After the miracle of birth, most parents just want to stay at home from work for a period of time to care for their little bundle of joy. Unfortunately, the U.S. is one of the three countries left that do not guarantee paid maternity leave. However, from the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) signed into law in 1993, your employer is required to allow mothers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave without it affecting their job. But as you can see, this law really won't provide your family with the financial support needed during this crucial time. If you or your spouse would like to take an extended maternity leave, it's important to do some financial planning ahead of time.
Determine Whether Your Savings Can Cover Expenses and Look for Additional Support
If you plan on taking an extended maternity leave, you'll need to determine whether the household finances can take the hit of having one less income stream. Depending on whether your spouse will continue to work and whether you already have set some savings aside, an extended maternity leave may not be entirely feasible. You'll have to determine what the exact household expenses will be and whether one income can cover these expenses. If it doesn't, you'll have to start saving ahead of time, as the amount of savings you set aside will influence how long your maternity leave will be.
You should also determine whether your company or state offers financial support to those on maternity leave. While the U.S. does not guarantee paid maternity leave, four states do offer publicly funded maternity leave: California, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Paid maternity leave policies will differ. California only offers 6 weeks of paid maternity leave at 55% of one's salary while Rhode Island only offers 4 weeks of paid maternity leave at 60% of one's salary. Your company may also offer its employees paid maternity leave. You'll need to look into these policies to determine how much of your income will be supplemented. A financial planner can help you determine the approximate expenses your household has and calculate how long your extended maternity leave can be based on the amount of savings you and your spouse and whether either of you will receive additional financial support.
Merge Your Finances with Your Spouse
Not everyone is comfortable with merging their finances together with their spouse; however, now's the time to do so. In fact, most financial planners highly recommend merging at least some of the your finances together in an attempt to get the hang of what 'family expenditure' means. Getting joint accounts can really help you and your spouse determine the financial strain that an extended maternity leave may have on household finances and how a routine month looks like.
By merging your finances together, you'll get a better idea of what you and your spouse have and how your daily spendings look like. You can take this opportunity to nip extravagant spending habits in the bud in order to save money that will be needed during an extended maternity leave.
Pause Payments for Services You or Your Spouse Might Not Need Temporarily
After giving birth or taking your baby home, there's a good chance that you're not going to have a lot of time on your hands to take part in recreational activities and hobbies. Take a look at your credit card statement or bank statement to determine whether you can pause payments for any services that you or your spouse might not need temporarily. This can help free up money that can otherwise be spent on supporting an extended maternity leave. If you're not sure what services can or cannot be temporarily suspended, ask your financial planner. They may be able to negotiate better terms and conditions on your behalf as well.
For example, the average cost of gym memberships is $58 a month. After giving birth, most mothers simply do not have the time nor the energy to go to the gym anymore. As a result, their gym memberships go to waste, as they are literally spending money on services that they will not be using. Fortunately, most gyms allow members to suspend their membership without incurring a fee or penalty if they have given birth.
It's not unusual for parents to want to take extended maternity leaves in order to care for their baby; however, before you do that, it's important for you and your spouse to determine whether an extended maternity leave will be financially feasible for the household. A financial planner, such as those at Global Wealth Consultants LLC, can help you determine whether you and your spouse can afford an extended maternity leave. If it's not, they can help you arrange your finances so that it is.Share