First of all, congratulations! Hopefully you are bubbling with joy and glowing with the anticipation of holding your baby in your arms soon. Pregnancy is a time when even a scatter-brained woman like me suddenly becomes a super-organized planner. Well, I literally bought two months’ worth supply of diapers in my second trimester fearing stores might run out of them and I will be left stranded!
While you are making arrangements to welcome your new member, you must also be busy tying up loose ends of your work before you leave for your maternity leave. The good news for us is that now most companies in the public and the private sector offer paid maternity leave to women, ranging for the period of 3 to 6 months. The bad news is you don’t get that pay until you rejoin your workplace after the maternity leave. That means you have to keep your boat sailing on your savings during that “unpaid” time.
Setting aside a little money pool beforehand can ease up the load and cover your expenses until you receive your benefits.
So while you are ogling at all the sweet babies around you and patting your bump, murmuring sweet nothings, here are some tips to ensure you have your financial base covered for the months you will be out of work and hence out of a monthly revenue.
CREATE A BUDGET
Now that your planner hormones have kicked in, it’s a good time to list all items that you would be paying for in the future months including hospital expenses, diagnostic expenses, baby supplies, nursery furniture, expenses for the extra help you may hire, etc. to estimate the amount you need to set aside
CREATE A FUND
List is set? Great!
You now have a rough idea of the money you would be needing, the next thing you should do is create a Maternity Fund to meet your expenses comfortably. Include a 10-20% buffer because things can be unpredictable, a part and parcel of pregnancy.
These funds can be invested into Liquid Funds, Short Term Debt Funds or Fixed Deposits depending on time available. Some health insurance companies do offer coverage for Maternity Expenses, but I would advise against it, because they are usually very expensive. It makes better sense to create your own fund.
MAKE A FUTURE PLAN
Immediately after the new family member arrives, you will feel an increased sense of responsibility to make provision for future plans of the little one. Many companies sell their child investment plan touching this emotional nerve of yours. Watch out!
Usually plans which are marketed as “Child Plans” are no good. It would make much better sense to go for diversified mutual funds or an assortment of similar long term investment avenues.
Following these tips can create a safety net for you while you are on your maternity leave until you can claim your benefits and the paid leaves are reconciled to your salary. While you are supervising everything down to the tiniest detail of your labor day and picking out the perfect onesie for your cherub, show some self-love and get all your eggs out and lay them in different baskets (financial!). Take a deep breath and enjoy motherhood without breaking a sweat or your bank account for that matter.
Guest post by Sheryl. Thank you Sheryl.
Writing is an ally for Sheryl whose attempts to juggle her creative outlets and motherhood are often met with piled up baby diapers and crowded kitchen sink. Sheryl’s love for words, however, has nothing to do with her frequent realization that her tongue needs a ‘backspace’ button too. Satire and humour form part of her arsenal against much of her woes. Her writing looks to engage people in conversations that point towards a more desirable and livable world. Find her on Twitter @SherylShijuSam.