5 Important Tasks After a New Baby’s Birth

Well, it’s official–we have a date. Friday is the day my son will greet the light of the world and join us in this crazy thing called life.🙂

As you can imagine, things will be quiet for me on my social outlets for at least a few days, as we get settled in to the new lifestyle.

First and foremost, thank you for the outpouring of support I’ve already received via email, tweets, and comments, and those that I’m sure will continue coming in over the course of the next few weeks. It’s great to have such a large community to cheer us on and provide support in terms of ideas and suggestions.

Since we’re talking about babies today, I thought I’d tackle an important topic that only crossed my mind a few weeks ago–financial “checklist” items after the birth of your baby.

We get so wrapped up in the excitement (I know I did) of waiting for the baby that some of these can quickly slip through the cracks and cost us a lot of lost money. I’ve put together a quick list of 5 that we’ll be doing soon after birth, but if you can think of more, by all means–please chime in below.

  1. Adjust W-4. This is something I did as soon as the year turned the corner, and should see significantly less taxes coming out of my paychecks starting next week. Consult with your tax professional, but my understanding is that even if you plan to deliver in late December, you can still claim the new baby for the whole year. (Ours, of course, decided to wait until early January).
  2. Open a college savings account. We’re not going to wait very long after birth to get the little guy started on his way to college. Time is on our side, and the more we can contribute early on, the easier things will get as the years go by.
  3. Add the baby to health insurance. Most insurance companies will cover costs associated with your baby (not your birth), as long as you add the baby under your existing policy within 30 days of birth. This can range from routine care to more serious stuff like NICU.
  4. Quote life insurance. It’s crazy to think about it, but now you’re responsible for someone else’s life–someone who can’t take care of themselves if something were to happen to you. That’s a lot of responsibility, and it means you should make arrangements in case disaster strikes.
  5. Modify legal documents. There’s a whole list of possible places your baby would need to end up in writing, but some obvious examples include any account beneficiaries, wills & testaments, or any other insurance company that would need to know about your kids.

Have I missed anything? Do you have suggestions on any of these items from personal experience? I’d love to hear your stories.

Photo by gabi_menashe

35 thoughts on “5 Important Tasks After a New Baby’s Birth

    1. Good call, Paul. Yes, I do think there’s an office in the hospital that will take care of us in that respect and get the paperwork started.

    1. Thanks! Indeed, we have a great family structure in our area to support us that will be a life-saver, I’m sure.

  1. So stoked for you all. It’s so crazy to have a new human you’re completely responsible for. Good call on the insurances. You’re right on the health care, usually. It’s always smart to double-check before the arrival date.

    1. Yeah, our experience with the insurance company has been pretty good, although it did take a couple of phone calls and emails and many hours of research until I “sort-of” had clear in my mind what they would actually be covering and how the whole thing worked.

      It’s always harder the first time around.🙂

  2. Congratulations! Your life is about to change in so many ways that you can’t even imagine until it happens to you. As the mother of 3 boys (including twins), the best advice I can give you is: be there.

    For sure you should do all the financial planning stuff you mentioned, but in the end what you have to offer your son is not on deposit anywhere, but in you and your wife and the home you will provide for him. Just from the few brief exchanges we’ve had, I’d say he’s a lucky boy.

    P.S. – Sleep while you can!
    .-= 2 Cents´s last post: Gurus & Experts: Should You Listen? =-.

    1. Thanks, you’re very kind. I have to admit–I will have to work hard at being able to pull myself away from everything and just spend time with my wife and kids, but I can tell you that it is my #1 goal in life. Not just “family,” or any kinds of activities, or anything else…just one-on-one time as much as possible.

      Not long left, but we’re trying to get as much sleep as we can in the next few days.🙂 Thanks!

  3. Wow, that sure came up fast! Congratulations! What ever changes you’ve had in life so far will pale in comparision, but you’ll have joys you’ve never imagined. A radio DJ here in Atlanta said something to the effect that “having a child means that your heart will be carried outside your body for the rest of your life”.

    I’d like to second that babysitter recommendation by Conciously Frugal. You’ll be a better parent if you can pull away to be a couple from time to time. They don’t call it baby boot camp for nothing!
    .-= Kevin@OutOfYourRut´s last post: Save a Bundle By Repairing Your Eyeglasses =-.

    1. Yeah, 9 months went by as fast as I expected (many, many people told me it would be fast), but much faster than expected as well. If that makes any sense at all…🙂

      I like that quote. I also like Baker’s (MvD) perspective, which goes something like “Children are God’s way of smacking us in the face.” Gotta love that.

      We plan on continuing our tradition of once-monthly dates every 20th of the month, even with baby on the scene.

    1. Thanks for the well wishes. Your point about a bank savings account is awesome; I plan to check out SmartyPig sometime soon as well, which I think would fit very well with the family-contribution concept.

  4. Great list – to the social security card, of course, also the birth certificate – not sure if you need to apply for it or you receive it in the hospital. And if you’re unconventional like me you could also do something commemorative like buy a share of a certain stock on his birthday and keep it in his name to hold onto until his retirement (just something fun – to see how far one little share can go:)).
    .-= MoneyEnergy´s last post: Biggest Foreign Buyers of U.S. Debt =-.

    1. Yes, great point! I believe the birth certificate is taken care of at the hospital also. I really like your stock idea, especially if you do it the day of…what a way to commemorate the birth. Now I wonder what stock I would actually buy….hmmm.

  5. Congratulations, I can’t wait to see the first picture!

    You’ll have to apply for the SSN and the birth certificate. The hospital files the birth certificate with the county or state (depending where you live), but you have to request a certified copy (and in most places pay for it).
    .-= Bucksome´s last post: Thursday Tidbits #5 =-.

    1. Excellent tip, thanks! I haven’t felt out my wife on how she’ll feel with pictures being posted yet, but we will cross that bridge when we get there.

  6. I’m interested to know how you will be saving on your car insurance premium by having a baby. Is there a ‘newbaby’ discount that I haven’t heard of?🙂

    1. My understanding is that drivers with kids are statistically thought to be safer drivers (similarly to those who are married). Insurance companies put people in different “classes” based on age, gender, marital status, and (possibly) kids. We received about a 35% premium reduction immediately after getting married, so that was nice.

      I’ll come back next week and let you know what kind of percentage reduction we received after adding the baby.

    2. Just as an additional point of note, I have heard that this also depends on your insurance company. Some won’t even care if you get married, but as was the case with us, for some it will make a big difference. I’m curious to see how we do…

  7. What a wonderful post! The list is short but sweet, and a great reminder for those who are having their first, so someone like me, who is on to number 2 but hasn’t had to change paperwork for “baby” in 4 years. Our biggest change was the certificates that everyone is talking about. Paperwork is filled out at the hospital, but please be sure to read all information to see how to attain the SS card and the birth certificate. We were very naive and thought that it would all be mailed to us eventually. After 6 months of waiting, we finally found out the real information of having to actually request your own copy of these things.

    Also, depending on your occupation, your employer may offer some type of program that can take money out for a college tuition with some type of interest. I’m a military mama, and we have a program that has a good interest rate. I use that to save up for our first son’s upcoming college bills. It took 5 minutes to create and I never notice the money being taken out.

    Good Luck to you!

    1. Great point, the nurse today just made sure that we knew to mail in for the “official” birth certificate to the state. The social, on the other hand, is being mailed to us automatically.

      It’s important to understand what you have to do when you get home, especially since everyone will be a little short on sleep.

      Great point on the college tuition as well. Many states offer a similar arrangement for in-state, and even out-of-state programs.

  8. Congratulations! Your ideas are all great! I wish we had done the investing one when we had our son 2 years ago. Oh well. Live and learn. As a side note, our insurance gave us both a hefty discount when we got married, but nada when we had the baby. Hopefully, yours will. (If they do, would you mind letting us know what company you use?)🙂 Thanks!!

    Best wishes on the home front!

    1. Thanks Krista!🙂 Sounds like we may have more trouble with our “baby discount” than I thought, but I’ll definitely let you know. We currently use Safeco insurance, which was recently purchased by Liberty Mutual.

  9. Congratulations in advance, Wojo!

    Your whole perspective on life will change forever starting tomorrow. Parenthood is absolutely an awesome experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything!

    All the best,

    Len
    Len Penzo dot Com
    .-= Len Penzo´s last post: Your Money Horoscope =-.

    1. Thanks Len, we’re enjoying the experience as we speak.🙂 Mama and baby both sleeping tight.

  10. Congrats again (read the announcement post before this one)!

    Keep in mind that for something like a 529 plan you don’t have to wait until the child is born. You can open the account and then transfer it to his name. And let your relatives know about the account too. They can contribute as well. And check out UPromise for additional amounts.

    1. Awesome suggestion–I have “seen” Upromise around, but have never looked into the program.

  11. Just found your blog and was reading back – congrats on the new addition. One thing my parents/grandparents did for my brother and I which is awesome now is buy savings bonds. At the time I was born (I’m 28 now) a diaper company had a mail-in upc promo going where they could get them free and they bought a few additional. Total purchase price for them all was $600. Now they’re at about I think $2100 or $2200, with a couples years left until they mature. I just bought my first house and it’s great knowing that I have that extra cushion considering a lot of our savings was spent on down payment/moving expenses/etc. I know it’s not much, but when we have the first major snafu or appliance failure it won’t be as much of a stress on the finances.

    I know it’s not a ton of money, but starting a career out of college and saving for a home and doing all the stuff that 20-somethings want to do doesn’t leave a ton of room for saving, so this little bit will definitely be appreciated when the time comes!

    1. Thank you very much! An awesome suggestion, especially since the bonds are maturing almost exactly when you need the extra money.

      We’ve also thought about buying a couple of shares of stock, or something similar.

  12. Just found your website today, and will be visiting again. After reading your list, I would suggest getting a passport. One is needed everywhere now. It takes quite sometime to get one now, so the earlier the better. Also, the kids’ passports are good for 5 years.

    1. Awesome suggestion! I wonder if they would make us submit a photo (I’m assuming so), since our little one’s face will obviously be nothing like what it is now…even in 3 months!!🙂

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