My husband and I are both millennials and based on the stereotype, we’re all about chasing our bliss—which typically doesn’t involve acting like grownups. We want to be fun parents, but responsible ones, so we need to get our acts together…at least for a little while.
Dan and I know ourselves pretty well. We’re aware that we would rather head for a hike in the mountains than reconcile a Visa statement; we procrastinate on responsible acts in favour of fun about 98 percent of the time. There’s nothing wrong with that until you add a baby into the mix.
There was some serious adulting we needed to address if we planned to survive (and hopefully thrive) in the baby’s first years.
There are some things you need to do before your babe gets here. Here’s a list of five things you should take care of before baby makes their debut:
1. Set Up a Will
It’s not sexy, but it’s necessary. It’s not just about where you want your stuff to go. Now that you have a kid on the way, you need to think about who you would like to be the guardian to your babe if you and your partner both pass away. Figuring out who will best raise your little monster is a lot harder than you expect. Also, make sure you talk to the folks who you want to be the guardians—it’s not recommended to leave it as a surprise in your will. You’ll also need to figure out your executors, trustees, funeral wishes, and a bunch of other details. Writing a will is kind of a dark exercise, but like many of our mothers have said, better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.
2. Take Care of Your Power of Attorney
Prepare for another terrific (I use the word loosely) conversation about what happens if you are mentally unable to make decisions for yourself financially or medically. Dan and I spent a lot of time talking about various situations where the other would need to make some hard decisions. Again, hopefully, neither of us will need to exercise our power of attorney, but it’s relieving to know that my husband knows my wishes and will take care of me if I can’t take care of myself. If you’re getting your will done, you can take care of your power of attorney at the same time.
3. Meet with Your Financial Advisor
We have a fantastic financial advisor—pretty much like family. She keeps in touch with us and when she found out that we were having a baby, she scheduled a few appointments for us. It’s no surprise that money coming into the household changes when you’re on maternity or parental leave, so we went over the numbers in our new budget, took a look at our insurance to make sure we didn’t need more, and answered any questions we had about what the next year has in store for us financially (the answer was primarily sacrificing and belt-tightening. Yay, frugality!).
4. Set Up Your Life Insurance
I have a friend who is married with two kids; she says that she doesn’t have life insurance for herself because that means that she’s worth more to her husband alive than dead. She says this tongue-in-cheek of course, but life insurance is all kinds of important. Dan’s life insurance took a bit longer to be approved than mine and I stressed thinking, If I die, you and the kid will be fine financially. If you die, I’m screwed. This isn’t meant to be a jackpot payout, you just need to have enough in place to help make sure that you can support yourself and child, keep a roof over your head, pay funeral costs, and stay financially buoyant while you figure out your new normal.
5. Set Up Your Critical Illness Insurance
Critical illness is great to have in place if you get diagnosed with one of the illnesses outlined in your policy. You’ll get a lump sum of money that can support you if you need to be off work (and don’t have a disability plan in place), help pay for treatments that aren’t covered by provincial healthcare or a personal insurance plan, or anything else that may cost you money if you get diagnosed with a critical illness. It’s not a requirement, but Dan and I have it to cover our hindquarters–we’re going to be parents, after all.
Am I bumming you out with all this responsibility? Hey, I’ve done all this stuff; I can tell you with 1000% (yes, one thousand percent) certainty that it’s not a good time. It’s boring and isn’t exactly a five-minute task. Silver lining time: once it’s done, you’re golden. You’ll likely want to revisit all of these at regular intervals to make sure that the information is still current, but try to do the heavy lifting sooner rather than later.
Sorry for giving you homework. Truly. If you’re anything like Dan and me, you’ll want to take care of these items before you have the baby. We’ll be too busy taking our little one camping or on other adventures to even think about adulting once she’s here.
Photo Credit: Iga Palacz