No Dark Magic

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Budgeting for children

Posted at — Apr 18, 2021


Social benefits

Försäkringskassan provides a good and up-to-date overview of all the benefits available for parents and parents-to-be. Here’s the link to the English version.

In short, two parents together get 390 paid days off to care for a child. Technically it’s 480, but 90 are “minimum level” days when you get 180 SEK per day which is negligible compared to a monthly salary. Out of the properly paid days, one parent can get maximum of 300: 90 are reserved to each parent and can’t be transferred. During the first year of the child’s life, both parents can get paid days off at the same time, but only for 30 days.

Parental benefits

To apply for the parental benefits, you have to be registered with Försäkringskassan. This process can take months in the worst case, so it’s nice to check this already in the first trimester. The form to fill out is 5456, and here’s the link to more information in English.

Note that the income you get from Försäkringskassan (FK) is taxed higher than a salary (or rather it’s the salary that’s taxed lower due to jobskatteavdrag). It is also capped at a particular number, so if your monthly salary is higher than 10 prisbasbelopp (currently around 38k SEK), the change in your income will be more significant.

Roughly, the maximum amount one would get from FK per month after taxes is:

  • 9 thousand SEK if taking 3 days per week

  • 12 thousand SEK if taking 4 days per week

  • 15 thousand SEK if taking 5 days per week

  • 18 thousand SEK if taking 6 days per week

  • 21 thousand SEK if taking 7 days per week.

Note that the actual number will depend on:

  • the current tax rates in your kommun

  • the current prisbasbelopp

  • the number of days in the particular month (so it’s lower in February).

Here’s a calculator to play with numbers further. When it’s time to apply for the actual dates with FK, the estimates will be more precise, but the difference is negligible for planning.

Child allowance

On top of the parental benefits you also get a child allowance of 1250 SEK per month. Some people automatically invest this money into some cheap global index funds with a kapitalförsäkring account. RikaTillsammans has a few articles about it, I think this one is the shortest but still provides the necessary background.

The child allowance is not taxed, so 1250 SEK is already after taxes.

Employer/union benefits

On top of the benefits from the government, there might be föräldralön in your collective agreement. It is usually something you only get after having worked for some time at the company (in contrast to the social benefits to which you’re entitled anyway). Föräldralön tops up the social benefits so that your monthly income is closer to the salary you were getting. It can last for just the first month or for half a year or have additional conditions — so read the collective agreement in advance.


I’ve found a few estimates for the initial costs for the first child in a Swedish family, and they were around 15–20 thousand SEK. Of course it varies a lot depending on how much stuff you consider essential and whether you prefer to shop second-hand or high-end. For example, a stroller can be bought on Blocket for 500:- or ordered with all possible accessories and run up to 20k. And also it can be not bought at all (shocker!).

Welcoming a child to the family might also require bigger changes like moving to another apartment.

Additional and significant costs might be in order if the parents are immigrants and therefore don’t have the support of grandmas and grandpas. Nanny services are subject to RUT-avdrag but even after this 50% discount cost 180–250 SEK per hour (and possibly higher if you’d like some help on the weekend or during the night).

Luckily, all the medical check-ups, vaccination, and vitamin D continue to be free.

Things to check

A few more details to think about when planning which parent goes on leave for how long:

  • will the employer still pay tjänstepension during the parental leave?

  • is there a risk that your employer will want to get rid of you before you start your leave?

  • will your SGI be protected with your planning?

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