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Parenting

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Parenting is a long-term commitment and you need careful financial planning to meet your child’s healthcare, welfare, education and recreational needs.

Planning for Parenthood
Brace yourself. You will be spending much more than expected to buy things you never even thought of. Start planning financially for having a baby as soon as you can – before conception if possible.

Set aside as much as you can every month in a savings account. The actual event of birth can be expensive as well as all the first-time purchases you will make. Don't forget to save some money for your maternity or paternity leave. Some of this leave may be unpaid.

How much do you need? As much as you can save. Any funds left over make a great starter for a college fund. If you have amassed a considerable amount well before the due date, you may allocate some of your fund for investment in lower-risk financial products. But do not tie up your entire fund in investments, as some of the money should be immediately accessible to meet emergency needs.

Have a brainstorming session with an experienced parent to figure out all the things you need to purchase before the delivery. It will be extremely helpful to have most of what you need before the baby is born. Your spare shopping time after birth is reduced drastically. If you need to shop after the baby is born, try the Internet. Nobody on the Internet cares how loud your baby is crying, what you are wearing or what time it is when your baby gives you a free moment to shop.

Here is a starter list for your brainstorming session. This is far from a complete list, but it will help get you thinking.

  • Crib – You want one that meets the highest safety standards.
  • Bassinet – One with wheels will add to your mobility around the house.
  • Stroller – Consider getting one that is part of a stroller/car seat combo. It makes transitions easier.
  • Baby Monitor – A device to allow you to listen to your baby remotely. Some offer video options.
  • Safety Gate – Keep your newly mobile child away from staircases and other hazards.

Maternity and Paternity Leave
Under Hong Kong law, female employees are entitled to 10 weeks of paid maternity leave for giving birth, if they had been employed continuously for more than 40 weeks before their maternity leave. For mothers who do not meet the 40-week threshold, they will be entitled to 10 weeks of unpaid maternity leave.

If you are a father, ask your employer about paternity leave. Some employers are offering the same or similar benefits to their male employees.

Plan monetarily if you intend to take leave from work to care for your newborn child for a longer time than the standard arrangements. You may be able to save up compensation leave or vacation time to continue receiving income for several weeks. But most likely, you will lose some income if you take extended maternity or paternity leave on an unpaid basis and in some cases, you may have to give up your position.

Source: Labour Department