The Job Search And Career Advice Blog header image 2

Working Vs. Stay-At-Home Parents, A Cost Analysis

December 19th, 2007 · Leave A Comment

Posted by

I know… sounds like the title of a dry academic research paper…

Over at the Simple Dollar, they’ve crunched the numbers on something I’ve always suspected myself. How much is a stay-at-home parent actually worth, in every day economic terms?

In other words, if you give up your job for a while and stay home to take care of your kids, how much are you contributing to the household balance, in terms of cost savings? Sure, there’s not a second stream of income coming in, but you are saving on things like daycare costs, medical costs, transportation, food expenses, etc.

Until recently, I viewed the choice of being a stay at home parent solely as a loss of income in a couple’s life. If both adults are working and one chooses not to pursue professional employment, then the income at that house is going to go down.

Over time, though, I began to realize that being a stay at home parent has a lot of significant value on its own. Not only does it produce inherent savings through the lifestyle change, but a committed stay at home parent can significantly alter the household budget in a profound number of ways – some obvious, some not.

The ultimate number they come up with is $560 a week in cost savings. That’s the equivalent of a $29,000 a year job. That’s certainly something to consider: if one parent is making $35k a year, then perhaps staying at home with the babies is more cost effective than working, but outsourcing for daycare, healthcare, etc.

As the commenters to the post point out, this analysis does not take into account things like money that could be contributed to retirement, the loss of future earning potential and even falling behind in your career peer group.

Still, we know the benefits of at-home parenting are enormous and long-lasting. If the economics are at least comparible, is it also a good idea, dollar-wise, to stay home with the kids?

Working parents out there, read the analysis (they give it to you line by line) and then tell us what you think in the comments. Does it pay to stay home with the kids?

The Real Value of Stay At Home Parenting (TheSimpleDollar)

No related posts.

Tags: Finance · Working Parents