Is Debt a Sensible Way to Tide Parents Over?

By: Andrew Regan

The extortionate cost of having a baby has been revealed in a new survey. In fact, so severe is the cost that MoneyExpert, the price comparison service which conducted the study, has urged consumers to search out the best loan deals in order to finance any new addition to the family.

The research shows that on average, parents of children under the age of 18 accrue ?1,140 worth of debt in the first year after having a child, and as a result many resort to borrowing. However, Sean Gardner, chief executive of MoneyExpert, is sympathetic and insists that taking out a loan is often the most practical way for parents to navigate this fiscally tight period.

"For most of us, worries about money go out of the window with the joy of having a baby," he said.

"It's hard enough coping with the sleepless nights and new responsibilities without thinking about budgets. But financially, a new baby can cause havoc because of the combined burden of extra costs and reduced income.

"If money is already tight, it's no wonder that so many families have had to turn to borrowing to make ends meet. There are obviously increased costs so debt is often a sensible way to tide you over."

Although the average debt for parents is ?1,140, a significant seven per cent will rack up debts in excess of ?2,500 in the first year after their baby's birth, while one in 50 will owe over ?7,000 by the time 12 months are up.

In all, 40 per cent of parents go into the red at some stage or another during this difficult time - suggesting that if their newborn doesn't keep them awake, their financial precariousness will.

To make matters worse, the earnings of 39 per cent of couples are adversely hit in the year after their child's birth as one of them is forced to do either reduced hours at work or give up their job altogether as they take on childcare responsibilities.

While 28 per cent move to cover this financial shortfall by asking their families to bail them out, one in five (22 per cent) use a credit card and ten per cent take out a personal bank loan.

Mr Gardner concluded by stressing that "the most important thing under those circumstances is that you choose the most appropriate form of borrowing for you", which suggests that consumers should take care to shop around to find the best available product.

Debt, Loans & Business Cashflow
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