When Having A Baby Comes With A Bundle Of Financial Implications

Apr 20, 2016
Originally published on April 21, 2016 3:04 pm
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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Look into a little baby's eyes, and you see the wonder of new life. Look into the eyes of new parents, and you might see closed eyelids, or, if they're open, financial terror. Having a child changes everything, including a family's budget. For our series Your Money and Your Life, Andrea Seabrook has this story of a young couple navigating this lovely and scary time.

ANDREA SEABROOK, BYLINE: Yamy Chavarria is really pregnant - 39 weeks pregnant. It's the perfect time to coo over all those super-cute onesies from her baby shower, onesies her friends hand-painted with things like...

YAMY CHAVARRIA: My dad is the best (laughter).

SEABROOK: I love that one. It's got stars, and it looks like nighttime.

CHAVARRIA: Look, it's a monkey, I think.

SEABROOK: Ah, somebody made one that looks like a cow.

CHAVARRIA: Yeah (laughter).

SEABROOK: So adorable - and so many of them.

Do you think it's possible to use this many onesies?

CHAVARRIA: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

CHAVARRIA: I can change, like, many, many times a day.

SEABROOK: New family financial tip - don't be shy about the baby shower. Tell people what you need, even to pool money for more expensive things - the stroller, car seat, crib. Yamy's got great friends at church and her daycare job. She reckons she saved a couple thousand dollars on supplies, but that's just the beginning. Boy or girl, Yamy has big plans for her new baby.

CHAVARRIA: I hope I can give it money to go to college and he or her can decide whatever career. But it has to be in a college and have something.

SEABROOK: So you're saying, right now - you're pregnant - you're looking down and saying, hey, kid, you have to go to college.

CHAVARRIA: Yeah.

SEABROOK: Now that's a big price tag, and it'll take some serious planning to make it happen. But first thing's first.

CHAVARRIA: Ayla - (speaking Spanish).

SEABROOK: The baby is finally here - a perfect little girl, Ayla Kimberley.

CHAVARRIA: (Making noises).

SEABROOK: She's just one week old - a joyful, sweet time. Also, time for Yamy and her husband to get some serious financial advice.

PAIVI SPOON: So let's start with who you, where you are, and then we'll go to where you're going.

SEABROOK: This is financial adviser Paivi Spoon. We invited her to sit down with the couple to go over the bundle of questions that come with that bundle of joy. First, their income. Dad, Anthony Rivas, just started a new public works job.

ANTHONY RIVAS: You know, my income I think, like, around 23 to 25,000.

SEABROOK: Altogether, including a night job Anthony just took, they're making around $50,000 a year. It's not a whole lot of income, but Paivi Spoon says that's not the point.

SPOON: I have seen people who make exactly what you do, Anthony, and they are very wealthy after 20, 30 years. It is not the amount of money that you make, but how much of that do you consume.

SEABROOK: Another new family financial tip - if you're used to spending money and not really thinking about it, let the baby be an incentive to finally put together a budget. Paivi says, you basically spend money on three things - necessities - that's rent, food - investments - that's property and savings - and then consumption. That's the new watch, the dinner out.

SPOON: And we all consume, but consumption means it's gone. You consume, food it's gone. You consume money, it's gone.

SEABROOK: The trick is dialing down the consumption and turning up the investments. One thing that's always an investment, says Paivi, is education for the child and the parents.

SPOON: Anthony, Yamy, don't forget yourselves.

SEABROOK: More education for them could mean more money for Ayla's education later.

SPOON: Quite often, different professional certifications are just as beneficial to you and your future earnings potential as is a college degree. So don't just look at the children and their future. If you're not well-off, they won't be.

SEABROOK: Budgeting, investing, studying - it's a lot for new parents to tackle. But there's help at npr.org/moneyandlife, like college savings plans versus Roth IRAs and more. And figuring all this out is worth it, Paivi says - not just because it'll give Yamy and Anthony control over their money. It'll also let them focus on what's important - the new baby.

(SOUNDBITE OF BABY COOING)

RIVAS: (Speaking Spanish).

SEABROOK: For NPR News, I'm Andrea Seabrook. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.