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I’ve got a sweet guest post lined up for you today by Mike, owner of MikedUp Blog! Mike is a current CEO (of his family business), blogger, and forensic scientist. He’s getting their family-owned business off the ground while focusing on staying fit and being a solid family man… and writing about all the highs and lows that come with it. He’s got a lot of great tips on starting Parenthood on the right track. Enjoy! ~ Jamie
It was a Wednesday. And if you know anything about Wednesdays, then you know we’re half-way there… Yet we still have roughly half of the work week remaining. But when it comes to toddlers, that’s the beautiful thing: they don’t care what day it is. Nor do they care the time.
Toddlers possess this beautiful innocence that allows them to say what they want, when they want, to whoever they want.
On the Wednesday in discussion, I was picking our daughter (the toddler) up from school (daycare). On my way to the building I engaged in the normal banter with the front desk staff, “How’s it going?” – “Lovely day out there” – “Looking forward to a run later” – “You have a great night too!”
I made my way down the hallway and into my daughter’s room – the “early preschool” room. As I was thinking to myself about how fast they grow up and opened the door, the heat-seeking-missile locked on and threw a leaping spear-hug into my abdomen.
Hands down the best part of my day!
Next was the daily check-in with the teachers. And because we’ve been dealing with some difficulty at nap time the last few days, I was 100% zoned-in to the post-game report. “She had a great day today and was so good at nap time!”
Perfect! That’s just the news I was hoping for. Then, like a seasoned comic senses the perfect punchline setup approaching, my toddler saw her opening and let it fly: “You’re a BOOTY SHAKER, Daddy!”
The teacher lost it and I turned clown-nosed red. Apparently, she was still a bit too young for the 90’s hip-hop introduction…
As a Parent, You Need to Be Ready For Anything
My point with the above story is this: parenthood brings with it the complete gamut of emotions. You’ll be surprised, exhausted, furious, and joyful to the point of tears.
But, if you’re at all like me, there will be some times where you’re anything but prepared. And if you’re not on top of your game, that lack of preparation can start from Day One. Don’t let that be you.
With a little bit of planning and preparation, you can get ahead of the major issues you’ll encounter soon after your bundle of joy’s arrival. We’re going to talk about the basics, the legal stuff, and the stuff you don’t want to talk about – but absolutely need to.
11 ‘Adult’ Things You Need to Tackle as New Parents
When you’re responsible for the welfare of another human being, you’ve got to be on top of your game and plan for any and all circumstances.
1. Report the Birth to Your Insurance
You’ve probably heard the stats that medical bills are the main culprit leading to bankruptcy (62% according to a Harvard study). So – if you have health insurance, let’s go ahead and side-step this issue from the get go. Amidst all the hospital hustle and bustle, make sure you sign your child up for your plan.
Most insurances offer an understandable grace period after birth but it’s always a good idea to knock these big-ticket items out early.
2. Complete the Birth Certificate and Social Security Card Paperwork
Based on extensive, double-blind, and placebo tested research (my daughter’s birth and conversations with a hand full of friends), these forms are provided to you at the hospital.
And… If you’re lucky, you’ll have a few awesome nurses to remind you that, “Hey. Now would be a good time to fill that paperwork out so you don’t forget.” Then they’ll throw you a wink, you’ll fill out the forms, and your spouse will thank you.
Congrats! You can cross that one off the list early.
3. Update Your Family Budget – There’s a New Kid in Town
That same Harvard study (from #1 above) says that having health insurance doesn’t mean you’ll escape the bankruptcy fate with ease. In fact, 72% of people filing bankruptcy due to medical bills had health insurance…! Oh no! Do I have your attention now?
Ok, so what can we do?In addition to some of the items below, you can take a good thrice-over of the family budget. During the exam, you can make sure extra child-related expenses are covered, in addition to scrutinizing all of those other expenses.
Are they worthy of your precious dollars? This is the time to answer that question. Bonus points you if you can increase the size of your emergency fund in the process. Jamie has a solid budgeting post to help get you started. Good luck!
4. Create your Estate Plan (Will, Power of Attorney, and Other Legal Documents)
First the bad news: this normally has a decent price tag attached to it. For us, we paid close to $1,000 for the entire suite of documents.
Now for the good news: we had the opportunity to make tough decisions during “peacetime” rather than in a time of crisis. I couldn’t imagine having to make life and death decisions, or even regular decisions, about the future of our family amidst a difficult time.
Your Estate Plan will have everything laid out for you. And that control over the wealth you work so hard to build is peace of mind that helps you sleep at night. Just make sure you’re working with a lawyer you respect and trust.
5. Update Your Beneficiaries
You need to be very careful with this one. Now that you have your Estate Plan in place, you can’t just be all willy-nilly in naming beneficiaries. Most commonly, your beneficiary will be the Estate, which will then have a system already in place for what happens to those funds.
This WSJ article cautions that naming an individual as your beneficiary will most commonly override your Estate Plan. If that’s your plan, why waste the $1,000?
Create the system (Estate Plan) then feed it by naming the Estate as your beneficiary.
6. Obtain/Up Your Disability Insurance Policies
With your new and improved (updated) budget, you are most likely responsible for more expenses nowadays. If you get hurt on the job, those expenses won’t go away.
Now’s a good time to increase your disability insurance coverage to reflect your new family situation.
Each family has its own unique credits and debits though, so consult the budget and determine if this step is right for you.
7. Get Term Life Insurance
If you were uncomfortable talking through the Estate Plan preparation, then this is most certainly the tough conversation you don’t want to have. But I caution that this is definitely one you need to have.
I know for sure that if something were to happen to me, I do not want to leave my wife and child behind in a precarious financial situation with unexpected funeral costs… No thank you. I’d rather her get handed a check so that she wouldn’t need to worry about how to get money to pay for X.
In determining what amount is right for you, there are so many variables that come into play. Expected future earnings, total money already saved, outstanding debts, etc. Talk through these with your spouse and a professional so that you can choose the right number
8. God Parent Selections (If Applicable)
Depending on your religion, this can be a big one as well. We are Catholic and choosing God Parents is a big milestone for us.
The guidance we received was to choose positive role models for our daughter. People that she could look up to that lead good, honest lives. And most importantly, individuals who are active in their faith.
9. Determine the Plan for Your Child if You Two Aren’t Around Anymore
Contrary to what you may think, completing Step 8 does not automatically determine Step 9. Admittedly, this is a tough subject to broach.
On one hand, the God Parents should be the epitome of an example you’d like to see for your child. With that in mind, why wouldn’t you want those individuals to care for your pride and joy if you are unable to do so?
On the other hand, there are many factors that could lead you to choose different individuals as the caretakers for your child. Are the God Parents from different families living under different roofs? Is there a 19-year-old college student in the mix? Maybe one is a grandparent whose life expectancy does not exceed your child’s formative years…
The point is that this is a complicated decision that requires its own answer.
10. Start a 529 Plan – Or Something Similar
Now that you have the paperwork filed, budget updated, and financial and moral foundation cemented – now it’s time to discuss whether funding your child’s college education is something you choose to do. Like most of the topics on this list, this can be a charged issue.
The great thing about that is that there’s no right or wrong answer. The best thing you can do is what’s right for your family.
11) Don’t Forget About Date Night
If there’s one thing that’s easy to overlook with a new baby in the home, it can be the spouse that helped you bring the kid into existence. With diapers, feedings, and a lack of sleep, the amazing yet elusive “date night” can be easily pushed off for “tomorrow” or “next week.” I urge you to fight that instinct off once the initial settling in period is complete.
If you learn the mechanics of carving out time for you and your spouse now, it’ll be a habit before you know it. Your relationship with your spouse is full of the love that brought your child into this world. That love deserves to be nurtured and grown for so many reasons. Do it now so that it’s not a struggle later.
And besides, if you’re at all interested in providing a sibling for the little one, you’ll need to find some time to make that happen. Or, as my daughter says, you’ll just have to “Ask God for a little sister…”
Thanks for reading and thanks to Jamie for letting me share this post with you!
Let Me Know in the Comments
I’d love to hear some of your stories in the comments! Also let me know if there’s anything I missed!
Current Parents: What was the most surprising “Adult” thing you had to do after your kiddo was born?
Expecting Parents: What are you preparing for the most with your bundle of joy?