This paper explores the relationship between childbearing expectations and financial savings patterns among a group of mature age, first time mothers and examines how this relationship affects the transition to motherhood. Mature age women who had previously expected to remain childless are less likely to have saved, thus making the transition to parenthood more stressful and complex. Adjustments to financial stress as a result of disrupted opportunities for saving and investing are explored. Qualitative data from the Dunedin Mature Mothers Study is presented to highlight how constraints in women’s financial well being affect mothers’ employment arrangements, spending power, and provision of parenting resources. Key words: Family finances, Savings, Parenting expectations, Transition to motherhood

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