When it comes to being a first-time parent, the prevailing wisdom seems to be that you can read all the books, do all the research and yet … there’s no real preparing for what the actual experience feels like.
Which is kind of what makes the whole thing so exciting, not to mention overwhelming.
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In fact, while most expectant parents know that having a baby is a huge financial undertaking, a recent nationwide survey conducted by LearnVest and Chase Blueprint® showed that only one in five women and one in four men feel financially prepared to have their first child.
Close to 30% of women feel not very prepared or not at all prepared. That’s a lot of nervous soon-to-be parents!
To get a better sense of what the financial experience of becoming parents is actually like, we sat down with a married couple* whose first son was born earlier this year. Because the relationship with money is so personal and unique to each individual, we interviewed each parent separately to see how their takes differed.
See what they had to say about how their spending and saving changed, the best advice they received, and the most difficult decisions they’re facing now.
*Names have been changed.
How did you realize you were ready to start a family?
Peter: Delia and I were married in 2008 and always planned on spending a few years as a married couple before starting a family. Ultimately, the timing just felt right, and our son was born in February 2012.
Delia: We always knew we wanted a family, but wanted to be married for a while before starting. I turned 30, and started to hear my biological clock ticking—especially because we didn’t know how long it would take to get pregnant. If anything, though, Peter needed to convince me that it was time to start trying.
Did you change your spending habits before having your son?
Peter: In terms of spending, we actually upped the amount of money we spent on entertainment before William arrived because we knew we wouldn’t have much opportunity to eat out at restaurants, see shows or go to the movies after he had.
We also moved from a one-bedroom apartment into a two-bedroom apartment, which was definitely the biggest financial change.