Get Your Finances Ready for Baby

✓ For you to find out...
• Does your employer offer a flex-plan to help cover childcare costs?
• Does the cost of transportation, childcare and professional clothing exceed your available income?
• Do two incomes push you into a higher tax bracket?

✓ See a financial planner: Should you be thinking of retirement during pregnancy? Talk with your credit union's budget counselor or a financial planner. You might be able to take steps that maximize your savings fund. During maternity leave, your partner might be able to make contributions to your retirement plan or you might be able to contribute extra now.

Medical and Life Insurance:

Step Four: Evaluate your medical coverage.

✓ For you to find out...
• Whose insurance coverage is better -- yours or your partner's?
• Does your insurance cover prenatal visits?
• When can you add baby to your insurance?
• Can you open a workplace flex-plan spending account to pay medical expenses with pre-tax money?
• How you'll create a living will.
• How to purchase a family life insurance plan.

To-Do List Just for Baby

Step Five: Get items that are specific for baby-- now. From social security cards to bank accounts, it's time to take action. Some of these items can take time, so you don't want to wait until the last minute.

✓ Open a savings account in your baby's name. Friends and relatives might enjoy donating to baby's piggy bank. It could be the start to a college education, a needed car seat or just an emergency fund.

✓ Create a baby registry: Let others know that you're pregnant. Most people love babies and buying things for them. This is your opportunity to get what you want if you can't afford it.

✓ Go shopping: Now that you have an idea which items will appear like magic and which you'll need to actually purchase, it's time to head out to the stores. Your key phrase will be "fiscal restraint." Ask around and see what you really need and which things are a total waste of funds and space. Then equipped with your lists, head out and enjoy the baby scene.

You've got nine months to prepare for baby's homecoming. Even if your child isn't arriving on your preferred financial schedule, there's still time to get your financial act together.

What tips can you share with other parents?