Author Topic: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother  (Read 9824 times)

senoritabigote

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Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« on: March 04, 2016, 01:02:41 PM »
Let's jump right in shall we?

I'm 29 years old and expecting my first child on April 12th. I live in Montgomery County, MD. My SO and I are completely unprepared to merge finances. Once the wee one is born, I'll have to quit all my jobs, expect for my office manager gig that gives me $280/mth and occasional Ubering (optimistically $1500/mth?). And there's that whole six weeks mandatory bed rest per the doc's orders. My question is, is FI in ten years still feasible for me? What Vanguard account should I invest in after my debts have been paid?

But here's what we have for the year 2015:

IRS filing status: single (I don't forsee this changing in 2016)

Dependents: None, but in 2016 I'll claim my son. Or Should my SO??

Gross Salary/ Wages:

Office Manager: 210.00 (Started this gig in December)

Server job 1: 301.42 (Started this gig in December. They won't keep my seat warm for me when I'm back from my six weeks of medical leave.)

Server job 2: 36,252.54 (They won't hire me back after the lil' is born. In fact, they've hired two new people already, and I'm down to one shift a week.)

Uber: 1067.55

Total Gross Wages: 37,831.51

Pre-tax deductions: Does insurance 1095-A count? 3,109.08 (In 2016, I'll be on Medicare, so no payments.)

Assets:

Betterment account: Safety Net: 5,669.32  60% Bond 40% Stock

Cash in checking: 2,000.00

Total Assets: 7,669.32

Liabilities:

Capital One Credit Card: 6,873.36 (I know, I know.)

Student loans: 5,232.16 (I know, I know.)

Total: 12,105.52 (Ugh, God.)

Expenses:

Rent: 1367/mth- SO has said he would pay this once we move in together

Utilities: Haven't moved in yet, but I will have to pay this. Estimates?

Groceries: Haven't moved in together yet, but I will have to pay this. How much would you guys estimate this should be?

I know I have to pay down my debts first. I opened an account with Betterment and this what they said: "Based on your current savings of $0.00 and the desire to spend $26,566/yr in retirement at age 39, you should save 73,585/yr"

So the SO makes about 3,000/mth, roughly 50,000/yr before taxes. We will be living together but it's his money and I can't tell him what to do with it. Also, I'm hesitant about having him pitch in to my investment account, since we're keeping everything separate so I can keep my Medicare. In addition, I'll be staying at home with the baby because childcare is around $900/mth in the area. WHAT DO I DO?

nereo

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2016, 01:17:03 PM »
Quote
My question is, is FI in ten years still feasible for me? What Vanguard account should I invest in after my debts have been paid?

The harsh truth?  In order to be FI in ten years you will need to drastically alter your circumstances.
You have total gross wages of about $38k, over $12k in credit card and SL debt, and considerable expenses.

You mentioned a desire to spend $26,566/year in retirement, so that gives us a FI number of around $665,000.
Even with a rather rosy prediction of 7% annual returns, you'll need to save about $45,000 per year (with much of year 1 spent erasing your cc and SL debt).
This exceeds your current gross salary, which means you either need to really increase your earnings, decreae your spending or be retire later.

There's hope though.  If you stretch your timeline out a bit to 15 years, then you only need to save $24,000/year to hit your target FI number.  At 18 years (when your first child is ready to graduate highschool) you could save enough for retirement just saving $18k/year. Put another way, time is your biggest friend here.
Hopefully your SO will be on board and the two of you might be able to start saving together.

FerrumB5

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2016, 01:23:52 PM »
I agree with previous poster. A baby in a house is costly, but so much fun and joy! With your numbers I don't see 10 yr FI, unfortunately. Be prepared to pretty big spending on diapers, clothes (unless you have friends with older children that give clothes away), educational toys, etc

SuperSecretName

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2016, 01:28:38 PM »
hello neighbor, I am also in MoCo.  It's expensive here, but your rent is reasonable for the area.  Even moving out of the county won't net you that much, but might be something to consider

2 things:

1 - what is the interest rate on your Cap1 and student loans?

2 - regarding who should claim the kid, best thing to do is run both yours and his taxes, and see which ones saves more (do it on your 2015 taxes just to get a feel.  Be sure to lower your income to what you might expect in 2016)  There are a number of credits that come in to play (child tax, EITC, savers, dependent care), so play around with the numbers.  The savers credit especially is a cliff, so once you go past that cutoff, that's it.

I think retiring at 39 is a bit ambitious.  You are going to go through many changes very quickly.  Just focus on keeping your head above water for now.  Re-evaluate next year.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2016, 01:33:17 PM by SuperSecretName »

NoraLenderbee

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2016, 01:33:23 PM »
I'll have to quit all my jobs, expect for my office manager gig that gives me $280/mth and occasional Ubering (optimistically $1500/mth?).



Gross Salary/ Wages:

Office Manager: 210.00 (Started this gig in December)

Does the office manager gig pay $210 or $280?

Quote
Server job 1: 301.42 (Started this gig in December. They won't keep my seat warm for me when I'm back from my six weeks of medical leave.)

Server job 2: 36,252.54 (They won't hire me back after the lil' is born. In fact, they've hired two new people already, and I'm down to one shift a week.)

I assume the Server 2 amount is annual, not monthly. All the other numbers are monthly. What is the monthly amount? (Or if you really were making $36K per month, what's the name of the restaurant? :)


slappy

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2016, 01:53:23 PM »
Can you look for another job after the baby is born? Quitting a $38k job to save $11k in daycare doesn't make a ton of sense. Even if you were just able to work weekends, that would bring in some extra money.

senoritabigote

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2016, 01:56:35 PM »
The office manager gig paid 210.00 in December and went up to 280.00 in January for 2016. The monthly amount fluctuates for server job 2. I have only the yearly salary. But that job is pretty much gone after the baby's born. I realize retiring at 39 is a dream at this point, but I'll be sure to reevaluate after the debts are paid off and I get my second degree in nursing (more debt,  higher earning power). I'll get back to you on the interest rates for cap 1 and the student loans and update you all as time passes.

But does anyone know what Vanguard account to invest in?

FerrumB5

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2016, 01:57:52 PM »
Can you look for another job after the baby is born? Quitting a $38k job to save $11k in daycare doesn't make a ton of sense. Even if you were just able to work weekends, that would bring in some extra money.

You also need to factor in the JOB of being a parent. My DW was working art time when we put our infant to daycare. We soon realized that extra $200 difference a month was not worth daycare

SuperSecretName

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2016, 02:04:00 PM »
But does anyone know what Vanguard account to invest in?
I think you are getting a bit ahead of yourself.

Buuuuuuut, a target retirement fund is probably best for now. Target 2040 might be good, even if that is a bit after you would want to retire.  It will keep it more aggressive.

slappy

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2016, 02:04:46 PM »

You also need to factor in the JOB of being a parent. My DW was working art time when we put our infant to daycare. We soon realized that extra $200 difference a month was not worth daycare
[/quote]

I agree completely. My husband is a stay at home dad, due to unforeseen circumstances, and it's amazing.  I can OT if needed without worrying about getting to daycare on time. I get pictures of the baby all day long. I know he is getting the best care possible.  But it's not something that everyone can afford.  Honestly, we really can't afford it. We are making it work because it's our only choice at the moment.  Going from $38k to save $10k is more than $200 per month. And that's not including whatever the SO would pay towards daycare.  If you put together her SO income plus her anticipated part time income, it seems to be pretty close to what I make, and it's still tough. (Their rent is just about the same as my mortgage payment +/- $10).

nereo

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2016, 02:05:05 PM »

But does anyone know what Vanguard account to invest in?

This is a question only you can answer, based on what you want your asset allocation to be (what % of stocks, what % of bonds, how much international exposure, etc).

Popular choices for Vanguard include:
 the SP500 (VFINX) - a portion of the 500 largest US held companies
the total market index (VTSMX) - all the publically traded US companies
Target Retirement Date funds (various symbols).  These will have a mixture of stocks and bonds, and will shift towards more bonds over time.
International Stock Index (VGTSX) - a mixture of non-US companies (for international exposure)

FerrumB5

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2016, 02:07:29 PM »

You also need to factor in the JOB of being a parent. My DW was working art time when we put our infant to daycare. We soon realized that extra $200 difference a month was not worth daycare

I agree completely. My husband is a stay at home dad, due to unforeseen circumstances, and it's amazing.  I can OT if needed without worrying about getting to daycare on time. I get pictures of the baby all day long. I know he is getting the best care possible.  But it's not something that everyone can afford.  Honestly, we really can't afford it. We are making it work because it's our only choice at the moment.  Going from $38k to save $10k is more than $200 per month. And that's not including whatever the SO would pay towards daycare.  If you put together her SO income plus her anticipated part time income, it seems to be pretty close to what I make, and it's still tough. (Their rent is just about the same as my mortgage payment +/- $10).
[/quote]

Absolutely. Everyone's mileage varies 

SuperSecretName

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2016, 02:13:48 PM »
I'm bored at work.  Here is the life lesson post. 

Take a deep breath.  By your own admissions, you are 8 months pregnant, you and baby daddy don't live together yet, and are completely unprepared to merge finances, and are panic stricken.

Take another breath.

Forget about retiring early right now.  You need to focus on immediate needs.

You don't know how much utilities costs, so it sounds like you are not in the living situation you will be in when the baby comes?

Nor do you know how much groceries cost.  How do you eat now?  Or are you asking about baby food cost?

Nor are you and SO living together yet.  What are you waiting for?  The baby is a-comin.

Take another breath.  It will be OK.

Focus on getting your immediate house in order.  Focus on making sure you are in a comfortable situation.  Focus on your relationship with your SO with the little time you have left.  Don't focus on early retirement.

therethere

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2016, 02:16:41 PM »
I think the bigger question is how you plan to merge your lives together without getting married or merging finances. Its up to your own comfort level and personal choices. But I would be just as panic stricken to have a child on the way in one month with no hard commitment in any way from my SO. I know some couples work out the details differently but the fact that you seem desperate means you don't feel too comfortable with the plan or agreements with your SO.  Regardless of your marital or combined finance status you and your SO need to be a team. At least from the anonymity of the internet it appears your SO may have ignored or underestimated your need of security.

Although its bad timing to have such serious talks now with only a month to go I think they're necessary. Forget about early retirement right now. Make sure you have agreements and clear boundaries set with the SO now. Who pays for what. What the expected plan is for back to work for you (or not if you feel you might want to stay home). You definitely don't want to be worried and arguing about money while you're already sleep deprived, stressed, and hormonal after the baby arrives.

Parizade

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2016, 02:31:21 PM »
I'm bored at work.  Here is the life lesson post. 

Take a deep breath.  By your own admissions, you are 8 months pregnant, you and baby daddy don't live together yet, and are completely unprepared to merge finances, and are panic stricken.

Take another breath.

Forget about retiring early right now.  You need to focus on immediate needs.

You don't know how much utilities costs, so it sounds like you are not in the living situation you will be in when the baby comes?

Nor do you know how much groceries cost.  How do you eat now?  Or are you asking about baby food cost?

Nor are you and SO living together yet.  What are you waiting for?  The baby is a-comin.

Take another breath.  It will be OK.

Focus on getting your immediate house in order.  Focus on making sure you are in a comfortable situation.  Focus on your relationship with your SO with the little time you have left.  Don't focus on early retirement.

Yes, yes, yes and YES!

Right now you have to figure out how much $ you need to keep food on the table and a roof over you and the baby NOW.
That is step 1, step 2 is figuring out how you are going to make that much money. Keep all options open, including jobs, child support, government financial assistance, housing assistance, government nutrition programs, etc. Take any help offered from family and friends.

These 2 projects will keep you very very busy for some time to come. Once you have established some stability for your little family, then think about how to build a nest egg for the future.

teen persuasion

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #15 on: March 04, 2016, 05:21:04 PM »
Quote
And there's that whole six weeks mandatory bed rest per the doc's orders.

Mandatory bed rest?  Do you have some pregnancy complications that you need to plan for?  Is that before the baby arrives, or after?  Who will be caring for the baby during this time?  When I had a C section, extra help was welcomed, but I wasn't on mandatory bed rest, just slower recovery.


When my kids were little I did childcare for another family in my home as a way to earn some income.

little_brown_dog

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #16 on: March 04, 2016, 05:24:20 PM »
Quote
And there's that whole six weeks mandatory bed rest per the doc's orders.

Mandatory bed rest?  Do you have some pregnancy complications that you need to plan for?  Is that before the baby arrives, or after?  Who will be caring for the baby during this time?  When I had a C section, extra help was welcomed, but I wasn't on mandatory bed rest, just slower recovery.


When my kids were little I did childcare for another family in my home as a way to earn some income.

OP do you mean 6 weeks pelvic rest? If so, that just means no sex and no intense exercise for the first 6 weeks after baby since you will still be healing down there. But unless you have terrible complications, you should be able to walk around, cook, do light cleaning, etc.

nycstash

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #17 on: March 04, 2016, 06:35:16 PM »
The key information you have provided here is that you intend to get a degree for nursing. Be serious about pursuing this and do what you need to do to make it happen. There are programs that will forgive your student loans for nursing school if you work in a high need area. Nursing pays well. I would really focus on getting this degree and getting set up to work as a nurse. If you can maintain your low standard of living while acquiring a nursing salary, then you are in much better shape for retirement (definitely not 10 years but probably before you're 50 if that's a real goal for you). And going to school and taking out loans to give you a cushion while raising a baby is actually really good timing. You can save on daycare, take night classes and have your SO watch the baby at night. Also, your low income should qualify you for some decent financial aid to pay for tuition. And many schools have daycare for student parents. I would really look into this and make it a priority. If you are only responsible for groceries and utilities then you should be able to get by with student loan or minimal work income and focus on school and baby for the next 3-4 years, that would set you up well to start nursing full-time when your child is ready for pre-K. With a child in school, low lifestyle inflation and a nursing job paying $60K or more (totally a reasonable expectation for a BSN), you could be saving 50% of your income pretty easily. This has the added advantage of giving you a career path that will support yourself and your child regardless of what happens with your SO.

Also, one of you should file head of household next year rather than single - higher tax exemption. If you are able to be head of household (would mean you pay 50% of child's support) then you would likely qualify for the EIC which would be a much needed boost.

Final advice, already embedded above but to be specific: focus on yourself and your child and what you need to do to be able to independently support yourself and child. It sounds like your relationship situation may or may not be reliable. Don't become so overwhelmed that you simply become dependent on your SO. Focus on setting yourself up to take care of yourself. That is the first step. Then you can figure out the next. You're still young and can figure this out - you just have to have a realistic understanding of where you are at and immediate next step.

Kaikou

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2016, 07:35:03 PM »
I just thinking out loud because you never know, but please please please have a plan if for some reason things do not workout as planned. Just imagine if you were going at this alone what that plan would be. I feel like you make sure that you have that plan set up. Pay the minimum of what you can and save to have an extra cushion.

Who is paying for the birth?

When not put SO on child support or set amount to cover baby expenses? Many states have child support calculators if you want a frame of reference, but knowing that you only have to cover your own basic expenses might take some of the pressure off.

Rent is significant, maybe consider moving?

What's your 1st degree in? Start talking with your college and maybe even better local community colleges to map out an educational plan. Don't wait till you are ready.

goverment programs are

are here to help please utilize them (you paid into it and can pay it forward later if it bothers you). They will take Into account the fathers.income since he is in the household. How much does he make?

Get life insurance and a basic will in place.


lbmustache

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #19 on: March 04, 2016, 07:52:33 PM »

Final advice, already embedded above but to be specific: focus on yourself and your child and what you need to do to be able to independently support yourself and child. It sounds like your relationship situation may or may not be reliable. Don't become so overwhelmed that you simply become dependent on your SO. Focus on setting yourself up to take care of yourself. That is the first step. Then you can figure out the next. You're still young and can figure this out - you just have to have a realistic understanding of where you are at and immediate next step.

First off, congrats on the baby!

Second, deep breath, no need to panic at this point!

Third, I cannot echo the comments about being able to support yourself enough. SO situation sounds iffy at best.

Utilities will vary based on where you are and what you actually have to pay (does the apartment cover water, trash, etc.? or do you pay for everything?) - I would google what averages are in your city/area.

Groceries will also vary based on how much you two eat. I am also curious as to who is paying utilities and groceries currently... I would budget like $200, minimum, at this point.

I would focus on paying off the credit card before starting a Vanguard fund tbh. You can use the CC as a backup emergency "fund" if shit hits the fan. You have not listed a budget so it's kind of hard to figure out where your previous money was going - car payment? Insurance? Etc.

Gin1984

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #20 on: March 04, 2016, 07:53:18 PM »
Depending on how many hours you worked in the last year, and how long you have worked at your server jobs, the employer may not have a legal right to not take you back AND if they don't or if they retaliate by lowering your shifts you can sue and make a portion of that money back.

Dicey

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #21 on: March 04, 2016, 09:42:15 PM »
I am aware that my question(s) will piss some people off, but please hold your sticks and stones. There's the welfare of an innocent child at stake here.

Senoritabigote, are you sure you're ready to become a parent? Have you considered adoption?

Asking if you can still retire early seems like the last thing that should be on your worry list right now.

senoritabigote

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #22 on: March 04, 2016, 11:46:45 PM »
Phew! Sorry about the silence, I just got home from work. I want to thank you all for your replies! It's a lot to address!

So to clear the air, my SO and I have been together for two years (which is a blip, I know) but he is very, very supportive of me and loves me very much. He is footing a significant part of the living costs by taking on the rent by himself. The hesitation to discuss merging finances has mostly been on my part. I'm extremely, cagey about asking him for anything. After all, what right do I have to waltz in and say, "Well, you now have to merge finances with me and I shall be the millstone around your neck. Thank you for your higher earning salary and 12,000 savings. Here's your baby." It seems a bit high handed.

We just found a place which is why we haven't moved in together yet. March 19th is the big day for that. Everything seems so last minute, because in addition to working three jobs, I've been in school desperately trying to maintain a 4.0 GPA (I succeeded in the fall, not sure about this semester so far), and volunteering as an EMT. He's been working a grueling schedule of 12-16 hour days back-to-back. In my free time, I've been on the hunt at freecycle.org getting tons and tons of baby clothes, toys, a crib,a pack n'play, a bassinet and other miscellaneous items. Thank God for freecycle.org. Please check it out if you have time. (Free things given away. And possibly repurposed sold for income? Another Mustachian article perhaps...)

Part of my thought process in "retiring early" is to spend more time with my son and a longing to be completely free of my financial burdens and to be secure. I know it seems as if I'm not prioritizing well. My degree is in International Studies, but when I graduated in 2009....well. Let's just say it was rough.

Now to address the responses:

SuperSecretName: The Cap1 is 13.24-22% variable APR. The SL are broken into two. The first is an interest rate of 2.3% at 2,112.51 and the other is 6.8% at 3119.65. It's in Deferment currently. I didn't even know about all the tax credits! Where do you guys get this stuff from?! I'll have to get a tax accountant to help. I will re-evaluate next year and look into Target 2040. Thank you.

slappy: I could look for a another job, but the hours are extremely tricky. SO leaves for work at 12:30pm which means I'll have to find something between the hours of ____ and 12:30pm. This is why I'm thinking about Ubering. Especially if I'm heading back to school.

nereo: Thank you for the list. I'll look into them!

teen persuasion: I'll have to ask my Kasier doctor. When I spoke with him last, he seemed very firm on the idea that I stay home with the baby for six weeks. The pregnancy has been completely healthy thus far. He said it was important for recovery and bonding. I'll double check.

nycstash: Yes! This is exactly the plan. Unfortunately, it'll take four years for me to get a nursing degree. 2 year RN program and a 2yr BS in nursing. Hopefully, the science classes I'm taking now should cut down on the time, as well as the fact that I already have a BA. I was thinking of doing an accelerated program, but again, no time spent with the baby.

Kaikou: Currently, I have Medicaid which is paying for the birth since my income is considered to be very low in Montgomery County. Since he's paying for our rent, I don't think I can put him on child support. We haven't reached the point of no return yet!

lbmustache: I will definitely be getting rid of the Cap1 card debt first. It hurts my eyes just looking at it. :) We've been living with his parents but it's no longer feasible, since they have a hoarding problem and the baby is about to be born. My mother is an 80 minute commute roundtrip from our workplaces and that's not realistic either. The new place we're moving into is a little closer. Since my salary is currently up in the air, I haven't included a previous budget.

Gin1984: My 1st serving job is the one that has provided me with the steadiest income and I've been there since 2014. But there's a whole slew of issues there. Since they found out I was pregnant and even before that they have cut my hours and shifts. So I don't think I would have much of a case against them. I don't know if it is worth fighting for shifts and going through the expense of a lawyer at this point.

Diane C: I agree my questions about retiring early do seem backwards, but again I'm looking for financial stability more than anything. Also a way to live below my income in order to save money. As for adoption, I'm 29 years old and it seems a bit extreme. I'm also smart enough to know that the system is a horrible place to put a child. In addition, there's the psychological damage that comes from the knowledge that you have been given up. I couldn't do that to a new life. Plus, I have my SO's support, his family's support, and my family's support. I can't just say, "Oops, too expensive. Let's just give it away!" Thank you for the thought though.

Thanks again everyone!












mxt0133

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #23 on: March 05, 2016, 12:03:42 AM »
With regards to you server job, you said they wouldn't hire you back, but there are FMLA laws that should protect your job due to a pregnancy leave.  If you don't quit and they fire you, you can get unemployment.  If they fire you because you cannot work certain hours then that's on them but do not quit.

Also if you project you income to be below the poverty line for two people which is around $15K, since you and your child's father will not be merging finance, then you should qualify for all federal and state assistance programs.  That includes health care insurance, SNAP, and even housing.  I would look into those.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #24 on: March 05, 2016, 05:40:05 AM »
You're going to be fine. You are planning ahead and you have family support.

1. It sounds like you might qualify for WIC. Contact your local WIC office and do everything you need to do for that. Do your best to nurse the baby - better for you, the baby, and you get more food from WIC. WIC and the hospital will both have free lactation consultants. (My wife occasionally attends LLL meetings, which is why I know this stuff.)
2. Don't buy anything major ahead of time for the baby except a car seat and maybe a crib. New babies are small and they don't need strollers. They like being held better anyways.
3. There are thousands of people selling used baby clothes by the trash-bag-full, used toys, and so forth on Craigslist and Facebook. Your car seat must be new, though. (The foam in them goes bad over time.)

You're going to be OK. The other posters are right that the first thing to figure out is how you're going to keep yourself and your son housed and fed.

Dicey

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #25 on: March 05, 2016, 07:10:42 AM »
I'm also smart enough to know that the system is a horrible place to put a child.
This sounds like you're confusing adoption with foster care...

Thank you for all these detailed responses. Had you provided this level of information in your original post, I probably would not have mentioned adoption. Based on your new responses, you seem to have a better grasp on the situation than it appeared, so I will withdraw the suggestion.

I will point out the "psychological pain" of adoption you cite is very possibly less significant than being raised by a single, unprepared, impoverished parent who has other priorities. Just ask any social worker. Anecdotally, one of my dear friends told me she was adopted and that she says prayers of thanks for the birth mother who delivered her into the loving family who raised her. Not all adoptions are bad, as you seem to believe.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2016, 01:19:29 PM by Diane C »

SuperSecretName

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #26 on: March 05, 2016, 07:28:37 AM »
take pay off half the cap1 loan with money from betterment.  I would say to liquidate all of betterment, but its good to have some extra money with the baby coming.  If you are comfortable with the 2000 that you have, then fully close out your betterment accounts.  You aren't going to get a better rate of return that paying off the card.

https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/tax-tips/Family/Birth-of-a-Child/INF12019.html

https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/tax-tips/Taxes-101/What-Is-The-Savers-Credit-/INF15617.html

little_brown_dog

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #27 on: March 05, 2016, 08:37:44 AM »

So to clear the air, my SO and I have been together for two years (which is a blip, I know) but he is very, very supportive of me and loves me very much. He is footing a significant part of the living costs by taking on the rent by himself. The hesitation to discuss merging finances has mostly been on my part. I'm extremely, cagey about asking him for anything. After all, what right do I have to waltz in and say, "Well, you now have to merge finances with me and I shall be the millstone around your neck. Thank you for your higher earning salary and 12,000 savings. Here's your baby." It seems a bit high handed.


You have every right to ask the man who impregnated you to support you and his child to the best of his ability. There is a huge misconception that childrearing and financial risk can be perfectly equal in a heterosexual couple. They cannot be - the woman always bears more risk in the pregnancy/early infancy stage. He is not pregnant, he is not giving birth, he is not recovering from birth, he is not breastfeeding, he does not face pregnancy/new mother discrimination at work, and chances are you will be like most couples where he will not do the majority of baby care/home care. As a result, it is completely fair to expect him to contribute more financially if he is able to do so. That would be more equal. Call me old fashioned, but I think it is not fair to expect women to hold back and not ask for as much financial assistance as possible from their male partners if they are doing the brunt of providing that man with his offspring. I'm sure your guy is a standup fella - I doubt he would balk at taking a more central role in supporting you and the baby. Many men are extremely proud to do so.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2016, 08:40:15 AM by little_brown_dog »

Parizade

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #28 on: March 05, 2016, 08:45:15 AM »

So to clear the air, my SO and I have been together for two years (which is a blip, I know) but he is very, very supportive of me and loves me very much. He is footing a significant part of the living costs by taking on the rent by himself. The hesitation to discuss merging finances has mostly been on my part. I'm extremely, cagey about asking him for anything. After all, what right do I have to waltz in and say, "Well, you now have to merge finances with me and I shall be the millstone around your neck. Thank you for your higher earning salary and 12,000 savings. Here's your baby." It seems a bit high handed.



You have every right to ask the man who impregnated you to support you and his child to the best of his ability. There is a huge misconception that childrearing and financial risk can be perfectly equal in a heterosexual couple. They cannot be - the woman always bears more risk in the pregnancy/early infancy stage. He is not pregnant, he is not giving birth, he is not recovering from birth, he is not breastfeeding, he does not face pregnancy/new mother discrimination at work, and chances are you will be like most couples where he will not do the majority of baby care/home care. As a result, it is completely fair to expect him to contribute more financially if he is able to do so. That would be more equal. Call me old fashioned, but I think it is not fair to expect women to hold back and not ask for as much financial assistance as possible from their male partners if they are doing the brunt of providing that man with his offspring. I'm sure your guy is a standup fella - I doubt he would balk at taking a more central role in supporting you and the baby. Many men are extremely proud to do so.

+1! it worries me that you feel uncomfortable talking to him about financing your shared responsibility for this child. If he is the loving and supporting man you say he is he should have brought it up himself by now.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #29 on: March 05, 2016, 10:05:19 AM »
Seems like you're seeing you and the baby sort of one side, and SO on the other.

No. Just no. It's his baby, he is equally responsible for it.

Not everyone wants their partner to be a SAHP, but to be one is not to be some kind of parasite. Since they moved in together (when they were not yet married), my sister paid off her husband's credit cards, gives him spending money, bought him a new car when his died, and of course, pays all the bills. He does all the cooking and grocery shopping (not much for cleaning), ferries around her older kids, takes care of their little one, and holds down the fort while she works night shift as a nurse.

I asked her if Husband was going back to work now that kindergarten is approaching. Nah, she said. He's more valuable to me at home. I'm not saying that's your situation, but you need to stop thinking of yourself as a drain. If you decide to maintain separate finances, make sure that appropriate value is being placed on your labor around the home.

And you might want to look into Leapforce. You can do it from home on any schedule (ie, when he's around to watch the baby or when baby is napping), the pay's not horrible, and it's a chance to earn a few bucks on your phone and computer without coughing up for childcare.

And if you want to keep your job, it might be worth looking for a free option (government office that deals with this? legal aid? a little Googling might turn up options) to pursue the FMLA issue. Sensible employers are terrible of getting sued for firing pregnant women. It's illegal.

nycstash

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #30 on: March 05, 2016, 10:34:00 AM »
Agreed with people who say that you and your SO should see yourselves as a team and you should not see yourself as a mooch off his higher salary. You are raising a child together now - presumably that was a joint decision? (If not, I can see how that would affect your thinking). Also, thinking jointly really makes a difference in effectively managing finances.

You should totally take at least 6 weeks off from work after baby is born. If your SO makes enough money to cover it, really you should take 3 months off and just enjoy that time.

On nursing, definitely look into BA to BSN programs or even BA to BSN/Masters. I think you can do those in just a year or two. If you and your SO plan to stay together, then this degree is a pretty amazing investment in your joint financial future.

It might be worth a discussion with your SO about what your collective hopes and dreams are for your child, your family and your future and how to move forward on them together.

PharmaStache

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #31 on: March 05, 2016, 10:50:41 AM »
I am so confused by this thread.  Are you a poverty stricken single mother with a free place to stay courtesy of your boyfriend, or are you a couple with a baby who have a middle class income of around 60k/year?  You should not be dipping into your savings to fund you and your baby while on your 6 week leave- your SO should be cashflowing all expenses around that time.  Then you need to decide together if it's worth you going back to work or not (give that you say daycare is $900/month- is that full time?  What part time options are there given your school hours?).  If you both decide that you should stay home with the baby for a period of longer than 6 weeks, then HE would be supporting his family (you and the baby).  Do you guys like….talk to each other?  This is seriously the weirdest situation.

historienne

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #32 on: March 05, 2016, 12:09:41 PM »
I am so confused by this thread.  Are you a poverty stricken single mother with a free place to stay courtesy of your boyfriend, or are you a couple with a baby who have a middle class income of around 60k/year?  You should not be dipping into your savings to fund you and your baby while on your 6 week leave- your SO should be cashflowing all expenses around that time.  Then you need to decide together if it's worth you going back to work or not (give that you say daycare is $900/month- is that full time?  What part time options are there given your school hours?).  If you both decide that you should stay home with the baby for a period of longer than 6 weeks, then HE would be supporting his family (you and the baby).  Do you guys like….talk to each other?  This is seriously the weirdest situation.

Seriously.  These two situations have very different financial implications.  If you are unwilling to think of yourselves as a financial unit at all, then the hard truth is that you cannot afford to stay at home with your kid.  You should be applying for subsidized daycare and looking for another serving job.  Or working out a care swap with another single mom.  Or something.  You don't have enough income otherwise to pay basic bills (even with free rent).  You also need to be getting child support (you can calculate his subsidy of your rent into this, at least in an informal arrangement). 

If y'all are functioning as a couple, on the other hand, then you need to be merging your finances at least somewhat.  You are essentially leaving the workforce to do full time child care for your child, who is your joint responsibility.  That's (at least a large part of) your financial contribution to the household.  He needs to be picking up the ongoing bills otherwise - not just rent, but also food, utilities, etc.  If he doesn't want to do that then, again, you can't actually afford to stay home. 

FWIW, when y'all are living together, the government is going to assume that you are a joint financial unit for the purposes of SNAP benefits, housing subsidies, etc. 

Kaikou

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #33 on: March 05, 2016, 03:21:45 PM »
I am so confused by this thread.  Are you a poverty stricken single mother with a free place to stay courtesy of your boyfriend, or are you a couple with a baby who have a middle class income of around 60k/year?  You should not be dipping into your savings to fund you and your baby while on your 6 week leave- your SO should be cashflowing all expenses around that time.  Then you need to decide together if it's worth you going back to work or not (give that you say daycare is $900/month- is that full time?  What part time options are there given your school hours?).  If you both decide that you should stay home with the baby for a period of longer than 6 weeks, then HE would be supporting his family (you and the baby).  Do you guys like….talk to each other?  This is seriously the weirdest situation.

Seriously.  These two situations have very different financial implications.  If you are unwilling to think of yourselves as a financial unit at all, then the hard truth is that you cannot afford to stay at home with your kid.  You should be applying for subsidized daycare and looking for another serving job.  Or working out a care swap with another single mom.  Or something.  You don't have enough income otherwise to pay basic bills (even with free rent).  You also need to be getting child support (you can calculate his subsidy of your rent into this, at least in an informal arrangement). 

If y'all are functioning as a couple, on the other hand, then you need to be merging your finances at least somewhat.  You are essentially leaving the workforce to do full time child care for your child, who is your joint responsibility.  That's (at least a large part of) your financial contribution to the household.  He needs to be picking up the ongoing bills otherwise - not just rent, but also food, utilities, etc.  If he doesn't want to do that then, again, you can't actually afford to stay home. 

FWIW, when y'all are living together, the government is going to assume that you are a joint financial unit for the purposes of SNAP benefits, housing subsidies, etc.

That was what i was getting at.  Op might have a different perspective once the baby is here.

tobitonic

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #34 on: March 05, 2016, 08:22:44 PM »
I am so confused by this thread.  Are you a poverty stricken single mother with a free place to stay courtesy of your boyfriend, or are you a couple with a baby who have a middle class income of around 60k/year?  You should not be dipping into your savings to fund you and your baby while on your 6 week leave- your SO should be cashflowing all expenses around that time.  Then you need to decide together if it's worth you going back to work or not (give that you say daycare is $900/month- is that full time?  What part time options are there given your school hours?).  If you both decide that you should stay home with the baby for a period of longer than 6 weeks, then HE would be supporting his family (you and the baby).  Do you guys like….talk to each other?  This is seriously the weirdest situation.

Seriously.  These two situations have very different financial implications.  If you are unwilling to think of yourselves as a financial unit at all, then the hard truth is that you cannot afford to stay at home with your kid.  You should be applying for subsidized daycare and looking for another serving job.  Or working out a care swap with another single mom.  Or something.  You don't have enough income otherwise to pay basic bills (even with free rent).  You also need to be getting child support (you can calculate his subsidy of your rent into this, at least in an informal arrangement). 

If y'all are functioning as a couple, on the other hand, then you need to be merging your finances at least somewhat.  You are essentially leaving the workforce to do full time child care for your child, who is your joint responsibility.  That's (at least a large part of) your financial contribution to the household.  He needs to be picking up the ongoing bills otherwise - not just rent, but also food, utilities, etc.  If he doesn't want to do that then, again, you can't actually afford to stay home. 

FWIW, when y'all are living together, the government is going to assume that you are a joint financial unit for the purposes of SNAP benefits, housing subsidies, etc.

Lots of great advice, but these two posts in particular. OP, you guys need to merge finances (bank-wise or bill-wise), like yesterday...and figure out what your long term plans are together.

CindyBS

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #35 on: March 05, 2016, 09:04:29 PM »
I am so confused by this thread.  Are you a poverty stricken single mother with a free place to stay courtesy of your boyfriend, or are you a couple with a baby who have a middle class income of around 60k/year?  You should not be dipping into your savings to fund you and your baby while on your 6 week leave- your SO should be cashflowing all expenses around that time.  Then you need to decide together if it's worth you going back to work or not (give that you say daycare is $900/month- is that full time?  What part time options are there given your school hours?).  If you both decide that you should stay home with the baby for a period of longer than 6 weeks, then HE would be supporting his family (you and the baby).  Do you guys like….talk to each other?  This is seriously the weirdest situation.

Agreed.  I am also confused - you say in the beginning you are on Medicare and have Dr. prescribed bedrest.  Since you are 29, that led me to believe you are disabled (since that is the only way someone under 65 gets Medicare).  Then later on you say Medicaid, and also clarify that you will have a 6 week recovery after baby is born.  Bedrest is totally different than recovering from having a baby - it is done before a baby is born (I have done both). 

I realize there may be just some confusion of terms, but I wonder what else is not exactly as written.

Also, I'll be honest that I am bothered that you seem to not want to ask SO to support his child, but are ok being on Medicaid.  Does his job have health insurance for domestic partners?  Will you be applying for other govt benefits? 

I don't mean to be too harsh, but it sounds like you have priorities issues.  It is like trying to decorate a house that is on fire.  FI is the least of your concerns - getting through the next 24 months or so is THE priority.

DebtFreeBy25

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #36 on: March 05, 2016, 10:36:50 PM »
FWIW, when y'all are living together, the government is going to assume that you are a joint financial unit for the purposes of SNAP benefits, housing subsidies, etc.

This is very true. The government will consider you to be one household whether you operate jointly or not. (Some couples circumvent this by maintaining separate addresses for legal and tax purposes, not that I'm encouraging you to do so.)  I think you and your SO should consider your family's monthly income and living expenses as a couple regardless of whether you share any accounts. (FWIW, I'm not on the merge your finances bandwagon. I've been married for over 5 years, and my husband and I continue to maintain separate accounts and share our household expenses.)

I'd definitely encourage you to continue to aggressively pursue your own career. I believe that having the ability to financially support oneself is essential regardless of marital status. A relationship, even a marriage, is not a financial plan IMO. That said, while I agree that it's not your SO's responsibility to support you, it is his responsibility to do his part to support your child. Don't feel bad if you need him to cover more than 50% of the expenses especially while you're on medical leave or in school full-time. Those extra expenses will be going towards supporting his child. Supporting your career is also in his best interest as it will increase your ability to support your child in the future.

Also, regarding your previous question about taxes, it would make sense for your SO to file as head of household and claim your son assuming he's making more money. The person with the higher tax liability would benefit more from claiming the dependent. You would then file single, claim one exemption and include deductions for your student loan interest and education expenses if possible.

teen persuasion

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #37 on: March 06, 2016, 06:09:36 PM »
Quote
teen persuasion: I'll have to ask my Kasier doctor. When I spoke with him last, he seemed very firm on the idea that I stay home with the baby for six weeks. The pregnancy has been completely healthy thus far. He said it was important for recovery and bonding. I'll double check.

Oh, that's normal post pregnancy  recovery time, not complete bed rest! 

Yes, your body needs to heal and recover, and you need to get to know your newborn baby, and get breastfeeding into a routine (I highly recommend breastfeeding - good for you, good for baby, much less expensive than formula, I loved that time and closeness with my babies).


zhelud

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Re: Case Study: Panic-Stricken New Mother
« Reply #38 on: March 07, 2016, 08:40:43 AM »
I think the first thing is to figure out your relationship with SO.  If he is not willing/ready to formalize your relationship despite the fact that you are having his baby, I suggest staying in your own place and getting a child support + visitation agreement from a court. You are going to be parents, it is time to make some adult decisions about your relationship.