Starting a family is arguably the biggest change in an adult’s life. Although the unique sleeping schedule that goes along with having a child may seem like the most drastic change, taking on the role of financial provider for another is a huge undertaking.
According to new studies, it costs the average family $235,000 to raise a child to the age of 18, not including college. The financial investment in starting a family is no joke; if you’re thinking of starting a family, look for these financial signs you’re ready to take the leap.
One of the most difficult parts of managing family finances is setting up and sticking to a budget that not only works for you, but the members of your family. Your ability to plan and stick to a budget now is a good indicator of your ability to budget in the future.
You plan and stick to a reasonable budget so you aren’t drastically over in any specific area. A well balanced budget puts more focus on the necessities, minimizes the unnecessary and always leaves room for saving.
Related to your ability to budget is avoiding splurging on the unnecessary. Avoiding splurges is a sign you’re putting money toward more useful things and saving. Splurging usually happens on a credit card, so keep track of your progress by keeping your balances low and checking your credit score.
Splurging is rare and tends to be on long-term products like appliances, vehicles and home improvements.
Emergency funds are important for a number of reasons, but once you start a family they’re absolutely essential. An emergency fund can come in handy when an unexpected expense comes up but also helps reduce financial stress. If you aren’t always worrying about the next big expense or the unexpected, it may be a sign you’re financially stable enough to start a family.
You have an emergency fund and don’t feel stressed about every unexpected expense.
Financial stability on a very basic level is a good indicator you may be ready to have a child. Very few or no changes in your banking, saving and career history mean you’re making the right financial plans and sticking to them.
Signs you’re reaching a financially stable point in your life are varied. For example, you’ve had your job for a while now and plan on staying there for a while or you’ve been consistently above a certain amount in your checking and savings account for several months.
All planning aside, the best part about making the transition into parenthood is that it doesn’t matter how ready they are, parents always make the sacrifices necessary to raise a child.