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Love and Debt: Why you need to talk about money

How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck

Where to go for mortgage and debt help

What You Should Know About Debt Settlement

Create a plan to deal with medical debt

Options for Higher Education

Will Changes in Credit Reporting Affect You?

What to do if your medical bills are turned over to collections

What to do if your spouse can't pay his or her bills

What to do when a family member ruins your credit

Homeownership is possible

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Beware of credit repair

Debt Management versus Debt Settlement

How to get ahead of late fees

Is There a Service That Helps You Not Pay Bills

Is a Debt Owed

Patience is the key to furnishing a new home

How to split expenses with your partner

Will my boyfriend's bad credit affect me?

What to do if your account is turned over to collections

Personal Credit and Starting a Business

Finding Money to Reduce Your Debt and Improve Your Credit

Simple Keys to Personal Finance

Be vigilant to avoid telephone and internet scams

Debt Settlement

Understanding credit utilization

The pros and cons of skipping a payment

Keep an open line of communication with parents about their finances.

Make a Choice to Get Ahead Financially

What to do when a relative asks you for money

Should You Buy a Home Now or Wait?

The difference between debt settlement and debt management

The negative impact of paying a payment 30 days late

Stressed by Finances

How to navigate two significant financial decisions: starting a family and buying a home

How to advise someone close to you who is coming into a significant amount of money

Make a Conscious Decision on How to Spend Your Money

How do you know if you have a good credit score?

Americans spend more money eating out than on groceries

Having Good Credit Saves You Money

Developing good money habits with your first job

How to save for a home

How to Know if you are Ready for Home Ownership

When is the right time to buy a home?

You can improve your credit to buy a home

Plan a Memorable Vacation Without Incurring Debt

The Hidden Costs of Payday Loans

Be Wary of Credit Repair Services

Use Caution when playing the credit card game

What does it mean to say bankruptcy gives you a clean slate?

How your credit is affected by various debt options

Be wary of predatory small business loans

What to do if you fall behind on mortgage payments

Financing a College Education

Money, Credit and Relationships

Should you be concerned with your date's credit scores?

Best options for a small, short-term loan

How to help a relative who is always borrowing money from you

Skipping a Payment over the Holidays

What to do if you are overwhelmed by medical bills

Make your financial intention a financial goal you can achieve

What to do when a collector calls you

The difference between paying bills and managing your money

My wife and I have gone through some tough financial times, which eventually led us to file for bankruptcy.  Following this experience, I don’t ever want to use credit again, but my wife

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How to navigate two significant financial decisions: starting a family and buying a home

Q. My wife and I have been married for just over a year, and our friends and family keep asking us when we are going to have kids. We’d like a family, but we aren’t sure if we’re ready. We make ends meet right now with our current income, but we don’t know how to budget for diapers, extra food and clothing and daycare expenses. We want to own our own home someday, too, and want to plan accordingly. How do we know how to plan for these things?

A. Starting a family and buying a home are both significant financial decisions. You are wise to think these decisions through, as people too often view them as casual, next-move kinds of choices. Ultimately, you will need to decide on your own what to do, based on your own goals, not on what others might expect of you.

Asking questions is great way to think about and plan for the future. For instance, will you both continue to work after the baby is born?  If so, daycare can be a significant expense. What are the average day care costs in your area?  Some couples are willing to work alternating shifts so they can save on daycare costs, but this means you may see less of one another. Are you willing to do this? 

If one of you decides to stay home, can you afford to live on a single income? Is there a way for the stay-at-home parent to generate income from home?  Do you get paid family leave?  Will you plan to take more leave than you get paid for?  There’s no right or wrong answer to these questions, but your answers will determine how you plan for what comes next.

Daycare costs are only one consideration. You need to consider health insurance, too.  What deductible and co-insurance will you have to pay to have a baby?  If both of you carry single-coverage health insurance through your employer, adding a baby, a dependent, will change your coverage needs.

Many people are surprised to find that changing from single to family, or single-to-dependent coverage, can mean a considerable increase in health care costs. Both of you should check with your employers so that you have a sense of what it would cost to add dependent coverage. Given the risks, you simply cannot go without health insurance for anyone in your family.  

Once you gain a sense of out-of-pocket expenses associated with having a baby, then you can make a better informed decision about the timing of starting your own family. You’ll need to employ the same kind of big-picture thinking about your future as a homeowner. What kind of down payment and closing costs can you expect to pay? How will the cost of a new home compare to what you pay now in rent? Are you committed to staying in one place, or do you like the idea of moving to a new city? How will your decision to have a family influence that kind of house and neighborhood you choose?

To help you answer these—and other home-buying questions, I encourage you to take a HUD-approved homebuyer education program.  You need straight forward, unbiased information when you’re considering such a large purchase.

You’re on the brink of some exciting, new adventures in your life. I encourage you to gather as much information as you can, keep an open dialogue between the two of you, and land on a decision that reflects what you both want.

Bonnie Spain is the executive director of the American Center for Credit Education and Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Black Hills. For more information, email

The material in this transmission is provided for personal, non-commercial, educational, and informational purposes only. ACCE makes no representations or warranties with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this transmission and assumes no responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, omissions, or any inconsistency herein. You should consult a professional where appropriate.