Half-a-million expectant parents across the UK to receive free financial guide from the FSA this year

The guide has been developed and piloted in England with the help of parents and health professionals, such as midwives, and will be made available in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland by the end of the year. The FSA hopes to reach 500,000 expectant parents across the UK this year, and 1.5 million by 2011.

Research has found that the cost of bringing up a child to the age of 18 can be well over £150,000, and becoming a parent is a time when people should be thinking about their finances and taking action if they need to. However, the FSA has found that money is a subject that people often find difficult to talk about, even with close friends and family. People often find it difficult to grasp the importance of money matters, don't understand jargon, and can be unsure of where to turn for help.

The FSA aims to address this through the Parents Guide to Money which turns financial information into something that is more accessible and can be incorporated into day-to-day planning. It includes ‘a countdown to becoming a parent' which sets out clearly and simply the steps people can follow to plan financially for parenthood.

Chris Pond, the FSA's director of financial capability, said: "The Parent's Guide to Money helps expectant parents plan their finances at an important stage in life when they face big changes. It covers most things they might want to know such as budgeting, state benefits, the cost of children and childcare, maternity and paternity rights, savings and work.

"Parents have responded well to the guides in trials, so by 2011 we hope to have reached more than 1.5 million parents. Ultimately, the success of the Parent's Guide to Money will be demonstrated by evaluation that shows that new parents are more confident and better equipped to deal with financial issues."