Planning for your financial future as a new mum
Organising your finances, from protection to pensions, is important when you become a parent, but it can seem a daunting addition to your to-do list. Support from an adviser can really help.
Being a new mum is exhausting. Of course, you were prepared for sleepless nights, colic and 3am nappy changes, but you probably didn’t expect you would need a degree in civil engineering to collapse your buggy, squeeze it into the car, then get it back up again.
Nor could you have ever anticipated the huge sense of achievement you feel when you’ve managed to have a shower and wash your hair before you leave the house.
The effort required is enormous, and it’s hardly surprising that many women feel as if they are having a break when they go back to work.
Life does get easier as babies grow and nights become uninterrupted once more, but I’m not sure a mother’s mental load ever goes away. Her concerns about choosing the best nursery give way to finding costumes for school dress-up days, homework battles and keeping the fridge stocked, without letting the house turn to rack and ruin or neglecting their day job in the process.
It was a point very neatly highlighted during the peak of the pandemic, when mums across the UK had to add ‘teacher’ to their job description, too.
And it’s more often than not the mums who pick up the extra work. A recent report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies found that where women earned less than men, they did double the amount of housework during the pandemic and 41% more childcare. Even where they earned more than their partner, they still did 6% more housework and 22% more childcare1.
These statistics show us, as financial advisers, that the financial value of a mum goes so much further than her take-home pay, and it’s why we’re increasingly talking to families about Life Insurance, Income Protection Insurance and Critical Illness Cover.
Protection isn’t just about covering the higher earner to ensure the mortgage and bills get paid if disaster strikes. It’s about protecting the financial contribution mothers make too, with all of their unpaid work.
Think about what would happen if illness or worse meant that you weren’t able not just to work but also run the house and get the kids to and from school, as well as extracurricular activities. A well-set-up package of protection will at least mean that money is one less thing to worry about and help can be arranged if needed.
Protection aside, I’m also a big fan of talking to mums about their retirement planning.
Financially, becoming a new mum will make it increasingly tricky to balance the needs of your new family against your own over the long-term. And it’s a harsh reality that having a child will bring with it a raft of new expenses, and have an impact on the amount of money you can save into an ISA or pension – whether you stay at home or work full time.
Pay equality is, of course, improving, but the gender pay gap does increase from age 40 as more women take career breaks or opt to work part time2. By the same token, the Institute for Fiscal Studies says that by the time a woman’s first child reaches age 20, she is likely to have spent 10 years less in full-time paid work than her male colleagues3.
Figures such as these may not make you feel terribly optimistic about your financial future. However, recognition and acknowledgement of these challenges can be the biggest step in overcoming them and getting your savings back on track.
The irony of raising matters such as protection, savings and retirement planning for mums in a piece that started off talking about mental load isn’t lost on me. However, this is where advice can really help.
Talking to an adviser doesn’t mean being told what to do or losing control of your cash. It’s about getting a helping hand and putting a plan in place that works for you and your family to both help improve and protect your financial future. It’s also about better understanding your appetite for risk following a change in circumstance. And, done well and with the right adviser, it’s one less thing on that ever-growing to-do list.
For pension advice and help planning for your family’s future, talk to a St. James’s Place Partner.
The value of an investment with St. James's Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds you select and the value can therefore go down as well as up. You may get back less than you invested.
1 Institute for Fiscal Studies, IFS Deaton Review of Inequalities report, 2021 2 Office for National Statistics, Gender Pay Gap in the UK: 2020 3 Institute for Fiscal Studies, Wage Progression and the Gender Wage Gap: the Causal Impact of Hours of Work, 2018