Make Room for Baby: How to Financially Prep for Parenthood

Raising a child is one of the most amazing and intense experiences one can have in life. Parents to be should be prepared to experience emotions and feelings theyve never felt before--and most of them are good!

Along with sleepless nights and diaper changes, new parents should also be prepared to experience major changes in their finances. Raising a child is not cheap, and the thought of dealing with all of the possible new costs can be overwhelming.

Here are four financial moves to make before baby arrives to help parents prepare for their new addition:

1) Dont Freak Out

Many new parents to be completely panic when they think about trying to prepare financially for a new baby (I must confess: I was one of them). The truth is, once the baby came, we didnt really notice the new day-to-day costs that much (other than diapers!). Parents shouldnt freak out about the extra costs that comes with a new baby, but they need to be open to adjusting to their new lifestyle.

2) Build an Initial Set of Long-Term Goals

Its natural for soon-to-be parents to really start thinking and planning about their future. Before the baby arrives, couples should sit down and outline their shared long-term goals. The goals dont have to be fancy, but its important to have a basic agreement over long-term goals and finances.

3) Buy Insurance

Having a baby changes many things for parents, the biggest probably being how they look at the world--its not just about them anymore! Parents are bringing a new life into the world, one that is innocent and basically helpless for a number of years. Its their responsibility to make sure that if something happens to either parent, the childs needs will be met. This means getting three types of insurance: health, life and disability.

The need for health insurance is obvious: to protect the family in case parent or child has major medical issues. The other two types provide income replacement; life insurance in case a spouse passes away, and disability insurance in case one of the parents cant work for some reason. Buying insurance is complicated, so do some research, bite the bullet and get the proper insurance before the baby arrives.

4) Figure Out Daycare

Daycare can be a big stressor for new parents, so start planning now. Finding the right daycare situation is not easy and odds are, it wont be cheap.

To get a handle on the cost part, information is power. Parents need to do their homework; call potential providers and get cost estimates and what each provides. Not only with this help parents budget accordingly, it can also help evaluate the financial trade-offs of a spouse working full time versus part time.

Having a baby is an exciting and scary time. As the due date gets closer, parents should do themselves a favor and use these four tips to get prepared financially. That way, when the big day comes, they can fully enjoy the moment, secure in the knowledge that theyve covered all the financial bases financially. Congratulations again and good luck!

Bryan Link is the CEO and co-founder of SimpliFi, Inc., an online consumer financial planning service. SimpliFi has won several awards and was named Fast Companys Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in 2010. Bryans expertise in personal finance has led to him being featured in a variety of print and broadcast media, including ABC News, FOX Business and The Wall Street Journal.