Standards of living have dramatically improved; a typical parent walks into a grocery store and has to decide from an overwhelming assortment of products. One baby formula, a hundred different brands, fifty various flavors - none of them cheap. Consumerism is characterized by variety, greater options, prices that refuse to stop hiking ever upwards. To afford insurance, healthcare, utilities, education, leisure all demands exorbitant amounts of money; a single partner going out to work just will not cut it anymore. If the options have diversified, so have employment options, payrolls, and expenses.


Saving for children

Planning to have children requires a glance into the bank account; quite fairly, can your family afford to have a baby?

Babies are expensive; for couples with fertility issues, there are added costs of fertility treatments, surrogacy, or the IVF method. It would be wise to take at least 40% of a monthly paycheck amount, and put it into savings. Then couples must target sources online, or visit clinics, to have a better understanding of pricing and costs.


  • Natural births are not cheap either; a cesarean may cost anywhere between 15-20,000 USD. Hospital charges, handling charges, medicine - these are all costs to have collected data on.


The real costs begin to hike once the baby is born. Keeping in mind education, food, clothing, and other miscellaneous costs, raising an offspring for 18 years will cost a pretty penny. Around 300,000 USD to be more accurate. This is a general projection for the average middle-class family and includes everything from diapers and baby formula, to college tuition and board.

Understand current income standing and make decisions based off how the account looks currently. Is a job promotion due? Will the situation change in another five years? Is there a better time to have a child?

After answering the questions above, it is best to set short and long term goals. This would require some cost-cutting on luxuries, dining out, and even basic utility bills.

Anything necessary stays, and everything excessive must take an exit. Put a hold on that trip to France, and focus on lowering monthly bills and researching affordable options online.

Which hospital provides more affordable healthcare? Can you make-do without trips to specialists? What about clothing, bedding, toys? Many stores online offer baby products under an affordable price range. Save, and research. Begin to set the cornerstones upon which the next 18 years will sit. Getting an early start is wise, and cultivating frugal habits in your children is also beneficial.


Retirement 

Saving for retirement should ideally begin when a person enters their 30s. Younger people aim to place 10% of their monthly paychecks in a savings account for retirement. Online calculators require an individual to input a number of personal figures and are able to draw up accurate data on what percentage to actually put into savings, and how much can be allowed for spontaneous spending.

The Employees' Provident Fund Organization is a stable, insured way for working individuals to keep a track of their retirement funds. The PF balance enquiry is a good measure of where any individual's retirement assets stand.

Having a fair idea of job prospects and the rate at which personal savings are expected to grow is important; you cannot make crucial employment decisions if you do not know where you career will lead you financially by the time you retire.

Research on various schemes that employers and banks offer, and participate in those. For healthcare and insurance, look into how much the state is willing to support citizens, and what it takes to qualify for these programs.

Starting early can only prove beneficial when handling something as spontaneous and delicate as financial planning. However, with the right research and frugal tricks, anyone can master the art. 

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