Welcome to Money Moves: A 12-Week Guide To Investing In Yourself, our e-course in partnership withBlackRockthat aims to help more and more people experience financial well-being. Each week, we demystify the true cost of the milestones we want most in life—retirement, marriage, home ownership, business ventures, and more—and deliver the tools you need to achieve your money goals. That includes real stories, from real women, with *very* real financial dilemmas.
“We are prepping for our first child in the next six months so we’re financially planning by fully funding our HSA to effortlessly meet the $500 deductible requirement of our health care plan, which will cover all costs above $500, even if we chose to do a home birth. Post-baby, I am anticipating the costliest aspect to be the 4 to 12 week recovery period when we will be adjusting to having a little one in the family. Hiring outside help to keep our businesses moving forward and our house in order will be worth the added cost, as it will allow me the time/space to bond with the baby during that time. My current money goal when it comes to raising a child is to essentially ‘crowdfund’ with the help of our family, friends, and community to a 529 in the first 3-5 years. I recommend people save up and prepare to have a baby by educating themselves about all the anticipated expenses associated with having children as early as possible. If your family has a history of needing braces, you can start saving for junior’s braces in your HSA and or your Universal Savings Account right now. I think the best financial tool anyone/family can learn to use is learning to effectively use a simple monthly/yearly budget and stick to it for stress-free living for the whole family.” —Kalyn, 33, Midvale, ID
“As soon as my husband and I found out that I was pregnant with our first child, we immediately started saving $150 out of every paycheck and dropped it immediately into a savings account. I was lucky because the due date came right after the new year, so when I was able to do annual enrollment for my health insurance I maxed out my FSA contributions so that I could pay for any hospital billing with pre-tax dollars. So, all said by the time our baby was born, we had $2,500 we could use from the FSA account for medical bills and about $2,500 in cash to pay for all the necessities as they came up. My health insurance covered all of my prenatal care other than copays for ultrasounds, which were $60 on average. The only thing I really struggled with getting insurance to cover was nausea medication because I had awful morning sickness and the typical Phenergan they prescribe wasn’t cutting it. In terms of out-of-pocket costs, I paid around $1,200 for hospital bills related to delivery and after-care stay, $500 on the copay for my epidurals, and $300 on bills for the child’s hospital stay. Right now, our main priority is saving up for college which is really difficult at the rate that education costs are increasing while wages stay mainly flat. I have this terrible feeling that no matter how much I’m able to save, it won’t even make a dent in their college expenses. Having my own college debt to pay off while simultaneously save for my childrens’ futures is a difficult position to be in. Everyone’s financial situation is different, so my best advice is to save what you can, and think hard about the things that your baby really needs vs. the things that you want them to have. Most likely a baby won’t even sleep in their own room for at least the first 6 months, so they don’t need a Pinterest-worthy room. They also don’t need many toys. It can be hard to stop yourself from buying lots of adorable toys and clothes, but it’ll be many months before they’re active enough to enjoy them. I’m also a big fan of looking for deals on second-hand items via Facebook groups, garage sales, and second-hand stores.” —Maddie, 31, Oklahoma City, OK
For more stories from women finding solutions to their financial woes, sign up for our e-course, Money Moves, in partnership with BlackRock.