Top 3 ways to boost your post-baby finances!

My wife and I recently had our first child. This led me to research government support schemes along with other ways of boosting our finances. I wanted to share my top tips with you:

1. Tax-Free Childcare

£2 government top up for every £8 added to childcare account up to £500 top up every 3 months (per child)
Durationfor children up to 11yrs old
Eligibility– both you and your partner need to be working
– not usually eligible if you or your partner earn over £100k
Notes– you need to be going back to work from maternity leave within the next 31 days to apply(to maximise the benefit may make sense to start contributing before child starts at nursery)
– check with your nursery that they accept vouchers
– can be used alongside 30hrs free for 3/4yr olds
– you cannot get Tax-Free Childcare at the same time as claiming Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Universal Credit or childcare vouchers.
Full details

2. Savings account for the baby

Our son has been given a small amount of money and I am keen to invest this wisely on his behalf! I have looked at various options and have decided that as he is not going to need the money for a number of years to invest it in a junior stocks and shares ISA (JISA). Although there is risk that the value of any investment may fall from my research on average over time stocks and shares tend to perform better than savings held in a bank. As the JISA rules only allow access to the money when our son reaches 18 yrs there will be plenty of time for any investments to grow.

As I already have investments through Interactive Investor it makes most sense for me to use my account to open a JISA for our son at no extra cost. For anyone just opening a JISA there may be other options without a monthly charge.

Key benefits which I have found of using interactive investor:

  • £11.99 monthly cost gives access to ISA, Junior ISA and Trading Accounts
  • lots of tools to give investment ideas
  • ability to invest in over 40,000 different shares and over 3,000 funds
  • user friendly platform, can even track investments through a mobile App
  • ability to nominate 2 friends/family for free membership

3. Child Benefit

Amount Available£21.05/week for first child
£13.95/week for additional children
Durationfrom birth until 16 yrs or 20yrs if they remain in eduction
Eligibility have to complete a self assessment tax return if you or your partner earns more than £50k/yr to repay some of the money and lose all the benefit after earning £60k/yr
Notes– paid every 4 weeks
– payments can only be backdated for up to 3 months
– if you earn over the threshold its good to fill in application form as it will result in your baby getting a National Insurance number, you can tick a box on the form to not receive the benefit so that you don’t need to repay anything
Full details

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