Expecting twins like Beyoncé? Here’s what to consider

Two weeks ago, Beyoncé set Instagram alight with her record-breaking post announcing that she is expecting twins. According to reports, the queen of the music industry’s post skyrocketed to become the most liked image on the photo-sharing platform, claiming the Guinness World record. Within an hour, it had racked up 2.4 million likes, and 166,000 comments. She is just one of several celebrities to be joining the club of mother’s who have twins, with Amal Clooney reportedly being pregnant with twins, and Madonna announcing that she is adopting twins from Malawi.

Are you set to be joining the twins club? Moneybags’ writer, Alina Hardcastle, looks at  the joys and tribulations of having multiples, and asks how parents can manage and prepare their finances before and after the due date.

What to consider:

“Falling pregnant can be one of the most amazing experiences a woman has the privilege of living through. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the most expensive. Gynaecologist visits, scans and birthing classes can be a huge burden on the average person’s pocket through a normal pregnancy. That cost increases drastically if there are complications involved,” says Winnie Kunene, a money psychologist, a trustee of the Truth About Money (a 1Life initiative) board, and an expert on Married at First Sight South Africa.

She along with other experts offer financial advice to those who are expecting multiples:

The lead up to the birth:

  • Medical aid: While planning your finances when having a child, you need to make sure that you are covered by good medical aid provider that will cover all your necessary procedures. According to Deon Kotze, head of research and development at Discovery Health, during your pregnancy, there’s a possibility that your consultations with your general practitioner (GP) or gynaecologist will become more regular, and that they may require frequent ultrasound exams and laboratory tests. He says: “If you belong to a medical scheme, ensure that you understand how many of these visits, scans and tests your scheme will cover pre- and post-delivery. Manage your available Medical Savings Account (MSA) effectively to meet these and any additional costs, and keep additional savings available for costs that are not covered by your plan.”

It’s important that you consult an accredited financial adviser to ensure that your current plan choice offers the appropriate benefits based on your personal healthcare needs.

  • Everyday costs: Once your babies arrive, you might find it difficult to go and do a quick shop. Eunice Sibiya, head of consumer education at First National Bank (FNB) advises stocking up on nappies, creams, wet wipes and anything else that is not perishable, while you’re pregnant. Also keep a look out for sales and bargains; and cash in on your rewards programmes.
  • Debt: It’s inevitable that once your babies arrive, your household expenses will go up. This will make it almost impossible to pay off your existing debt. Kunene suggests paying off as much debt as possible before you welcome your children into the world.
  • Don’t over spend on your baby: Generally, parents get carried away when purchasing baby clothes, toys and other goods that aren’t necessarily essential. Kunene says: “I’ve had a few mothers tell me that babies grow so fast that buying every cute outfit out there is a waste of money.” She says it is more cost effective to ask for old clothes from friends and relatives who have also had babies. If you don’t know of anyone Mhlongo advises buying second hand clothes, cots*, prams etc.

*Remember that while you can reuse a cot, it’s preferable to buy a new mattress for your child. Even if it is the cot you used for your first child and you bought it new at the time, replace the mattress with a new one.

  • UIF: If you are employed and contribute to Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), the government will pay you out a portion of your salary while you are on maternity leave. Kunene says: “It is important that as soon as you find out you’re pregnant, find out how much you will be receiving every month in order to budget around this.”
  • Maternity leave: You also need to find out quite early in your pregnancy whether your employer will be offering paid or unpaid maternity leave in order to budget accordingly.
  • Childcare: Before your child is born, you need to decide who will be looking after your baby and whether or not you need to employ childcare. Also factor into your calculations whether it would be cheaper to send your child to a day-care facility, hire a nanny or even if it is perhaps cheaper if you or your spouse stays home to look after the baby.
  • Emergency fund: For those of you who are planning to leave your job after the birth of your child, it’s important to build up a baby emergency fund.

The delivery:

Babies can enter this world in one of two ways. Pregnant women can either chose to have a vaginal/natural birth or a surgical delivery by caesarean section (C-Section). Ultimately, the decision will be based on the safest option for your circumstances.

Kotze says that if you’re expecting multiples, delivery might be longer and could result in a C-section procedure as most multiples pregnancies do. He advises that either your or your gynaecologist notifies your hospital in advance of your circumstances.

Kunene adds that whether you’re choosing a natural birth or a C-Section, there are costs that one needs to consider.  She says: “If you choose to give birth in a government facility, your costs may be very low, sometimes even free. If you want to go the private route, prepare yourself for quite a bit of spending.”

According to the cost breakdown provided by Mediclinic in 2013, a natural birth costs you over R9,000 for the first day in hospital. If you wanted an epidural with that, it cost you almost R2,000 extra. If stayed a little longer and needed the nursery, the cost was just over R3,000 extra per day. For C-section moms, the first day of confinement had you forking out almost R13,000. You were also liable for the R3,000 per day fee for every extra day spent in the hospital. *These basic costs are from over three years ago, meaning that you can expect the costs to be even higher in 2017.

Post-birth costs:

 Remember that these expenses don’t come to a halt after birth. Kotze says that the costs to consider after post-birth include:

  • Regular post-natal care
  • Blood tests
  • Vaccinations

 Special care needs are also something to keep in mind. Kotze says this dependant on the health of the babies, and should be defined in consultation with your GP or paediatrician. These may include:

  • Specialist dietician consultations and prescribed diets.
  • Specialist care for premature babies requiring treatment for neurological, metabolic or physical abnormalities.

Long term planning:

Bringing a child into this world is both a financial and emotional lifelong commitment. Sibiya explains: “Keeping up with the costs of educating even one child can be a daunting. So with more than one you need to get your financial planning into gear in order to cater for their schooling and maybe even university.”

Parents need to plan ahead and put aside money every month, using a debit order that comes off as soon as your salary is deposited is advisable. This money needs to be ring-fenced to help with their education. In order to provide for your child, Sibiya emphasises the importance of getting a head start in saving and remaining financially disciplined.