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Are we ready to become parents?

Author: Amy Vu
Published: Jul 21 2020

Despite the age for Australians starting a family getting higher with each generation, having children is still a very important life goal for many of us.

With the rising cost of living and home ownership getting more out of reach for young people, one of the biggest concerns for would-be parents is getting financially prepared. It’s no wonder the latest Real Concerns Index found that close to nine in 10 (88.5%) of us are consumed by daily expenses and rising living costs.

If you’re thinking about starting a family, here are a few important questions you and your partner should discuss to help find out whether you’re ready to become parents.

Is this the right time in both our lives?

Career is important to many people. In fact, our Real Wishes survey found 70% of Aussies want to feel confident in their job security. So, if you were to start a family, how would that impact both of your careers?

Similarly, do you have any major life goals you’re currently striving towards? Home ownership may be a long-term goal, but the cost of raising a child could stretch out how long it will take for you to save up a deposit.

Also consider whether you’re still keen to travel. As soon as pregnancy is confirmed, there may be medical stipulations on how often and where you can travel to. So, if you’ve been preparing for a round-the-world exploration in the coming year, you’ll need to consider whether having a child could impact these plans.

Are we in a good place financially to look after a brand-new family member?

It might be an awkward conversation, but it’s one you’ll want to have before deciding to bring another little human into this world! What does your current cash situation look like? Are you essentially living paycheque to paycheque, or are you entirely comfortable with your finances that you could have triplets tomorrow and it wouldn’t cause any financial headaches?

It pays to think about these things over both the short and long term. After all, raising a child in Australia can be expensive, with recent estimates saying families are spending approximately $170 on each child every week. And before you head to the maternity ward, you’ll have to think about healthcare costs, including if you want to use the public system or pay for a private obstetrician, as well as all the extra costs that add up pre- and post-natal care.

During this discussion, it’s probably a good idea to raise the question of life insurance. Starting a family usually causes parents to think about planning for the future, what would happen if you weren’t around and creating a will. Life insurance is a lump sum payment that can help maintain your family’s lifestyle even if you were to suddenly pass away.

Are we ready for our lives to change significantly?

There’s no denying that a baby changes your life. There are all the usual clichés such as: less (or zero!) sleep, no time to yourself, you can barely leave the house in the initial weeks, all the extra costs on cots, prams, clothes and bottles. There’s also the long-term impact on your capacity to work.

In the long term, there’s bound to be changes, such as moving to a bigger place to accommodate your growing family.

There’s nothing wrong with using a detailed pros and cons list to map out your ideas, your dreams and your wishes for your future family. You’ll be able to discuss with your partner whether now is the right time for children, what your financial future should look like, and whether you have protection in place – should the unexpected ever happen.

Sources:
https://aifs.gov.au/facts-and-figures/births-in-australia
https://www.realinsurance.com.au/news-views/the-real-concerns-index
https://www.realinsurance.com.au/news-views/unlocking-the-2020-real-wishes-australians
https://aifs.gov.au/media-releases/new-estimates-costs-raising-children-australia

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