SafeMotherhood
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THE REST OF YOUR LIFE

Your money

Three to six months after a baby is born is often when reality begins to bite financially. Your state maternity pay will have finished, your employer's maternity pay (unless they are exceptionally generous) will not tend to continue beyond six months, and as well as the drop in income, you will probably have had a lot of expenses around the birth.

Additionally, this is often when you realise that providing all the experience and security you want to offer your child is going to take some planning.

"We were never very organised with money, but having a baby changed that. When we started to adapt to our new life as parents, it suddenly struck us how much we had to do to protect Charlie financially. One of the first things we did was to make a will, so that if anything happened to us it was clear who would look after him. We also took out life assurance so there would always be money to ensure he would not be trapped in poverty if one of us died." Claire, first-time mum.

Here are some points to consider:

• Making a will is not expensive and will ensure that in the event of a tragedy your child is taken care of according to your wishes. Discuss your ideas carefully with anyone you want to act as guardian, and be sure that they are likely to be around to see your child grow up (for this reason your own parents may not be the best choice).

• Life assurance means that if something happens to one of you, the surviving partner will have the wherewithal to pay the bills, stay in the same home, or employ a carer if necessary to look after your child while he or she continues to work. Consider carefully how much life assurance you will need - it is not expensive and it is better to have too much than too little.

• Permanent health insurance or critical illness insurance pays you an income or lump sum if you are unable to work through ill health. Since statistics show that you are much more likely to be off work long-term sick than to die, it is a form of protection that you should consider for your family.

• If you want to save towards your child's education, think about it now so you will have as long as possible for your investment to grow. "We read that college fees could cost up to £40,000 per child in 18 years time, so we are saving our child benefit in an ISA each month", says Helen, mum to seven-month-old Thomas.

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