Having a baby?

Date: 7th May 2012

Sorted website has provided this check list which offers some great things to consider when expecting…

Having a baby is an exciting time so you don’t want money worries spoiling things. But the new arrival is likely to mean some big changes to your family finances. With a bit of planning you can keep your finances under control and enjoy all the great things about parenting.

  • Budget for reduced income

    If you’re a working mother, having a baby will mean time off work and less income for your family. So you will need to plan for living on a reduced budget. Start by taking a good look at your household’s current income and expenses. Make your current budget using our money planner.
    Then adjust it to see what life will be like after baby comes. For example, see the impact of going down to a single income.
    Save your changes as a new baby budget in My Sorted.
    See if your current budget allows you to set some savings aside each pay. It’s good to have some money saved up to cover all the things you will need to care for your baby.
    If you have any high-interest debt like credit cards or hire purchase, try to pay that off first. Getting rid of dumb debt will give you one less thing to worry about.

    Paid Parental Leave

    Paid Parental Leave is a government-funded payment that helps cover working mothers’ loss of income when they take parental leave to care for a newborn baby or an adopted child under six. Mothers may also be able to transfer all or part of their entitlement to their partner. You can claim paid parental peave for up to 14 weeks. See if you’re eligible for paid parental leave and find out how much you could get on the Department of Labour website.
    If you are a KiwiSaver member – find out what happens to your Kiwisaver contributionsand your employers on the Inland Revenue’s KiwiSaver website.

    Other government help

    If you’re not eligible for paid parental leave, you may be able to get the parental tax credit. This is paid for the first 8 weeks. Find out more about the parental tax credit on the Inland Revenue website.
    Inland Revenue also have a helpful booklet that explains the differences between the two types of payments. Working for Families is a government programme aimed at helping low and middle income families cope with the costs of raising children. It offers tax credits, accommodation and childcare assistance. Find out more on the Working for Families website.

    Budget for baby expenses

    As an expectant parent you may be tempted to spend lots of money on baby gear. But before you hit the shops, talk to experienced parents about what you really need.
    You can save a lot by buying secondhand goods online and getting nappies in bulk, or using cloth nappies. Better still – let your friends and family know what’s on your still-to-get list. Most will welcome the opportunity to clear out their unused baby gear or offer to help you with a gift you really need.
    Plunket offers a car seat rental service, toy libraries and other services aimed at making your job as a parent easier and more affordable. They also have an online baby budget calculator that can help you work out the costs of your baby’s first year.
    Or you can use our event planner to make your own list of items and add up the costs.

    Childcare and home help

    Childcare will be one of your biggest expenses if you or your partner returns to work. This is when supportive family members are worth their weight in gold! Costs and conditions vary widely among childcare centres. Shop around for one that will suit your family.
    Work and Income’s childcare subsidy helps cover the cost of childcare for children under five.
    If you’ve had a multiple birth or have a domestic emergency you may be able to get help with the cost of things like laundry, housework and cooking as well as childcare. Find out more about financial assistance when you’re having a baby on the Work and Income website.

    Protecting your new family

    You may not have seen a need for life insurance before but now is the time to consider it. If you or your partner died, how would your family cope financially?
    If you already have life insurance, it’s a good idea to check your policy before your baby is born. You may need to increase it.
    Other types of insurance may also be worth considering, such as income protection for the working parent. However this can be expensive so check your budget first.
    If you haven’t already, now is the time to make a will or update your existing one. It’s never nice to think about, but it is important to nominate a legal guardian for your child in case you and your partner die. If you have a more complex personal or financial situation – for example you own your own business or are recently separated, you may need to consider other types of asset protection such as a family trust. Start your budget planning now, don’t leave it until the last minute.

    Returning to work

    The Department of Labour website has information about your options when you return to the workforce after parental leave – including your right to request flexible working hours.
    Parents Centres New Zealand also runs a return to work programme for parents considering re-entering the paid workforce.

    Where to go for help

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