baby

"The money advice I wish I'd heard before having a baby."

QSuper
Thanks to our brand partner, QSuper

Pre-baby, I bought the shoes, had all the dinners, gym memberships and never batted an eyelid.

Those were the days.

That was all until I got pregnant and my husband and I started doing the maths around parental leave and our new baby-on-board budget. Don’t even get me started on how someone so small can cost so much!

With a new addition (or additions) to your family, the money questions can feel pretty epic. How am I going to provide for myself and my kids? How can I afford childcare? What about my insurance? And what do I do with my super?

There are so many things to consider when you’re getting your money in order for starting a family. To help other parents in that planning phase, I asked Mamamia‘s parenting community to share their tips about financially and emotionally preparing for life with a baby.

Pity it’s three years too late for me, but better late than never!

“I was able to take a full year’s leave at half pay.”

It’s worth checking whether your workplace offers any parental leave incentives. Bec’s did, so she took full advantage. “My workplace allows us to ‘buy’ leave so I did that for a couple of years beforehand. I was then able to take a full year’s leave at half pay. It was such a relief to not have to worry about money and just enjoy my baby.” Elizabeth suggests “seeing if you can cash out any annual or long service leave, or asking the bank if you can take a ‘mortgage break”. Her final tip? “Do a budget.”

“We lived on one wage.”

Clearly not everyone can do or wants to do this, but for Briony it worked.

“We lived on one wage once we were engaged,” she told us. “When the baby came, we were used to living modestly which reduced the stress of having to rush back to work.”

If you don’t have that option, consider doing what Bridie did: “We created a baby fund well in advance.”

Accurate depiction of what having a child is like. Image: Supplied.
ADVERTISEMENT

"Your baby doesn't need everything brand new."

When budgeting for baby, consider buying things second-hand, suggests Ruth. “Your baby doesn’t need everything brand new, because most things become redundant so quickly.”

Ursula agrees. “Get the basics as cheaply as possible and take donations from family and friends. You’ll have time to browse Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace for any extra items while you’re on leave.”

Ruth also encourages new parents to explore their neighbourhood for budget-friendly activities. “Libraries provide free singalong sessions and there are plenty of affordable playgroups around."

"Get out and talk to adults."

“Get support, help and advice when you need it,” encourages Brodie. “It doesn’t mean you’re failing as a parent, it just means you’re learning.”

Lisa advises new parents to stay social: “Make an effort to go to parent group meetings, catch up with friends or do something social, even once a week. It can seem too hard logistically and emotionally but it’s important to get out and talk to adults.”

Ursula agrees. “Definitely connect with someone who is in the same position with a child around the same age who’s also at home.”

The resounding advice from the Mamamia community? Don’t feel you have to do it alone. It’s better when you experience the first baby challenges together. Oh, and as Melissa says, “Housework can wait!”

Five helpful tips for how to plan for parental leave and beyond.

Adding a little human into the mix changes everything and focusing on your finances becomes more important than ever. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your parental leave.

Apply for Paid Parental Leave.

The Australian government provides paid parental leave at the national minimum wage for 18 weeks. To receive the maximum payment, you need to submit the claim within 34 weeks of your child’s birth or adoption, stating when you would like the paid parental leave period to start.

And yes, to state the obvious, check whether your employer offers any paid parental leave. It's also helpful to see if your employer pays superannuation while you're on parental leave. Many employers are starting to offer this, including government departments.

Apply for the Family Tax Benefit.

You may also be eligible to apply for the Family Tax Benefit from Centrelink. A means test can help determine your eligibility.

parental leave
And they told me this parenting thing was all fun and games! Image: Getty.
ADVERTISEMENT

Make a will.

It’s vital to make sure your will is up-to-date in case something happens to you. You don’t need to know the name of your baby to list them as a beneficiary in your will. Failure to update your will could mean your estate is divided in a way that doesn’t accurately reflect your wishes.

Find your lost super.

According to the Australian Tax Office (ATO), Australians have $17.5 billion in lost super held by the ATO. Yep, that's some hard-earned cash that could make our lives a lot easier down the track.

It’s not difficult to find your lost super – you can do it via your myGov account. Otherwise, ask your super fund to help. QSuper, for example, helped more than 31,900 members consolidate an average of $31,000 in 2018, which means they could have paid less fees and have more to invest in their future.

Get on top of your insurance.

One of the great characteristics of a good super fund is the insurance benefits available to eligible members. But you may not know what happens to these features if you take time out to have a baby, so do your research.

It’s important to make sure you have life insurance cover through your superannuation fund. Check the amount of cover and make sure it’s enough - it will give you peace of mind that your baby will be looked after, no matter what.

Also check what happens to any income protection cover while you’re not working.

If you're not sure about what insurance you need now that you've got a little one, try QSuper’s Insurance Needs Calculator to help you work out exactly what cover you need to maintain while you're on parental leave, or afterwards if you plan to return to work. The idea is that it should be flexible and tailored to your situation.

Bringing a baby into the world is no small feat, but knowing there's support out there can make the financial side of parenting much simpler to navigate.

What's the best tip you've had about financially preparing for a baby?

This content was brought to you with thanks to our brand partner, QSuper.

Disclaimer: This is general information only, using sources that we believe are reliable and accurate at the time of publication. The QSuper products are issued by the QSuper Board (ABN 32 125 059 006, AFSL 489650) as trustee for QSuper (ABN 60 905 115 063). Consider whether the product is right for you by reading the product disclosure statement (PDS) available from our website or by calling us on 1300 360 750. © QSuper Board 2019
QSuper

QSuper is different in a positive way.
With QSuper, members feel confident with the Fund they can trust, that exists to maximise profit for our members – not shareholders.
We’re here to help grow your super.
Which supports your future financial freedom.
So that you can confidently get on with life as it happens.

Light blue and pink butterfly illustration. You click, we help. Shooting star illustration.

Mamamia is funding 100 girls in school, every day.

So just by spending time with Mamamia, you’re helping educate girls, which is the best tool to lift them out of poverty.

Thanks for helping!

Light blue and pink butterfly illustration. Girl with pigtails sitting at desk writing in notebook. Row of four books.
Three hands holding books
00:00 / ???