There is a common situation that many of my clients go through when, all of a sudden, things aren’t as financially comfortable as they once were.
No longer are you able to save, in fact, you might see your savings decline, you find yourself foregoing small luxuries and you feel like you are treading water or even going backwards financially.
The period I’m talking about is the life stage when you start a family. Financially, this is one of the hardest parts of your life. In most cases one partner has a period where they don’t work and quite often this is followed by a period of reduced work. This obviously leads to reduced income, often for an extended amount of time.
Furthermore, for many couples, they also need to place their children in childcare. I don’t have to tell anyone with children how expensive this is, even with the childcare subsidy. This expense is usually only second to the mortgage on most families budgets!
There are a lot of new expenses associated with starting a family. The big-ticket items like baby furniture, prams and car seats aren’t cheap, but ongoing expenses like nappies, formula, toys and baby clothes also increase continuing costs. This is especially true if you are like my wife and I where every toy and cute outfit seems like a necessity. Thankfully, some expenses like eating out decrease to virtually zero for obvious reasons.
It’s no wonder that, for most people in this stage of life, things aren’t as easy as they once were financially (in many other ways as well).
The first thing I tell clients during this phase is, not to worry, this is the most difficult time in your life financially (again, in many other ways as well) so don’t panic and don’t be concerned if your wealth creation plans are stalling. If you are using your savings during this period, that’s fine, this is the purpose of having savings. We build wealth so we can maintain lifestyle during periods of reduced income or increased expenses, starting a family is one of these times.
In an ideal world, it is best to build wealth in order to be prepared for changes in income and expenses. In the event that you haven’t, there are some options to help get you through this period. Reworking your budget, reducing some discretionary spending and moving to interest only for your mortgage repayments are some options that may alleviate financial pressure in this chapter of your lives.
Starting a family is a wonderful experience and the financial challenge is a small price to pay.