SOURCE: Women & Co.

Women & Co.

December 08, 2011 15:36 ET

Motherhood and Money: How Baby Changes Everything

New National Survey Shows Parenthood Propels Moms to Take an Even Greater Role in Family Finances; Moms' Financial Habits Change and Priorities Shift; Strategies for Saving More, Spending Less and Planning for the Future

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Dec 8, 2011) - A new nationwide survey issued by Citibank's Women & Co. reveals that money is top of mind for U.S. mothers, following only parenting as the top topics that they think about daily. In fact, among their myriad of parenting responsibilities, 6 in 10 moms are making most of the day-to-day money decisions in the family and another 3 in 10 share decisions equally with their spouse.

The study, conducted by BabyCenter, also finds that after having children, moms' role grew across all financial responsibilities, notably: deciding on new financial products/accounts for the family (18 percentage point increase post-baby), budgeting (16 percentage points), spending (15 percentage points), managing savings (15 percentage points) and long-term financial planning (13 percentage points).

For the last 11 years, Citibank's Women & Co., a leading provider of financial insights and resources for women, has provided a variety of solutions to both simplify and enrich moms' lives. "As every parent knows, having a baby changes everything -- and finances are not an exception," says Linda Descano, CFA®, President and CEO of Women & Co. "The life change of a baby brings about new and substantial financial needs and questions. After having children, moms are increasingly taking charge of not just day-to-day spending, but also the longer-term planning of the financial future of their family."

Having a baby prompted moms to spend less on themselves (72 percent); use deals, coupons and offers more often (68 percent); reconsider spending (64 percent); talk more about money with spouse/partner (49 percent); and save more for the future (43 percent). Also, their top financial priorities post-baby shifted from paying down debt and planning for retirement to lowering expenses and saving for college. Savings remained a top priority before and after baby.

American moms are seeking money-saving ideas (59%), education savings/planning solutions (44%) and longer-term financial planning (44%) among other financial advice to help better manage their finances. When asked "what is the one piece of money/financial advice for expecting or new moms," the replies overwhelmingly focused on saving money.

To help moms save more, spend less, and plan for the future, Linda offers the following strategies:

1. Take a snapshot. Saving requires you to analyze, plan, organize and evaluate. But first, you should know the current state of your finances. Understand what you have and what you spend.

2. Set short and long-term goals. View your savings needs as long-term (e.g., retirement and college savings) and short-term (e.g., home repairs) so you can better decide how to allocate your money. Define where you want your family to be in 1 year, 5 years, and even 20 years so you can align your savings with your goals.

3. Make a "savings sacrifice." Track your expenses for an entire month, then evaluate where your money is going. Recalibrate what you've come to view as a "must-have" versus a "nice-to-have."

4. Save something every month and build an "emergency" fund. Automatically put a set amount -- no amount is too small -- of every paycheck in your savings account. Aim to accumulate enough cash to cover 6 months of living expenses at a minimum, and set that aside for a bona fide household emergency. If you already have an "emergency" fund, it can't hurt to keep adding to it, especially during a time of economic uncertainty.

5. Start saving for college early. Having your child put his/her birthday money into a college savings plan may seem like a drop in the bucket when you look at the average cost of college, but over a long time horizon, it can make a difference. Consider making regular contributions (even if they are small) to a college savings vehicle, as well as asking other family members to contribute.

6. Stay on an investment diet. Just as eating a wide variety of foods is necessary for sustaining a healthy body, selecting an assortment of investments can help you maintain a sound investment portfolio. Rebalance your 401(k), IRA, and any other investment accounts you have on a regular basis to keep it in sync with your goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon.

7. Join the conversation. According to the survey, 43% of moms seek other moms and how they address their own financial issues and two-thirds of mothers feel helpful when sharing money advice and tips with other moms. Consider joining groups such as Women & Co. to access current financial thinking and a community of like-minded women.

For more help on financial planning, check out the worksheet Set and Achieve Your Financial Goals and the video Tips for a Lifetime of Financial Strength on womenandco.com. Also, visit Women & Co.'s award-winning blog, Insights and Outlooks.

Women & Co., a service of Citibank, is the go-to source online for what women want to know about personal finance. Sign up for free at www.womenandco.com

To schedule an interview with Linda Descano, CFA®, of Women & Co., please contact Tami McCarthy at 212.750.5755 or tami@tmgpr.com or Andrew Brent at 212.559.1299 or andrew.brent@citi.com.

Survey Methodology
BabyCenter recruited U.S. moms from the BabyCenter 21st Century Mom™ Panel age 18+ with at least one child. A total of 512 respondents answered a primarily closed-ended online survey, fielded between October 25 and November 11.

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