This is Part 2 of the Ultimate Financial Planning Guide for the Physician Mom To Be.
In Part 1, I discussed things you should consider prior to becoming pregnant. Here is the rest.
Congratulations! Don't panic. The good news is you have about 9 months to plan!
1. Get insurances NOW if you haven’t already for the above reasons. You may get a pregnancy exclusion but just get it and you can re-apply and get more later. Find out your OOP expenses for your health insurance if you have not already as well.
2. You'll need a basic will in place to name the guardian of your child should you pass and notify the guardians you choose. This often becomes a non-urgent to-do item after the baby is born unfortunately.
3. Retirement plans at work: If you’re taking unpaid leave or any leave, you’ll want to frontload your 403(b)/401(k)/457(b) so they are maxed out before you deliver. I recommend you frontload these accounts at least 2 months prior to your expected delivery date in case of a preterm delivery. Although this won't be a deal breaker, you'll also want to find out if and how frontloading affects employer matching if you get any.
4. If you haven't already, find out what steps need to be taken to take your maternity leave:
- First, you'll need to decide how many weeks you want to take off. This is a highly personal decision. I've yet to meet a woman who said they took too much time off.
- Depending on your employer, you may get completely unpaid leave or a combination of paid and unpaid leave. You may be responsible for paying your benefits during unpaid leave.
- If you can use your vacation days towards paid leave, hoard them!
- Finally, tell your boss or administrator so everyone at work can start planning for your leave and coverage gaps.
5. Think about childcare options. It comes down to daycare vs. nanny vs. stay at home partner.
- Daycare and nanny costs vary significantly based on location.
- In some cities (ahem, NYC), there can be up to a 1 year waiting list for young infants. I'm not sure how this works since no one can actually predict when they can become pregnant.
- I recommend you pay a nanny on the books. Not only is it illegal not to, but you open yourself up to a ton of liability by not doing so.
6. Think about whose medical insurance the newborn will go under – you or your partner. It may just end being the one where the pediatrician is in-network and convenient for you.
7. Start drawing up a list of things you'll need to buy for the baby:
- Distinguish between needs vs. wants. I recommend making 3 lists: need, really want, want. Keep in mind the need list is shorter than you think! There are fortunately or unfortunately tons of items to fit any budget. I recommend using the book Baby Bargains and the website Lucie's List to hone in on the items.
- Whether you end up having a baby shower or not, I would still create a registry. Close friends and family will ask and they will want to buy you a gift. You might as well receive items that you want! I used Baby List for my registry.
- Remember, you don't need a ton of stuff when the baby actually arrives. I recommend a wait and see approach to avoid a shopping craze.
- Don't forget that you'll need some stuff too! Maternity clothing, postpartum supplies, nursing clothing and nursing equipment. At this time, breast pumps are required to be covered by your insurance.
8. Start saving for stuff (above) and for unpaid leave if applicable. This is a good time to curb your regular spending to get ready for the baby and all the expenses that come with it. Remember, you'll need to save for monthly expenses, not total income replacement. I hope you are living below if not well below your means so it should not be as much as it sounds.
9. This is not a financial tip (well sort of), but I highly recommend that you and your partner take a babymoon. A great time to do this is in the beginning of your second trimester. The nausea and unrelenting fatigue of the first trimester are over and you are not inhibited by your growing belly yet. Your lives will never be the same (for the better!). Do not forget the primary relationship (your partner). I also recommend you plan and budget for weekly date nights sans baby.
10. Outsourcing. While you're probably a type A, can do-it-all mom-to-be, the reality is it gets harder to do this as your pregnancy progresses. Don't be afraid to start outsourcing things like cleaning, laundry, and even cooking so you can get much needed rest prior to baby. You may also need to hire help with the baby if you don't have good support or family nearby. Remember, outsourcing will make you happier.
11. Find local mommy groups. Not only are they a source for used, unused and sometimes free baby items, but they are a source of support during this exciting and sometimes anxiety-provoking time. Consider joining Physician Moms Group (PMG) on Facebook. There are also local PMG groups as well. Remember, at the end of day, you will figure out how make it work!
Thousands of physician moms already have! What I have done/am doing:
- My second life insurance policy went into effect just weeks before I became pregnant. I may have gestational diabetes (as of writing this blog post I failed the 1 hour glucose challenge). Boy am I glad I had my policies in place!
- My insurance paid for 6 pairs of compression stockings – highly recommend you get some! 20-30 mmHG is recommended. I got Sigvaris Eversheer calf-high socks.
- M and I took a babymoon to Paris when I was 20 weeks pregnant. We used credit card points for flights and hotel so we only had to pay for meals, local transport and shopping.
- I am the breadwinning partner. I am taking
1216 weeks of leave. I am fortunate that at least 8 weeks will be paid. I ‘ll have up to 4 unpaid weeks of leave. We live below our means so the unpaid portion is totally manageable. I am also thinking about taking an additional 4 weeks to work part-time before going back full time. Again, living below our means gives us this option.
- I am on a waiting list for daycare (yes they told me 1 year…). The daycare is
$2600a month. We are still considering a nanny while the baby is very young as well.
- I have started outsourcing a few things and do not regret it!