Not Returning to Work

by Maxine
Posted September 5 2011 01:49pm
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When parents make the decision not to return to work after having their baby, they are often met with critical comments and questions from friends or family. Men, in particular, might find their decision to be a stay-at-home parent criticized. But with more and more men choosing to take parental leave, and even stay at home with the kids longer than the initial year, that’s beginning to change.

What influences parents to make the decision not to return to work? According to our experts it can be for a number of reasons, but the most common are:

  • Financial security
  • Belief that a parent at home benefits the baby
  • Less stress at home than at work
  • Support from your partner in this decision
  • Comfort and security in being an "at home" parent

Having only one parent working can be tough economically, especially if you were bringing in two incomes before the baby. The baby brings an added expense and during a maternity or paternity leave the stay-at-home parent will often be bringing in less than half of their previous salary. If that parent chooses to stay home after the one-year Canadian parents receive maternity leave benefits your income will shrink even more.

It’s important that parents discuss the financial realities that having one parent stay home brings. Talk to your partner about what you would like to do and then work together to create a budget. Be realistic about how much income you will be bringing in and how much you need to live comfortably. Maybe one parent will work full-time and the other will work part-time, or maybe you can afford to have a stay-at-home parent if you trim your spending on extras. Look at the numbers together and talk it through.

Once you have made your decision be confident and support each other. This transition can be a difficult one, especially at first, so be sure to communicate and keep talking throughout.

All families should review their budget regularly to make sure that their financial situation is working, but it is especially important as you transition to having one stay-at-home parent. You want to ensure that your original budget was realistic and to make any needed changes.

In some communities there is a lack of social support for parents who choose not to return to work, but if there are programs in your area be sure to take advantage of them.

Did you decide to stay home after having your baby? How did you manage the change in income? What advice would you give to others considering this option? Share your experience in the comments below!

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Returning to Work Early

by Maxine
Posted September 5 2011 02:20pm
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In Canada, one parent can take up to one year in paid maternity leave, but sometimes parents decide to return to work earlier than planned. Sometimes things don’t work out quite the way you planned them and if the drop in income that comes with being on maternity leave is too much for the family to manage or if circumstances change unexpectedly, parents can find themselves making the decision to return early.

This sometimes leads to feelings of guilt and fear. They fear that they may not be able to make it financially. The guilt comes from leaving their baby while he's still so young.Parents return to work early for many reasons. Our experts have created this list of the most common reasons:

  • Financial stress and a need for the additional income
  • Feeling of isolation and/or lack of fulfillment
  • Struggle with the monotony that being at home can produce
  • Longing for the contact with other people
  • Need for the stimulation that work can provide

When you are struggling with this decision it’s a good idea to monitor your budget and expenditures more than ever. Cutting your expenses by just $50 a week can save you $2500 over a year. This may give you the relief you need, allowing you to stay home with your baby.

Once you’ve made the decision to return to work you should plan for your childcare arrangements as early as possible and have backup plans. Quality care is very important to your child's development and it is not always easy to find. Some cities have long waiting lists, so be sure to look into this well in advance, if possible.

It can be hard not to feel guilty about leaving your baby to return to work, but remember that this is a decision many parents make and with high quality childcare arrangements, your baby will be able to grow and develop just fine.

And there might also be an opportunity to transition slowly back to work. Your employer may support your slow entry back into the workplace, starting with part time at first leading to full time. Discuss the options and see if you can find a solution that works for both of you.

Did you take your full maternity leave or did you return to work early? What factors contributed to your decision? How did you feel about it? Leave a comment and share your story with parents just like you!

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Q & A on RESPs

by Maxine
Posted July 31 2010 10:49am
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For many parents the last thing they are thinking about when they gaze at their newborn is the cost of raising this baby. Thinking about this baby going off to college or university is far from their minds. Yet, planning while your baby is young can result in significant savings. Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs) can help. The Government of Canada allows savings in these accounts to accumulate tax free until your child enters post-secondary education. The government also helps with special incentives such as the Canadian Education Savings Grant and the Canada Learning Bond. An RESP is one way that you can save for your baby’s future school costs.

The following is a series of Q & A’s about RESPs.

  1. What is an RESP?
  2. Why do you need an RESP for your child(ren)?
  3. What do I need to open an RESP for my child(ren)?
  4. How do RESPs work?
  5. How to Choose a Broker
  6. Can I open an RESP for a teenager/older child?
  7. How much will the Government contribute to my child’s future?
  8. What happens when my child is ready to use their RESP?
  9. Checklist before opening an RESP
  10. Top 10 Reasons to open an RESP

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Returning to Work Later

by Maxine
Posted September 5 2011 02:23pm
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The decision's been made—one or maybe both of you will return to work later than planned. Some parents are totally unprepared for just how protective and deeply attached they become to their baby. Others discover deep fears about leaving their baby with non-family caregivers. Many parents experience a huge shift in their priorities once the baby is born, compared to their plans when they were expecting their baby.

What can influence one or both of you to return to work later than planned? Our experts have created a list of some of the common reasons that parents choose to stay home longer:

  • Time spent at home wasn't as bad as you thought it would be
  • Time with your baby flew by
  • Financial security
  • Discovering that spending more time at home may be good for both you and your baby
  • Childcare arrangements aren't working out or there is some concern about the quality of your child's care
  • High expense of infant care, which leads to the decision to wait until your baby is a toddler, when cost will be considerably lower

When you are considering staying home longer, sit down together and discuss the changes you’d like to make and develop a revised plan together.

Be sure to notify your employer as soon as possible. Your decision will influence their human resources and budget issues, such as the arrangements to keep or find another substitute for you. Have a plan in place if your employer pushes back and does not want you to extend your leave. Know how you want to handle this before you talk to them.

You should also talk to any childcare providers you may have lined up and negotiate with them about delaying your baby’s entry into their care. You want to ensure that when and if you make the decision to return to work you have quality childcare lined up.

Did you extend your maternity or paternity leave? How did your employer handle the request? What advice would you give to other parents in this situation? Leave a comment below and share your experience!

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