The New Parent’s Financial Checklist.

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Are you all systems go or about to crash and burn? Checking the right boxes is easier than you think.

There’s a lot to consider with a new child on the way. You’ve probably got the name covered, but the sooner you can check these other items off the list, the better.

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Ask about employee benefits.

Estimated time - 15 minutes

Odds are your company has a parent-friendly program or two in place that was mentioned to you when you got hired, but didn’t make much of an impression at the time. Things like paid leave, unpaid leave, pre-tax child-care flex-spend accounts, etc are about to become more important. Now is the time to dig in and understand them all. You could easily save thousands in just the first year.

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Set-up health care for your child.

Estimated time - 30 minutes

The easiest and likely most cost-effective way to cover your child's healthcare needs is to add them to your existing insurance. Start by calling your current provider or the HR person at your office. Note: This must be done within 30 days of your child’s birth, but can be done well in advance of their arrival.

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Get a will.

Estimated time - 10 minutes

It would be easy to put this one off indefinitely. Before a baby arrives, things are much simpler. With a child in the picture though the stakes are higher if you and/or your partner unexpectedly pass away. Without a will in place your child could become a ward of the state or thrust upon a relative who, although they are related, may not be the best person for the job. There are free online services, like Willing.com, that will generate a legally binding document in about 10 minutes.

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Buy life insurance.

Estimated time - 2 minutes

Now that someone is depending on you, life insurance is an easy and affordable way to help ensure your family's financial security. Getting covered used to mean talking to an agent and waiting weeks. These days, Fabric makes it easy (offering plans that start at $6/mo for $100,000 in coverage).

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Create a simple budget.

Estimated time - 60 minutes

Lots of things are about to change. Without a plan to follow, you could easily fall off track without even knowing it. In addition to all of the things you currently spend money on (rent, utilities, food, cell phone, clothing, entertainment, etc), make sure your budget includes new lines for childcare, diapers, food, and toys. Want to dig deeper? We asked a financial planner to show us one way to make budgeting easy.

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Open a 529 account.

Estimated time - 20 minutes

College is probably the single-most intimidating financial hurdle for many new parents. But it doesn’t have to be. Choose a state-sponsored 529 account, For example, putting away $125 per month and, assuming a 5-7% annual rate of return, you should have roughly enough to pay for a quarter of their education outright, assuming the cost for 4 years of tuition and fees at a private institution is $32,000 annually. Savingforcollege.com can help you find a plan that’s good for you in minutes.

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