Starting a family comes with a lot of financial planning, especially if one parent is taking on the task of stay at home parent. Alexandra Sacks, author of WHAT NO ONE TELLS YOU, shares 3 big budgeting questions to ask when starting a family.
If you or your partner will be forgoing income to stay home with the baby, we recommend you discuss the following questions. They may be tough, but they’re important.
#1. How does the person who gives up a paycheck have access to funds?
For example, if you’re a stay-at-home mom, you probably don’t want to have to ask your partner for money to pay for personal items (the same is true for stay-at-home dads). Having to negotiate with your partner about how much you should spend on the moisturizer or jeans you’ve bought yourself for years can make you feel powerless and will no doubt put stress on your relationship. The nonearning person is still “working” for the family in terms of child care and will still need a voice in the small day-to-day purchases as well as the larger financial decisions. It may be helpful, even if you’ve always pooled all your finances, to give each partner a personal spending account separate from the family finances, which you can spend at your personal discretion.
#2. How will you monitor your budget together?
If only one of you is the primary caregiver, does the less hands-on person get a say in baby-related spending? For example, if you’re the one pushing the stroller most of the time, do you get to decide how much money to spend on a particular model, or does your partner also get input? If your partner is away at work most of the day and thinks that paying for a weekly babysitter while you’re already home and not earning (so you can nap, exercise, or run errands) is a waste of money, how much say do you each get in this decision? By deciding this in advance, you can avoid future arguments about who’s responsible for which parts of the family budget.
#3. What about domestic work?
If one of you is going from working outside the home to being a stay-at-home parent, will that person also be expected to do all the cooking, cleaning, and laundry? How will your change in roles change your chores routine? Should the person working outside of the home take on more domestic responsibilities or child care on the weekend in order to give the primary caregiver a break?
For more parenting tips check out WHAT NO ONE TELLS YOU by Alexandra Sacks.
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Excerpted from What No One Tells You by Alexandra Sacks. Copyright © 2019 by the author. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.
Photo by Natalya Zaritskaya on Unsplash.