Preparing for our first living child means lots of adulting. I put off these administrative family tasks until the New Year. I can’t possibly work on that during the holidays! I’ll wait until my second trimester. January 10th marked the beginning of my second trimester, so it was time to actually look at my list of “to do” items and make some appointments with the real professionals who could help us out. This was a big week for making sure our growing family is protected and set up for a successful future.
First up was a phone consultation with an attorney (possibly the most grown-up sentence I have ever written).
K and I had never created an estate plan before, so the attorney walked us through her recommendations for our family: joint will, power of attorney, medical proxy, and one last document we had never heard of called a reproductive estate plan. Because we did IVF, we have additional frozen embryos still being banked. When we started IVF, we filled out a long document with our IVF clinic detailing what we wanted to happen to our frozen embryos in certain situations: if we divorced, if one of us passed away or became incapacitated, if both of us passed away or became incapacitated, and so on.
“Even when we filled out that document, I doubted it could ever stand up in court,” I explained to the lawyer. “Most of the pages had us check off ‘male partner’ and ‘female partner,’ so as a same-sex couple, we had to cross things out all over the place.” The attorney agreed that this would likely protect neither of us if one of these situations really did come up, and explained that a reproductive estate plan tailored to us and our specific situation and embryos would provide much better legal protection. We walked away from the phone call feeling extremely positive about this first step towards better protecting our family. Now we had a real professional making sure we were covered legally.
The following day, we had the Zoom meeting we had been dreading: it was time to talk to a financial planner. About money. And retirement. And how far behind we felt in almost everything finance-related.
When K and I met in 2018, we both came with baggage, including plenty of debt. Student loans, credit cards, medical debt, tax debt–you name it, we had it. Our main financial focus (other than funding family-building) has been getting rid of as much debt as quickly as possible. Through budgeting and moving into higher-paying jobs, we have made huge strides. We are down to our last two debts to pay off, and we no longer have that feeling of terror every time we open our bank account apps to check the balances.
Although we have come a long way with debt, we knew that we had not made much progress in other areas financially, including saving for retirement and home ownership (which has felt like an impossible dream here in Southern California for most of my adult life).
K and I both sat down for the meeting nervous and sure we would get scolded for the financial state we were in. Instead, we were surprised to find that the financial planner was supportive and made our goals seem achievable. He reviewed our current finances with us and made actionable suggestions. I originally feared he would tell us we had to suddenly start saving 20% of our income for retirement in order to catch up, but instead, he suggested making small changes now, in six months, and when our debt was completely paid off. It was the most empowered I have ever felt about money: we can actually retire someday! We can even work towards being homeowners!
This week felt like huge progress for our family.
I am so used to focusing on the medical side of this pregnancy: managing my symptoms, attending appointments, getting ultrasounds, and checking on the baby’s growth. Shifting the focus to start working on the administrative protection and support of our family helped us take two huge steps forward!
Read more bump day blogs from Alli:
- Alli’s Bump Day Blog, Week 13: Announcing at Work
- Alli’s Bump Day Blog, Week 15: The Wait Between Appointments