I’m not into Mother’s Day or Mothering Sunday. Perhaps I’m just trying to make excuses for junior who ‘might’ make me a card but there’s zero chance of flowers/chocolates etc. But I think the occasion does remind us of the value of mothers – and indeed, the huge cost of replacing us. Like most mothers, my duties include taxi driver, cook, cleaner, tutor and counsellor. That would take a lot of money to replace.
And while, thankfully, we’ve moved on a bit since the 1950s lots of women are still financially dependent on their male partners. Here are five financial things every mother should have: much more useful than a bunch of daffodils or a box of cheap chocolates.
1. Pension. Even if you aren’t working, you can have a pension. You can put up to £2,880 a year into a pension and thanks to tax relief this will be boosted to £3,600. The best kind of personal pension you can get is a Sipp (self-invested personal pension): these are cheap and you get to choose where to put your money – see our pension guides for more information. The downside of a pension is that you can’t get at the money until you are 55. But that’s also an advantage as you won’t be able to dip into it and therefore will have more chance of building up a nest egg.
2. Savings account. Not the account you hold in joint names with your partner and use for paying household bills but an account of your own. Get a good, easy access savings account (we like Marcus paying 1.5%) and run it online. You can use it to build up your own nest egg or save towards treats for yourself. Or you could have a cash Isa – try Yorkshire Building Society, 1.46% - but remember you can’t put more than £20,000 in an Isa per tax year and if you’ve got an investment Isa, then that counts towards the limit too.
3. Life insurance. This is essential: see our guide. There are lots of variations of life insurance – you can get policies which would pay your family an income rather than a lump sum if you die. Or there are policies which include critical illness cover that would pay out if you were diagnosed with a life-limiting condition. The cost of life cover depend on how old you are, how long you want the policy term to last and your lifestyle (you’ll pay more if you are smoker or are obese, for example). But if you are youngish then it is cheap: you can get £100,000 of cover for less than a tenner a month if you’re in your thirties.
4. A good credit card. If you don’t need to borrow on a card (advisable) then you want a credit card which gives you benefits for spending – cashback or vouchers typically. You must make sure you clear your balance in full every month otherwise the benefits are pointless. If you have an outstanding credit card debt, then you could take out a 0% balance transfer card and use that 0% period to clear your debt. Currently, the best card with benefits is probably from Amex and the longest 0% balance transfer card is from Barclaycard.
5. A sensible current account. What this will be depends on so many factors: do you need a low overdraft rate? Do you want interest on your credit balance? Are you happy to bank online only? Would you pay a monthly fee for an account? Decide what fits you – and if you can get an account better than your existing deal, then switch over. Do remember about other factors: for example, First Direct always seems to do well in customer satisfaction surveys while at the other extreme we’ve all seen the reports about the computer problems at TSB...
For credit cards, life insurance, savings and current accounts remember to check out comparison sites comparethemarket*, confused.com, Moneysupermarket* and uSwitch* and also look at cashback sites Quidco* and Topcashback*. For pensions and Isas, take a look at Fidelity here.