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By Angela Saurine
Angela Saurine is a freelance writer, copywriter and editor based in Sydney, Australia who specialises in travel, lifestyle and social issues.”
Learning I was pregnant unexpectedly at nearly 40 years of age has been, it’s fair to say, a shock. After years spending my disposable income on travel, clothes, and going out for nice meals with friends, I would soon have another little human being to add to the equation. So focusing on my finances has now become more important than ever.
When I found out I was pregnant, I met with a financial advisor to get some tips on how to better manage my money, and the advice he gave me was invaluable. These are some of the top things I’ve done to get financially ready to become a parent.
This is such a simple, easy thing to do, but it can make the world of difference. All I had to do was check if I had life insurance cover through my superannuation fund, check the amount of cover and ensure it was enough.
It gave me peace of mind that if anything were to happen to me, my little one would be looked after. I also made sure I put a binding death benefit nomination in place, stipulating that my super and my life insurance would go to my estate.
The Australian government provides paid parental leave at the national minimum wage, which is about $695 per week before tax, for 18 weeks. This amounts to about $12,510 over the period. It’s not a huge amount, but as I am self-employed, it is a help.
All I had to do was create a myGov account online, and a Centrelink online account, link the two, and fill out the form to request paid parental leave. Fortunately, I already had a Centrelink customer reference number, so this made the process a bit easier.
To receive the maximum amount of parental leave pay, you need to submit the claim within 34 weeks of your child’s birth or adoption, stating when you would like the paid parental leave period to start. The start date isn’t the date the payment starts; it’s the start of your entitlement period. I nominated for my claim to start from my baby’s due date.
All I need to do now is provide proof of my baby’s birth within 28 days. Hopefully I am not too sleep deprived to manage that!
At the same time as I applied for paid parental leave, I also applied for the Family Tax Benefit (FTB) from Centrelink. This equates to a maximum of $182.84 per fortnight until the child is 12 years old, up to a maximum of $5,504 per year.
I’ll admit forking out several hundred dollars to a solicitor to make a new will hurt, but for me, I knew how important it was to do this before my baby came into the world.
If I hadn’t, and something happened to me, my estate could be divided according to a government formula that doesn’t necessarily reflect my wishes. In the worst-case scenario, it could even go to the state government.
As I soon learned, it doesn’t matter if you don’t know the name of your unborn baby yet – you can just leave your estate to your children. Then if you have more down the track, you don’t have to change your will.
It may sound like an unusual thing to do to prepare for a baby, but I decided to go on a little spending spree in the Boxing Day sales to buy a few things for myself while I still could. After bub arrives, I plan to devote my resources to him and live as frugally as I can, so it’s nice to know I have everything I need for me already.
The views of the author are not necessarily the views of the QSuper Board. This information is general information only and you should get professional advice before relying on this information. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Each of our investment options has a different objective, risk profile, and asset allocation. Visit our website at qsuper.qld.gov.au to find out more.
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