It's every parent's dream that their child should want for nothing. To turn that dream into a reality, you need proper financial planning.

Let's face it, babies are expensive. There are the trips to the gynaecologist before they are born, and then come the immunisations, the ever more expensive nappies, the clothes that only last a couple of months — and that's before you even begin to think about schooling, uniforms, stationery and phones. No one wants the joy of bringing their little one into the world soured by crippling debt and other financial constraints.

We all want the best for our children. That requires planning long before your bundle of joy arrives. Here are 4 strategies all new parents need to consider.

  1. Budget
    A baby is a huge investment with many unforeseen costs. Drawing up a budget makes it easier to incorporate this new financial responsibility into your monthly spend. Your budget should include an emergency fund and savings for their future education. It is very likely that you will have to cut down on certain expenses to make sure that all bases are covered.
  1. Take care of short-term debt
    Multiple debt obligations each month can hurt your ability to properly prepare for your child’s future. If you are struggling to keep a handle on your monthly payments, it might be a good idea to consider a consolidation loan. This will combine your debt into one easier-to-manage payment that will help to free up extra money. Find out more about consolidation loans here.
  1. Create an emergency fund
    As we mentioned earlier, there are many unforeseen costs associated with raising a child. That is why your budget needs to cater for their future, as well as the unexpected events that will colour their journey into adulthood.

    An emergency fund is essential. This will act as a buffer should you incur expenses outside your monthly budget. Your emergency fund should be easily accessible, but separate from your household account so that you aren't tempted to dip into it. A MyWORLD account comes with a Savings Pocket automatically linked, which you can use for your emergency fund. You can link up to six Pockets to your account, making it the perfect budgeting tool, and it boasts the best savings interest rate in South Africa as well.

    Automating your savings is a good way to ensure that you stick to your plan. It's so easy to get derailed when there are so many financial considerations competing for your attention.
  1. Invest
    The cost of education rises every year. Every parent wants their child to have the best education possible, which is why an investment account is so important. This will allow your money to grow with a high interest rate and compound interest — this means that the interest your money earns turns it into a bigger sum that earns even more interest, and so on. The longer you leave the money untouched, the more it will grow. At the end of the investment term, you could always reinvest the money. After all, after nursery school, comes primary school, high school and, hopefully, university. African Bank's Fixed Deposit offers SA's best rate of 12.22%. Find out more about it here.

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