By Lee Hancox, 9 December 2021
Lee Hancox, Head of Channel and Segment Marketing at Sanlam, says parents should draw up and stick to a holistic financial plan as soon as they know they are expecting. “There are so many financial unknowns and you cannot anticipate all costs, but drawing up a well-considered financial plan is the first and most important step towards ensuring your peace of mind.”
She says the plan needs to address a series of critical events and must be drawn up in consultation with your partner, employer, medical aid provider and financial adviser. Here some experts offer tips on preparing financially (and more generally) for your baby.
Women often underestimate the enormous impact pregnancy will have on their physical and emotional wellbeing. During your first visit to the doctor, you are likely to undergo tests to monitor your health and the growth of the baby. These tests, which may be costly (expect to pay anything up to R2500) include those for blood pressure, blood glucose and German measles, as well as your first sonar scan. Some are not covered by basic medical aid plans so need to be accounted for. Your doctor may be able to give you a list of all the consultations and assessments that will be required for the duration of your pregnancy as well as the associated costs.
“During the second trimester, you will have moved past the morning sickness phase and, hopefully, be feeling great. Use this time to review your long-term financial plans. Specifics you and your partner will need to agree on and discuss with your professional financial adviser are: updating your
appointing a guardian, adding your child as a dependant on your medical aid and
retirement fund, revisiting your
estate planning, increasing your
life cover and
emergency fund, and starting an
education fund,” says Hancox.
“In this trimester, you can opt for additional tests, including those for fetal anomalies like Down’s syndrome. These tests could well fall outside your medical aid limits and will need to be budgeted for; they are likely to cost up to R2 400, although this is dependent on your service provider.
During this period, your budget will need to take into account your maternity leave, your living needs, savings,
insurance, medical aid, and essentials needed for the baby. You should also consider your birth plan, including where and how you wish to give birth.
You are now finally ready to welcome the new addition to your family. However, you can only plan for the birth of your child up to a point – there are numerous factors which could impact your particular experience as well as your finances. These include your and your baby’s health as well as the circumstances of the birth.
At last, you’re safely home with your baby. Depending on your financial plan, you may have budgeted for additional help at home. However, this period remains a physically and emotionally taxing period and requires a fair amount of planning and resources.
You may also be affected by what is known as the “baby blues”. All mothers process the experience of childbirth differently. There may be latent feelings of trauma which, exacerbated by exhaustion, could manifest after the birth. This may indicate post-partum depression, which needs to be addressed by your doctor immediately.
“It is easy to assume that after the baby is born, you will be the same person you were at the start of this journey. However, the reality is that you have changed, and so have your circumstances. Careful financial planning for every step of the way will allow you to enjoy this special time the way it is supposed to be,” concludes Hancox.