What should I consider before having a baby alone?

Many single women are choosing to have babies on their own.
Many single women are choosing to have babies on their own. 

Hi Nicole,

I've been lucky and made some good choices. I'm now in a healthy financial position. I joined the army at age 17, got paid while completing my first degree and have not looked back. Nineteen-year-old me decided to increase my super contributions slightly so it's now a healthy $500,000 plus and I'm under 40 years old. After my first overseas deployment, I paid off my car. After my second deployment, I purchased my first home (it's now gone up from $345,000 to almost $500,000). I am very employable once I decide this life isn't for me; I signed a retention bonus and purchased a second property (the rent covers the mortgage). Unfortunately, due to the transient lifestyle, long stints overseas, or maybe just bad luck, I've been single almost 10 years and am now considering having a baby on my own. I'd like to know if there are any special considerations I should look at? I'm wondering how best to prepare for the not-so-nice scenarios (if I have a child that needs medical care, or if I need it). I know I can't prepare for it all, but keen to know what I can.

Many thanks, Amy

Babies can be expensive.
Babies can be expensive. Photo: Virginia Star

Amy, when I was attempting to have my second child a few years back I found myself each morning before work at a Sydney fertility clinic. In the insanely busy waiting room, I’d estimate a quarter of the women were single.

In other words, you are far from alone.

You’re also in a great spot. I’m assuming you know the standard Defence Force maternity leave entitlements: the first 14 weeks paid of a possible 52 weeks off. The government’s parental leave scheme, 18 weeks at the minimum wage, is on top of that. And is there some long service you could tack on too?

Take everything you can at half-pay to smooth your salary.

Then insurance will be important. While you are covered by ADF (when still a member), your child won’t be … think about whether you want private health, for which you’d probably get a partial rebate.

Income protection insurance will also be key – as your family will rely solely on yours.


This replaces up to 75 per cent of your income if accident or illness makes you unable to work; you can get an "agreed value" that is fixed now, even if you return to work part-time later. Premiums are expensive but tax deductible (you could alternatively get it through super, although check what’s covered).

In the meantime, save, save, save (into a home loan offset account to cut your loan interest). For any void periods in your rental property. For any emergencies. And simply for future flexibility.

Go well, Amy.

Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon is a money educator and consumer advocate: themoneymentorway.com. You can write to her for help solving your money problems, or with a consumer question, at nicolehelps@fairfaxmedia.com.au.