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Ease the Maternity-Leave Money Crunch

Ease your maternity-leave money crunch with these tips from Shari Lau of the Society for Human Resource Management:

• As soon as you find out you're pregnant, start holding on to as many vacation days as you can, to use as part of your leave. Ask if you can also use sick days, but reserve a few for after your return.

• Check your employee benefits. Some companies' insurance policies offer six to eight weeks of full or partial pay for workers with an illness that keeps them off the job. New moms are eligible for this benefit, too.

• Consider cutting back temporarily on your 401(k) contributions.

• After your baby's born, ask HR to adjust your paycheck's tax withholdings to reflect your new exemption. The change will help boost any pay you may receive during your leave.

• Take out a home-equity line of credit, which lets you borrow money based on your home's value. You only draw funds if you need to.

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