Starting a family
They’re likely to be turned on their head! As well as a seemingly endless list of things to buy for the baby, you may also need to pay for childcare, take out life insurance, buy a bigger car etc. You may also find your income shrinks if you decide to take time off work to look after your children. To get an idea of how your finances might change, draw up a budget of how your future income and spending might look.
If you work you can take up to 52 weeks' maternity leave regardless of how long you’ve worked for your employer. Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is available if you’ve worked for your employer continuously for at least 26 weeks and is paid for up to 39 weeks. Your employer may offer more.
If you don't qualify for SMP you may be able to claim Maternity Allowance. New fathers may also be entitled to Statutory Paternity Pay if they take two weeks off work when their baby arrives. To find out more visit Gov.uk.
Child Benefit is probably the best known state benefit for families. If you’re on a low income you may be entitled to Working Tax Credit which may include help towards your childcare costs and you may also qualify for Child Tax Credit. This is gradually being replaced by Universal Credit. There are also disability allowances for children.
Your employer may help with the cost of childcare either by providing care, paying some of your costs or offering childcare vouchers which have tax advantages.