When does it make financial sense to be a stay-at-home parent?
Choosing whether to stay at home with the kids or remain in the workplace is a significant personal decision for every parent — one based on a number of factors. One of the biggest factors is the financial impact.
If you’re weighing your options, ask yourself these questions to make the best choice for your family.
How Much Would You Save in Child Care Costs if You Stay at Home?
Child care can be one of the biggest costs associated with raising children. Compare the child care cost savings if you were to stay at home versus the income you would bring in if you stayed in the workplace. Consider additional child care cost savings if you plan to have more children.
What Are Your Insurance Options?
Is your insurance offered through your employer? Can you be added to your spouse's or partner's insurance if you leave your job to stay at home? It’s best to check into the insurance situation before handing in your resignation.
How Will Staying at Home Affect Your Retirement Plan?
Does your employer generously contribute to your 401(k) or other retirement accounts? How will your retirement savings be affected by the loss of your retirement contributions for the years you stay at home with your children? Take a look at what you’ve already saved, and how much your spouse will be able to contribute to your retirement plan while you’re caring for your children.
What Are the Other Costs of Working Full Time?
How much money do you spend on gas or on public transportation to commute to work? How much do you spend on lunch and coffee every day? What does your work wardrobe cost every year? Don’t forget to consider these expenses in weighing the decision to stay home.
What’s the Emotional Side of Staying at Home Versus Working?
Although your family’s finances are a major concern, the decision to stay at home or work can be about more than money. Consider other factors, too.
For example, will you miss the adult interaction or feel sidetracked from your career goals?
Adrian Kulp, a blogger and author of “Dad or Alive: Confessions of an Unexpected Stay-At-Home Dad,” became a stay-at-home parent when his daughter was 10 weeks old. “At the time, my wife was just ending her maternity leave and heading back to work,” he says. “After a lot of consideration and cutting a few corners where we could, we were fortunate enough to be able to survive on her salary and ancillary revenue generated by me, especially since I was eliminating day care costs from the equation.”
In the end, it’s about what’s best for your family.
“I felt that I did what was best for our situation at the time,” Kulp says. “I have zero regrets.”
Whether you decide to be a stay-at-home parent or a working one, these tips on budgeting for a baby can help you get ready for parenthood.