Monday, 17 June 2019

Financial to-do list for stay-at-home mums

Haters love to hate. And there’s nothing parent-bashers love more than hating on us mums and our ‘back to work’ choices.

Return full-time and we’re criticised for abandoning our kids. Quit the workforce and we’re doing a disservice to the generations of women that led the way.

But the truth is, whatever choice you make (and there's no right or wrong as far as we’re concerned), your family is going to take a financial hit. You’ll either be shelling out for stupidly expensive childcare costs (did you know childcare costs in the UK are among the highest in the world?) or your household income will drop massively.

If you take the stay-at-home-parent route and stop earning a salary, you may think there’s not much you can or need to do to improve your financial situation other than budget, cut back on luxuries and become a savvy shopper.

These are all sensible and reasonable suggestions, but there are other things you can and should be doing.

The first thing ALL stay-at-home parents should do is fill out a child benefit form – even if you don’t qualify. 

This rule is pretty absurd but basically just by filling in the form you get National Insurance credits towards your state pension (if you work, you’re already building up your 
National Insurance record).

You need to have 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.

So, if you aren't working and don't keep up your 
National Insurance contributions, you'll miss out on around £250 a year from the Government when you retire. 

Fill in the child benefit form here and make sure you, the non-worker claims, not your partner. 

Check whether you qualify for child benefit here

The next thing you can do is make use of the Marriage Tax Allowance. This is a tax break for married couples or civil partners that lets the none (or lower) earner transfer £1,250 of their personal allowance (the amount you earn before you pay any income tax) to their tax-paying partner.

This will mean the higher earner pays less tax and saves £250 a year.

You can apply for the marriage allowance here

The last tip is to continue saving into your pension either from the household income or from any other income you receive. 

There are still tax incentives to saving into a pension for non-workers: a contribution of £2,880 will get topped up to £3,600 by the government.  


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