Starting a family, whether planned or unexpected is a time of great joy and for most some fear, panic and overwhelm. Bringing children into the world will generally bring with it quite a large change to your existing financial position and presents its own unique set of challenges and considerations.

There are differing figures all over the internet about the cost of raising a child in the Twenty-first century and some of them can be quite daunting. From $233,610 to raise a child born in 2015 to the age of 17, up to $406,000 to raise a child back in 2013. Regardless of the figure, the fact that remains is that having a child and being able to comfortably support them, continue to live your life and ensure that you have adequate protection in place requires planning and consideration. Below are some tips and also some questions you need to ask yourself when starting a family:

1. To start saving for a baby you might need to consider if you need to cut down on some expenses, especially if you don't have much of a budget surplus and savings plan already in place. This will also be good practice if you are going to stop working once your baby is born and particularly if you are going to take unpaid maternity leave for any length of time.

2. Adequately assess what items you may need to buy in advance. This could be things for the baby's nursery through to upsizing your car or making renovations to your home or moving to a bigger home or unit if you rent.

3. Prepare a budget and try to stick to it during the 9-month period. This will ensure that you have enough funds to pay for the extra baby items you'll need when they arrive. Once they arrive it will be important to sit down and review your budget regularly based on their needs and requirements.

4. Research what parental leave you are entitled to with your employer. Ask the questions "how much time do I get off?" and "how much will I be paid and how long for?" This will help you to decide if you need to increase your savings before having a baby. If you decide you don't want to go straight back to work once your paid entitlements end you will need to assess how much you will need for the length of time you take off and then budget and save accordingly.

5. Look at your health insurance, does it cover the birth costs for your baby? Will you be able to have your baby where and how you want to? Will your current health insurance cover your little one when they are born, or do you need to update it?

6. What will happen if something happens to you or your partner at this crucial time? Where will your income come from if you are unable to work and have a new mouth to feed? Make sure that you have adequate protection in place that will give you peace of mind if something did go wrong.

7. If you'd like to send your children to private school, start saving for that straight away. The cost of private schooling can be in the tens of thousands each year, so it's best to start building a nest egg for this cost as soon as the child arrives.

8. Do you need to update your Will? Having a child is one of those life events that require a revision and updating of your Will. You want to ensure that if something happens to you that your estate is in order and the people that need to benefit from it do. And don't forget to nominate a guardian for your child.

And remember, we are only an email or phone call away if you would like to seek advice on how to help plan your families' wealth now and into the future.