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#Parenting101: Mental & financial preparation

What are some things you can do to prepare yourself mentally and financially for parenthood?

31 Jan 2023
#Parenting101: Mental & financial preparation

Ask any parent, and they will probably tell you that parenthood is one of the most challenging yet rewarding things they have ever done. It is a full-time job from the first day the child enters your life, and a role that should not be taken lightly.

It would be nearly impossible to fully prepare yourself for something as dynamic and unpredictable as parenting, but it is certainly worth the effort. In this article, we will explore in broad strokes some actionable steps you can take as you get started on your enriching journey of parenthood.
 

Mental Preparation
 

  • Do your research and educate yourself

Becoming a parent is a huge responsibility as you are now in charge of a new and growing person who will be dependent on you for the next few years of their life. Therefore, it is important to do your research so that you can make more informed decisions regarding your child’s health and development.

You can find a wealth of information in parenting books, articles, and classes, which can provide you with valuable information and resources. Talking to other parents can also give you an insight into the different lived experiences of parenting. For more technical or specific information, you can consult your healthcare provider or a doula who can help guide you on issues relating to postnatal and postpartum care.

  • Find a support system

The journey of parenting can be challenging and overwhelming if you’re going through it for the first time, and even more so if you’re doing it alone. A support system is vital in helping you navigate this new terrain, not just for practical support but also for much needed emotional support. Talking to experienced parents or even joining a parent support group can help you feel less alone in your journey, and be a source of encouragement and advice.

 

Financial Preparation
 

  • Savings for big expenses

Having a child is expensive, no doubt about that. In an article by NUS economists in 2018, it is estimated that the total cost of child-raising is roughly $280,000. While many of these expenses may be spread out over a long period of time, there are a significant number of expenses that may occur in the early days of having a child, such as for the purchase of baby equipment and childcare services. Saving up in advance for such expenses can help to manage your cash flow and prevent you from having to dip into your emergency savings or even go into debt.

Look into government benefits and subsidies that can help offset the costs of raising a child, such as the Baby Bonus Scheme in Singapore. You may also want to review your employment terms to see what benefits (e.g. parental leave, flexible work arrangements, family medical coverage) are available to you.
 

  • Insurance for medical expenses and emergencies

Insurance is another essential tool to protect your family against the financial costs of unexpected illnesses, injury, or death. As a parent, you are—or will soon be—no stranger to the ailments that will plague a child’s young life, as well as the anxiety and worry it can bring. Having adequate insurance coverage that can cover the costs of hospitalisation, medical treatments, or other emergencies can provide your family with a financial peace of mind and security.

You may also want to reassess your insurance policies to see if you have adequate life coverage. This is to help ensure that your dependents will be taken care of financially in case anything were to happen to you. Consider speaking to a financial advisor to discuss any gaps in your coverage and how you can better protect your family.
 

  • Investing for the future

It may seem so far away now—and indeed it may be almost two decades away—but one day your child will grow up and may want to go to university or get married. In each situation, you may want to contribute financially to this milestone, like paying for their university tuition fees or their wedding costs. These expenses can be quite significant, but you have the advantage of time if you start now. By making small monthly contributions through endowment or savings plans, it can help you set aside a generous sum of money for your child’s future.

At the same time, don’t forget to consider your own future too. Your own retirement planning is just as important if you do not want your children to support you financially in your old age. By taking care of your own retirement needs, you can prevent your children from entering the cycle of the ‘sandwich generation’.


Don’t compare yourself to other parents

Resist the inclination to compare yourself to other parents. More often than not, this will only lead to feelings of inadequacy, guilt, or self-doubt, which can negatively affect your mental health. Parenthood is commonly a long, arduous, and oftentimes thankless occupation for most people, but it is also unique to every single individual. Just as no two children are the exact same, every parent will have their own unique style and way of doing things.

Every parent will make mistakes, but remember that it’s a process of learning and improving each time. Focus on what works best for your family, and trust your parental instincts.

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