Birth to two years is most financially stressful time for parents

Article date: 23 January 2013

  • Money worries mean giving up luxuries and saving for the future
  • Having children prompts people to address their personal debts
  • Pester power rears its head as children reach 11 to 15 years of age

A new study from Aviva pinpoints birth to two years as the most financially stressful time for parents.

The latest Family Finances Report launched today shows that parents are more likely to feel under financial pressure when their children are aged under two than at any other time. Mums and dads of under-twos are most likely to:

  • worry about their income and finances (56%)
  • argue about money with their partner / family (22%)
  • borrow money from their family (19%)
  • see an increase in their household debts (19%).

Families with two-year-olds are also most likely to cut back on certain luxuries including holidays (60%) and takeaways (65%) to help stretch the household budget, while four in ten (38%) switch to cheaper supermarkets or brands.

More worryingly 27% of parents of under twos admit they’ve stopped saving as a result of having a family, while 32% have dipped into savings in order to make ends meet.

New parents resolve to get to grip with finances
On a more positive note, mums and dads with very young children are most likely to be  trying to get to grips with their finances. Around one in three people with children aged one (29%) say having children has motivated them to try to tackle their debts. This desire falls steadily as children grow, with just one in 10 saying the same when their offspring reach 21.

On top of this, those with two-year-olds are most likely to know exactly how much they spend on bills and essentials each month (26%) compared to an average of 19% across parents of all age groups.               

Young teens exert pressure to spend beyond means
Money tensions seem to ease as children grow and parents adjust. However, mums and dads are likely to see another spike when children are aged 11-15. The research shows that it’s between these ages that parents are most likely to feel under pressure to spend beyond their means. Most of the pester power comes from children themselves, with 44% of parents feeling coerced by their kids to spend. Parents of children in this age group are also most likely to feel pressure from their children’s friends (12%) and their schools (12%).

Louise Colley, head of protection sales and marketing for Aviva says: “It’s no surprise that having children has a huge financial impact on families, but it’s interesting to see how immediately the financial pressures are felt. Even before children are able to speak – and pester their parents for the latest must-haves – many mums and dads feel compelled to spend more than their budget allows.

“At Aviva we understand that the first year is hectic enough as people adjust to the joys of having a new baby – and the financial challenges that come with their new arrival! This is why we offer free life cover for all parents until their baby is one year old. So while we can’t help with the night feeds or the nappy changes, hopefully we can give new parents some peace of mind knowing that cover is in place.”

Aviva’s offer provides £10,000 of free life cover for each parent from the day they apply until their baby's first birthday (£20,000 if both parents apply). For multiple births the cover is available per child. The cover pays out £10,000 if a covered parent dies on or before their baby's first birthday. Parents can only take the plan out once the child has been born and before they are twelve months old.

To register for Aviva’s free life cover for new parents offer, customers should contact their financial adviser or call 0808 163 5666 or visit

Download the Family Finances Report January 2013 PDF (1.0MB)

- Ends -

If you are a journalist and would like further information, please contact:

Sarah Poulter : Aviva Press Office : 01904 452828 : 07800 691569 :

Lee Blackwell / Andy Lane: The Wriglesworth Consultancy : 020 7427 1400 :
Notes to editors:

The Aviva Family Finances report is an in-depth study into the financial needs of the 84% of the UK population who live as part of a modern family. Based on customer profiles and Government data Aviva has recognised the six most common types of modern family as:

  • Living in a committed relationship with no plans to have children
  • Living in a committed relationship with plans to have children
  • Living in a committed relationship with one child
  • Living in a committed relationship with two or more children
  • Divorced/separated/widowed with one or more child 
  • Single parent raising one or more child alone


Data was sourced from the Aviva Family Index which used findings from over 16,000 people who are members of one of the six groups of families identified above via OpinionMatters. This report is a definitive look at the personal finances of families in the UK. Not only does it look at personal wealth, income sources and expenditure patterns but also tracks how these change across the different types of family unit.

In addition to the regular data, in each edition a spotlight will be shone onto a different relevant topic. This issue has a focus on financial pressures for parents at different life stages.

About Aviva:
Aviva provides insurance, savings and investment products to 43 million customers worldwide.
We are the UK’s largest insurer with over 14 million customers and one of Europe’s leading providers of life and general insurance. We combine strong life insurance, general insurance and asset management businesses under one powerful brand. We are committed to serving our customers well in order to build a stronger, sustainable business, which makes a positive contribution to society, and for which our people are proud to work.
We are ranked as one of the UK’s top ten most valuable brands and Aviva Plc is in the top 10% of socially responsible companies globally in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index.  In 2011 we invested £5.3m into our UK communities. One in three of our employees were involved in community investment activities which included giving nearly 33,000 hours.
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