1. No Instructions
When the nurse handed me my newborn baby, she did not include an instruction manual. The same can be said for your first paycheck. The number one question I hear when I teach financial wellness is “Why didn’t anyone teach me this in school?” Unfortunately, personal finance is often omitted in school curriculums around the county. Most people start learning about finances after they’ve received their first paycheck — often learning through mistakes.
2. Everyone is different
As a parent of a few children, I will tell you that every child is different. From personalities to milestones, kids will often surprise you. Our finances are the same way. Personal finances are Personal. Everyone’s priorities are different, so don’t compare yourself to your friends on social media. Remember that your finances will change depending on the stage of life you’re in, both personally and professionally.
3. Need attention
Like any newborn, your finances need constant attention. I suggest making a daily habit of checking your account balances. My routine consists of updating my budget with any spending and income for the previous days. With the help of a budget app (there are tons of great ones out there!) it only takes a few minutes a day to keep your finances in check.
4. Plan for the Future
Before having kids, I could usually plan no more than 3 months into the future. Now, topics like their education, future siblings, and our home size has me planning years in advance. Adulting with your finances also requires planning for the future. Go beyond planning for your next big purchase and think about the lifestyle you wish to live. Determine how much it will cost and the steps you must make to meet your goal. If you haven’t started a retirement fund, start saving now.
5. Expect the Unexpected
Just when I thought I’d figured out my newborn’s routine and decoded his different cries, he began teething, setting off a whole new cause for tears. My best advice regarding babies and finances is to prepare for the unexpected. An emergency savings fund is essential. Make it a habit to regularly save for car and home maintenance, even when everything is fine. When the unexpected does happen, you will be ready to handle it.