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I have recently returned to FMB following seven month’s maternity leave. Although I am glad to be returning, albeit on a part time basis, a recent survey of mothers carried out by the netmums website showed that 7 out of 10 mums would rather stay at home with their children than go back to work. With increasing numbers of stay at home dads also, many couples are faced with the decision of whether or not they can afford to take this step.

For many, this simply just isn’t possible from a financial point of view. A recent uSwitch survey showed that around 3 out of 10 new mums end up in debt as a result of taking maternity leave, whilst more than 1 in 10 have to cut their maternity leave short due to financial pressures.

I would recommend drawing up a budget planner, which is basically a list of all essential expenditure such as your mortgage or rent, household expenses, utility bills etc. Don’t forget that many of the expenses you would incur as a working parent could be saved on – for example; commuting to and from work, buying work clothes and eating lunches out.

You then need to consider the cost of childcare. The average cost of a nursery place in the UK for a child under the age of two costs £4.26 per hour*. You may find that staying at home becomes financially more attractive once you factor this in. Other considerations are working tax credits and child benefit (this can be lost if you earn over a certain amount).

At FMB, we use cash flow modelling software which is specially designed to answer questions such as:-

"Could I afford to return to work part time, or even give up work altogether?"

We can also advise on ways to retain child benefit payments, such as salary sacrifice schemes which can provide child care vouchers or putting part of your salary into a pension plan.

If you are expecting and would like to talk to us about your financial matters, please give us a call.

* Daycare Trust and Family and Parenting Institute Childcare Costs Survey 2013

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