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5 money tips if you’re expecting a baby

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We’re guessing Meghan Markle, who welcomed a daughter this week, won’t be fretting about maternity pay or new mum benefits, but if you’re about to have a baby, here are a few things you should consider.

Find out how much maternity/paternity pay you will get

As long as you’ve been working for your company for 26 weeks before you give birth and earn at least £120 a week, you’ll qualify for statutory maternity pay (SMP). You won’t get your whole salary though. Your company only has to pay 90% of your average weekly earnings (before tax) for the first six weeks, followed by 33 weeks of £151.97or 90% of your average weekly earnings, whichever is lower.

The statutory weekly rate for paternity pay, or shared parental leave, is £151.97, or 90% of your average weekly earnings, whichever is lower.

Some more generous employers may add a little on top – you’ll need to contact your HR department to find the exact details or check your contract.

Claim maternity allowance

If you’re self employed or don’t qualify for statutory maternity pay, you can apply for maternity allowance from the government. Depending on how much you earn, you’ll get either £151.97 per week or 90% of your average weekly earnings (whichever is less) for up to 39 weeks and then £27 per week for up to 14 weeks.

Protect your state pension

If you decide to leave the workforce or take an extended break, make sure get your full state pension when you retire by registering for child benefit. Fill out the form even if you don’t qualify for the benefit because doing so protects your National Insurance credits. You need to have made at least 35 years of National Insurance contributions to get the full state pension when you retire, and between 10 and 35 to get a portion of it.

Make a will

This is crucially important, particularly if you are not married. If you have a baby, particularly if you give up work, you need to make sure your partner’s life insurance, share of the house and any death in service benefit would come to you if they die. Making a will is straightforward, not usually expensive (c. £150) and vitally important in ensuring your child is properly protected.

Find out what benefits you’re entitled to

If your baby is the only child under 16 in your family and you or your partner are on certain benefits (for example, universal credit, income support or jobseeker’s allowance), you may be entitled to a one-off £500 payment under the Sure Start Maternity Grant. There are also other benefits available, such as free dental care.



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