Stay-at-Home Moms (and Dads) are in a unique position. They have an incredibly hard job: managing their families and household. They are oftentimes not shown the appreciation they deserve.
(I am going to use Stay-at-Home Mom/Dad/Parent interchangeably as every family is different, but the same sentiment applies to all parents working inside their home.)
Having a one income household presents many challenges. It is expensive to raise a family and having one income to support the many expenses homeownership, children and pets present can cause financial stress.
This one income’s job is not only to financially support the family today, but also support the both spouses in the future. Many single income families are just focusing on the now and not the later.
Having one income also creates emotional challenges. The Stay at Home parent may feel like they do not contribute to the household because they are not earning an income or they may feel guilty about spending money on themselves because they didn’t “earn” it.
When working with families that have one parent working inside the home, I make it a point to enforce that just because they don’t have direct deposit every two weeks into the checking account doesn’t mean they don’t have a seat at the table.
As a Financial Advisor for families, I include both spouses in the conversation. It can be thought that because the SAHM is not “bringing home the bacon” they do not deserve to be part of the financial conversations. I disagree. In all scenarios, if both spouses are not in the conversation, it is a disservice to their family and a big mistake for both of them. Both spouses need to be on board, or at least, informed about their household’s finances.
I like to quantify the work the stay-at-home mom does. How much does the family save by not sending the children to daycare? Or how much would it cost to have the house cleaned by a cleaning service because both spouses work 8-5? Who would have to leave work early to get your daughter to dance class at 4:30 each week? All of those little things add up to an income.
Quantifying the Stay-at-home parent’s work does two things: Gives that spouse confidence in what they do, because it is valuable emotionally and financially. It also shows the working partner that just because their spouse isn’t earning a paycheck, doesn’t mean she is not bringing monetary value to the household.
It is important for both spouses to have life insurance. I also bust the myth of the working spouse needing more life insurance on themselves. I actually believe it should be the other way around. But more on that in this series.
I also create a plan for retirement… for both of them. Just because the stay-at-home parent doesn’t earn an income, doesn’t mean they aren’t going to retire one day. We need to plan accordingly for that.