Two weeks ago, my wife and I welcomed our second child into our family. Our firstborn is three years old now, and I had forgotten how quickly things change upon the birth of a child. For instance: while holding our newborn daughter for the first time, my wife remarked how small she was. A mere hours earlier, my still-pregnant wife was lamenting how very big this same baby was. Amazing how quickly birth changed my wife’s perspective of size!
Of course, a new baby brings about many more profound changes, particularly financially. For us, the changes started when we discovered my wife was pregnant: we needed to start saving money to cover expenses during my wife’s maternity leave — eight weeks unpaid. This was not easy to do considering we also had to save for the upcoming hospital bills.
At the same time, we had other savings goals: retirement, emergency fund, debt payoff, etc. Sometimes the hardest thing about saving money is prioritizing goals and sacrificing one goal for another, if only temporarily.
Our finances won’t simply go back to normal once my wife goes back to work; a baby changes a family’s financial outlook forever. For now, there are diapers and wipes to be bought. Eventually, we’ll have to buy more food and groceries. We’ll have to get more clothes for our kids as they grow and we’ll be doing a lot more laundry too. Utility bills will go up as they discover electronics and inevitably leave lights and televisions on in the other room.
Kids are expensive and the expenses will vary and evolve from year-to-year, month-to-month, maybe even day-to-day. We’ll need to develop a new budget; one that is flexible and can be adjusted as our children and their needs grow; one that not only covers all of our new and rising expenses, but also allows us to continue to save for our financial goals. Again, some sacrifices will have to be made.
Furthermore, having kids not only means caring for them when we are alive but it also means making plans to care for them after we die. Ironically, despite working for a company that does estate planning, my wife and I still don’t have a will! That’s changing soon though as we just started the will preparation process.
A will gives us even more to think about. Most importantly: who will be the legal guardian of our children if we were to die? Our families are the most logical option but after much thought and prayer, we decided that wouldn’t be the best choice for our children. Thankfully, our children have great, God-loving Godparents who have agreed to be our kids’ legal guardian should the need ever arise.
My children bring me great joy. Other than somehow convincing my wife to marry me, having two healthy, beautiful, sweet kids is easily my most astonishing accomplishment in my life. It is an honor to care for them. They require a lot of sacrifices, financial and otherwise, but they are worth everything that I can give.