Having kids is expensive.
The average American family pays over $11,000 just in the first year of a child's life, and nearly $250,000 by the time they're 18. The cost of childcare for young children has even eclipsed the cost of tuition at in-state colleges in 33 states.
With those numbers in mind, it's never too early for parents to start putting money away to cover the cost of having kids.
On a recent episode the "Listen Money Matters" podcast, Kim Palmer, author of "Smart Mom, Rich Mom: How to Build Wealth While Raising a Family" and mother of two, said that she and her husband started saving up to have kids as soon as they got married — even though their daughter wasn't born until five years later. Why so early?
"That was when it was easy, before we had kids," Palmer told Andrew Fiebert and Thomas Frank of Listen Money Matters. "That was the easy time to save."
Having kids brings a mountain of added expenses that don't exist when you're younger and newly married. Parents need to fork over cash for everything from a new car seat to months worth of diapers — not to mention the rising cost of childcare — making it much more difficult to save diligently for future outlay at the same time. So once you and your partner know kids are in your future, it's time to start saving for them.
For Palmer, taking time off of work to have a baby also meant a dip in income.
"Like a lot of people in America, I didn't have fully funded maternity leave, so I had to have the savings for that because I took six months off with each baby," she says. "That's a big loss of income and it's hard to keep up with your other costs."
If you're planning on having kids someday, it doesn't hurt to start saving up right away. As a new parent, you'll thank yourself when money is one less stress to worry about.