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Getting your Financial house in order for Pregnancy

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  • Craigy
    replied










     




    Edit – Just saw your husband is a resident.  Assuming he’s making decent PGY3, PGY4 money, and you’re living below your means, and you don’t take a huge amount of time off, you should be fine.  Now if you’re on bedrest for 20 weeks before the child is born, might have to make some adjustments. Do you have family to lean on, etc?
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    @Craigy- What do you consider is a “huge amount of time off” for a child?  What do you consider is the appropriate amount? What information do you use to make that decision? Financial? Child development research? Maternal/ paternal post baby mental health data? Both parents’ adjustment to caring for child? Curious.
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    At the risk of adjusting the chip on your shoulder…  ????

    Some women take 3mos, 6mos, a year, retire altogether, etc.  Add to that many women plan in advance to start their leave months before the baby is even due.  That’s all good and well, but let’s face it, it’s a luxury.

    Assuming ddscook takes a normal amount of time (4, 6, 8, 10 weeks?), and assuming all goes well and she’s not lying on tilt for 4 months of her pregnancy, her paid time off, her cash in the bank, her husband’s income, etc. should be more than enough to get them through a couple months of no pay.c
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    lol.  I don’t know if what you write will adjust anything.  I think what you write says more about you than me.

    I suppose if 4, 6, 8, or 10 weeks works for you when you personally have your baby (like carry the kid for hopefully 9 months and then push kid out), then more power to you.  FWIW, most obs don’t see their post delivery patients for a full postpartum visit until 6 weeks, so I don’t even know what to say about thinking one can be at one’s total pre baby self at 4 weeks.  Four weeks is definitely not even close to enough for all the physical, mental and emotional recovery for me after I had my first child.    So I will admit, I may be a wimp.  But I definitely won’t go around doling out advice about what’s normal or enough until I have actually gone through it myself.

    I throw out those questions more for those of us who will be experiencing this phenomenon to allow them to make decisions for themselves. Ddscooks is making the initiative to plan ahead, in hope to minimize the hit for her family and also be realistic, so I think we do owe it to the upcoming female physicians to tell her what its really like.  If she can cover her pregnancy and new babyhood income loss herself, then she also decreases the maternity leave burden for her employers, because it may allow her employers to find a locum to cover for her without her suffering much in term of financial stability at the homefront.  The worst is when the new moms can’t afford to take sufficient time off but is also not able to be fully productive at work to meet quota.  In that situation, both the new mom and the practice suffer.

    If you look at the financial aspects, 3K really isn’t that much.  Just for thought, how much time (office panels, calls, procedures or whatever clinical medicine) do you have to do in your field to general 3K?  Most of us bring in at least 20K of income per month, so 3K/month is really not significant (this is especially true in a dual income family).   If I decide to work even 2 less days per month after delivery and or cut back even more and go part time or less, the lost of income will easily be more than 3K/month (nevermind whatever other optional choices I make).
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    You're putting a lot of words in my mouth, that's ok.  I'll just say that this is a financial forum, she asked a financial question, and there are plenty of other mom forums out there if she wants reassurance in other areas.

    Leave a comment:


  • YSH
    replied







     




    Edit – Just saw your husband is a resident.  Assuming he’s making decent PGY3, PGY4 money, and you’re living below your means, and you don’t take a huge amount of time off, you should be fine.  Now if you’re on bedrest for 20 weeks before the child is born, might have to make some adjustments. Do you have family to lean on, etc?
    Click to expand…


    @Craigy- What do you consider is a “huge amount of time off” for a child?  What do you consider is the appropriate amount? What information do you use to make that decision? Financial? Child development research? Maternal/ paternal post baby mental health data? Both parents’ adjustment to caring for child? Curious.
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    At the risk of adjusting the chip on your shoulder…  ????

    Some women take 3mos, 6mos, a year, retire altogether, etc.  Add to that many women plan in advance to start their leave months before the baby is even due.  That’s all good and well, but let’s face it, it’s a luxury.

    Assuming ddscook takes a normal amount of time (4, 6, 8, 10 weeks?), and assuming all goes well and she’s not lying on tilt for 4 months of her pregnancy, her paid time off, her cash in the bank, her husband’s income, etc. should be more than enough to get them through a couple months of no pay.c
    Click to expand...


    lol.  I don't know if what you write will adjust anything.  I think what you write says more about you than me.

    I suppose if 4, 6, 8, or 10 weeks works for you when you personally have your baby (like carry the kid for hopefully 9 months and then push kid out), then more power to you.  FWIW, most obs don't see their post delivery patients for a full postpartum visit until 6 weeks, so I don't even know what to say about thinking one can be at one's total pre baby self at 4 weeks.  Four weeks is definitely not even close to enough for all the physical, mental and emotional recovery for me after I had my first child.    So I will admit, I may be a wimp.  But I definitely won't go around doling out advice about what's normal or enough until I have actually gone through it myself.

    I throw out those questions more for those of us who will be experiencing this phenomenon to allow them to make decisions for themselves. Ddscooks is making the initiative to plan ahead, in hope to minimize the hit for her family and also be realistic, so I think we do owe it to the upcoming female physicians to tell her what its really like.  If she can cover her pregnancy and new babyhood income loss herself, then she also decreases the maternity leave burden for her employers, because it may allow her employers to find a locum to cover for her without her suffering much in term of financial stability at the homefront.  The worst is when the new moms can't afford to take sufficient time off but is also not able to be fully productive at work to meet quota.  In that situation, both the new mom and the practice suffer.

    If you look at the financial aspects, 3K really isn't that much.  Just for thought, how much time (office panels, calls, procedures or whatever clinical medicine) do you have to do in your field to general 3K?  Most of us bring in at least 20K of income per month, so 3K/month is really not significant (this is especially true in a dual income family).   If I decide to work even 2 less days per month after delivery and or cut back even more and go part time or less, the lost of income will easily be more than 3K/month (nevermind whatever other optional choices I make).

     

     

     

     

    Leave a comment:


  • Craigy
    replied




     




    Edit – Just saw your husband is a resident.  Assuming he’s making decent PGY3, PGY4 money, and you’re living below your means, and you don’t take a huge amount of time off, you should be fine.  Now if you’re on bedrest for 20 weeks before the child is born, might have to make some adjustments. Do you have family to lean on, etc?
    Click to expand…


    @Craigy- What do you consider is a “huge amount of time off” for a child?  What do you consider is the appropriate amount? What information do you use to make that decision? Financial? Child development research? Maternal/ paternal post baby mental health data? Both parents’ adjustment to caring for child? Curious.
    Click to expand...


    At the risk of adjusting the chip on your shoulder...  :lol:

    Some women take 3mos, 6mos, a year, retire altogether, etc.  Add to that many women plan in advance to start their leave months before the baby is even due.  That's all good and well, but let's face it, it's a luxury.

    Assuming ddscook takes a normal amount of time (4, 6, 8, 10 weeks?), and assuming all goes well and she's not lying on tilt for 4 months of her pregnancy, her paid time off, her cash in the bank, her husband's income, etc. should be more than enough to get them through a couple months of no pay.

    Leave a comment:


  • Miss Bonnie MD
    replied




    Thanks for all the wonderful advice! I like to plan often and early, so this is excellent information ????

     




    But to be on the safe side I’d just save up another 3 months of emergency funds and dip in to that if needed.
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    What would be the best account to save that additional 3 mo of emergency funds that I may need to dip into if I have to leave work before my husband starts his attending job/or maybe never; a CD?
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    No just regular savings account.

    Leave a comment:


  • ddscook
    replied
    Thanks for all the wonderful advice! I like to plan often and early, so this is excellent information

     




    But to be on the safe side I’d just save up another 3 months of emergency funds and dip in to that if needed.
    Click to expand...


    What would be the best account to save that additional 3 mo of emergency funds that I may need to dip into if I have to leave work before my husband starts his attending job/or maybe never; a CD?

    Leave a comment:


  • wideopenspaces
    replied
    I've got a 10month old at home, so just went through this whole process. My guess is that by the time you actually have the babe, your husband will be done with training and in his attending job and you'll be totally fine. But to be on the safe side I'd just save up another 3 months of emergency funds and dip in to that if needed.

    I do outpt psychiatry at an academic center. I took 3 months for maternity leave (all paid) and then went back at 0.25FTE. The plan was to scale up to 0.5FTE 3 months later and then back to 0.75FTE (which is what I have been working since finishing residency 3 years ago) 3 months after that. But about 6 weeks into my return to work I realized that was not at all going to happen. I have a 9 yo and I had vague recollections about how hard the first year was (that I had done a good job of repressing) and maybe being older had something to do with it, but my adorable baby was kicking my trash. There was no way I was going to scale up my work hours that fast and remain a sane human being. Luckily my work has been SUPER accommodating (it helps that they can't recruit another doc into my position) and told me I could do whatever I wanted with my hours. So around the time the baby was 7 months old I went to 0.34 FTE and I'll probably continue there until he's 18 months old or so.

    Since this is your first kid, you just don't know how you are going to react to parenthood, what challenges you will face, when you will ever sleep again, etc. I have been blessed with babies that don't believe in sleeping at night, and that takes its toll and makes it hard to really keep it together at work. I can't imagine how I would deal with working full time. However, I have friends who went back full time after 2 months and were happy to do so. You just never know. If you are planning to go back full time after your leave, remember that fed is best as breastfeeding or pumping while working full time as a doc would be quite a challenge and may not be doable. Plus your husband can help with night feeds if baby takes a bottle.

    Reliable childcare that you trust is also a must have. It's impossible to go back to work if you are worried about who is taking care of baby and how they are doing it. If you're going the daycare route, start looking now and get on several wait lists.

    Kids are as expensive as you make them. We have found that thus far, our 9yo was most expensive when he was attending montessori school prior to starting kindergarten. Public school, school district run summer camp, rec leagues, extracurricular activities through the school are all relatively inexpensive. But I know not everyone has access to those things.

    Anyway, good luck on your journey. I hope the path is a smooth and straightforward one for you and your husband.

    Leave a comment:


  • YSH
    replied





    Ultimate Financial Planning Guide for the Physician Mom To Be 
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    Personally, many of the costs you describe (besides childcare unless you have a stay at home parent) are optional. Yes I realize things are different “now” but My parents did not spend money on camps, enrichments etc. I’m sure I will, but it really is optional. They don’t need to cost that much.
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    Yes, I completely agree with you, Miss Bonnie, all the things I described ARE optional.  Just like living in NYC, having the pregnancy or babyhood experience one envisions, its all optional.

    The truth is, and let's be totally honest, even though all the things described ARE optional, we, as the middle class/upper class individual/couples/ parents, will do them. We will voluntarily choose to do them and pay for them. So, despite it ALL being optional, realistically we should just be honest about it and discuss it as being part of the cost of being parents in this day and age.

    I also did not grow up privileged, I carried student loans for both public undergrad and med school that I paid off myself and am now trying to catch up to all the other "more privileged" offsprings in terms of learning and implementing 401K, retirement planning, prenup planning, college savings, estate planning, etc.

    It is optional, but it is also the truth.

    Leave a comment:


  • Miss Bonnie MD
    replied


    Ultimate Financial Planning Guide for the Physician Mom To Be
    Click to expand...


    Personally, many of the costs you describe (besides childcare unless you have a stay at home parent) are optional. Yes I realize things are different "now" but My parents did not spend money on camps, enrichments etc. I'm sure I will, but it really is optional. They don't need to cost that much.

    Leave a comment:


  • Hank
    replied
    Craigslist, goodwill, and friends & family for baby clothes, not Babies 'R Us or Carter's. Small children outgrow their clothes, they don't wear them out. (Shoes are an exception once they start walking.)

    Target and Costco have good diapers on the cheap. No need to pay extra for Huggies or Pampers. Breastfeeding is best, but if you need formula, Costco's prices are hard to beat.

    Take the money you've saved and put it into a 529. 18 years is a long time for compound interest.

    Leave a comment:


  • YSH
    replied







     

    Other aspects: childcare costs a LOT. I pay $1240/month for full time daycare for one child. Make sure your budget can handle that. Not to mention diapers, clothes, furniture, etc etc. Get the Baby Bargains book to help figure out what you can skimp on vs what you may want to splurge on. Do NOT buy expensive baby clothing. Find a friend or relative with a kid older than yours and get all the hand-me-downs.

     
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    that is nothing! in NYC daycare is 2700+…nannies are more.
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    Yes, childcare cost is expensive to all.  While I would also love to join in to commiserate about who has it the worst with daycare cost (hands down Miss Bonnie, NYC SUCKS big time in that area), all I can say is that after being a parent for almost a decade, the actual numerical value of daycare/ nannycare childcare expenses is really just the tip of the iceberg. There are many other cost that will continue to be there as they grow older- moving to a "better" school district cost, enrichment "keeping up with the Joneses' little one" classes cost, another person traveling cost (esp if that's important to you as a family), career (female> male) opportunity cost,  PTO contribution/ silent auction donation/ private school tuition cost, time and due diligence required to research school/nanny/summer care cost, etc.  Its a long term commitment to raise a child and a lot of data confirms that the female primary caretaker bears most of this burden (cost).  I don't have the exact figure in front of me, but I wouldn't confine the $2700+/ month on one child as just early years phenomenon.

    And yes, LizOB, I agree that my suggestions don't apply to all.  In your case, your net worth allowed you to be able to take that opportunity of buying that house with a smaller mortgage and you went with it.




    Edit – Just saw your husband is a resident.  Assuming he’s making decent PGY3, PGY4 money, and you’re living below your means, and you don’t take a huge amount of time off, you should be fine.  Now if you’re on bedrest for 20 weeks before the child is born, might have to make some adjustments. Do you have family to lean on, etc?
    Click to expand...


    @Craigy- What do you consider is a "huge amount of time off" for a child?  What do you consider is the appropriate amount? What information do you use to make that decision? Financial? Child development research? Maternal/ paternal post baby mental health data? Both parents' adjustment to caring for child? Curious.

    @ddscooks - you have got tons of great advice here. Think you will be okay with your hubs getting an attending salary in the next 1-2 years. Kids are expensive but they are worth it.  Just don't underestimate how much of an impact they will have on your and your partner's (individual) life and together as a couple.

    Leave a comment:


  • ddscook
    replied







    My husband and I are starting to plan for our 1st pregnancy in the upcoming year and I am the main income source.

    My current employer does not offer STD.

    I have a LTD own occ policy w Guardian-90 day elimination period; my insurance agents comment is “Guardian’s individual disability product would cover complications of pregnancy provided that the elimination period and definition of disability are both satisfied (the inability to perform one’s material and substantial job duties solely due to injury or sickness).  This would not include maternity leave from a normal pregnancy.”

    I have a 3 month emergency fund but I am wondering if I need to bother getting a personal STD policy in addition or if that’s just overkill planning?

    Also, are there any other aspects of financial planning I should consider for the upcoming year?

    Thanks for your input!
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    I just wrote a 2 part series that you might find helpful: Ultimate Financial Planning Guide for the Physician Mom To Be


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    This is an excellent Blog post! Super informative! Thank you for sharing!

    Leave a comment:


  • ddscook
    replied




    Does your husband bring any revenue to the table?  What are your expenses?  Does his income cover any of this?

    My wife just had a big salary gap, about 2mos.  Leading up, thought money might be tight, but in reality it was no big deal, hardly noticed it from a bank balance perspective.  Even bought her a nice graduation gift and we had other normal spending, plus some home repairs.

    How long are you taking off?  If you have money in the bank, and a second income, should be no problem unless you’re taking some lavish sabbatical or retiring.

     

    Edit – Just saw your husband is a resident.  Assuming he’s making decent PGY3, PGY4 money, and you’re living below your means, and you don’t take a huge amount of time off, you should be fine.  Now if you’re on bedrest for 20 weeks before the child is born, might have to make some adjustments. Do you have family to lean on, etc?

    Also, if you’re just now “thinking” about a child, by the time that child is out in the open, your husband should be starting as an attending, or a matter of weeks away, and the financial situation should be moot.
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    Yes, the hope is to have the baby once he's an attending - but apparently babies don't like to be told exactly what date to be conceived on or born on haha.

    Leave a comment:


  • StarTrekDoc
    replied
    Or get hired by University/large corporation that offers noexam/AFLAC style STD  ---maybe worth it for near term and long term career planning since he's getting attending income in near future --- with larger corp allows for higher schedule flexibility and options.

    Leave a comment:


  • ddscook
    replied




    If you get a personal STD policy, you will REALLY have to read the fine print about what it will cover for normal pregnancy/delivery. They may exclude pregnancy if you conceive within a certain timeframe of getting the policy. The LTD policy won’t help you much, unless you have some crazy complication where you have to be out of work >3 months (I’m OB, this is pretty darn rare).

    When I started my job after residency I could get STD through my employer at a unisex rate without an exam, and since we were planning pregnancy within a year I did elect to purchase it. Since it was pre-tax, the benefits were taxed. It capped at I think $1500/wk pre-tax. Also, it didn’t start for 2 weeks and only lasted through 6 weeks, so only 4 weeks total = $6000 minus taxes. Pretty easy to self-insure for that small of a benefit. My policy works out to about $900/yr so mathematically it does make sense to keep it if more kid(s) are on the horizon over the next few years. When I’m done having kids I will almost certainly cancel. Keep in mind I am probably paying less than what you will be able to find as an individual policy for a woman of child-bearing age.

    Whether you get the STD or not, calculate what your expenses will be for your time out on leave and make sure you have that plus a little cushion in an emergency fund.

    Other aspects: childcare costs a LOT. I pay $1240/month for full time daycare for one child. Make sure your budget can handle that. Not to mention diapers, clothes, furniture, etc etc. Get the Baby Bargains book to help figure out what you can skimp on vs what you may want to splurge on. Do NOT buy expensive baby clothing. Find a friend or relative with a kid older than yours and get all the hand-me-downs.

    Start 529s as soon as you get the baby’s SSN so you don’t put it off. If you happen to have relatives who want to contribute financially to your child’s future put it straight into the 529.

    I did not follow the above advice about no big purchases. We bought a house when the baby was 9 months old and it has worked out fine. To be fair, that was right around when I finished off my student loans, and our current mortgage payment is less than the old mortgage payment + student loan payment (I was overpaying) so our monthly expenses actually went down.

    Oh, and for leave- before you talk to anyone at your job regarding pregnancy, make sure you know whether you are covered by FMLA or alternatively, what your contract or company policy says about maternity leave. I found that many people in the medium-sized healthcare system where I work were totally clueless and acted like they had never dealt with a physician having a baby before. You will have to be your own advocate.
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    Thanks, LizOB! It is great to know about your experience with STD, makes more sense to just start increasing my savings to prepare for it.

    Leave a comment:


  • Miss Bonnie MD
    replied




     

    Other aspects: childcare costs a LOT. I pay $1240/month for full time daycare for one child. Make sure your budget can handle that. Not to mention diapers, clothes, furniture, etc etc. Get the Baby Bargains book to help figure out what you can skimp on vs what you may want to splurge on. Do NOT buy expensive baby clothing. Find a friend or relative with a kid older than yours and get all the hand-me-downs.

     
    Click to expand...


    that is nothing! in NYC daycare is 2700+...nannies are more.

    Leave a comment:

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