choice has been taken from me and worse yet I have to watch him still enjoying something that we both like to do.
I guess for me it boils down to accepting that I am going to be a little angry and resentful and learning how to deal with that and find the good in the changes. The good thing is that you have someone very substantial on the way that will need all of your attention.
Sit down and look at all your finances, pull out bills and receipts, get exact figures. Sort it all into two piles: Recurring fixed loans like car payments, student loans, mortgages, rent, etc. Things that are the same amount every single month. The second pile is all your debt that fluctuates, like credit cards, hospital bills (short term payments, less than 6 months), power bill, etc.
Take your total income for the month and deduct all of your fixed debts (from the first category). Now look at the amount you have left. Divide it by three: The first chunk goes into savings. The second chunk into your checking for gasoline, groceries, necessities, etc. The third chunk will be debt relief.
The first things to come out of that debt relief chunk will be the fluctuating debt that is also recurring (power, water, etc). You can change how much you owe by how you use those resources, so this is an excellent opportunity to gauge how much you use and how you can reduce its usage. What is left over is what you can afford to spend paying off your credit cards, hospital bills, etc. If there is too little left over or nothing then you need to first pull money out of your checking account. Note, that means you're currently living outside of your means, especially if you're then having to pull money back out of savings to pay for groceries.
Eventually the goal is that your fluctuating debt will be diminished and then the excess can be applied to your fixed debt, like your car payments. And then as you reduce that debt it will be divided between checking and savings.
It takes a lot of doing but it is worth it.
'Scuse the bad typing, please. 'Breast is Best' but not when browsing the internet!
Thanks everyone for the great thoughts. The panic is wearing off and we're going into planning mode.
The budgeting advice is helpful for daily spending. I'm also wondering about things like life insurance, long term care insurance, deductibles, etc. I never really worried too much about these things because I didn't have any kids. Oh, and did I mention that we also have to buy a car because our one vehicle is a pickup truck? Anyone got any advice on growing a money tree???
Random567-thank you so much for your comments. We too are struggling with this one. We are big mountain bikers and wine drinkers and that's having to take a hiatus for now. But, my advice to you on this one is think about the day you can share your passion with your child. That keeps me excited (at least with the mountain biking...it's going to be a looooooong time before I will share my wine passion with this kid). Also, some people may think my next point is a little callous but I think you should continue to do the things you love, even if there is a small risk to the child, especially if it's going to make you depressed to quit your activities. Emphasis placed on "small" risk. For example, my doc told me not to ride a bike because of the risk of falling and hurting the baby. My response is that I only ride easy trails now and don't fall. I've been doing it long enough that I can keep myself from falling. Yeah, there are always freak accidents that can happen but that can happen anytime. Just be reasonable with what you do. With bikes, there will come a day when our bellies will make it impractical (and probably too dangerous) to ride but until then, I say ride on if you know you won't fall. I would probably steer clear of the racing until after the baby is born though.
Last edited by GoWithIt; October 22nd, 2013 at 08:49 AM.
Reason: Original post posted before it was finished
I am lucky in a sense because I have done alot and had many extreme hobbies. Lots of experiences but racing motorcycles is one I will not allow or share with the little one. It is just too dangerous, I can't tell you how many times I've crashed and been hurt and how many friends I've lost. That use to be and acceptable risk but.... for them? No. I make them play golf.
Its just time to start a new chapter and find new things to enjoy for me. But seriously... I can't wait to go back to drinking wine....