Pregnancy Articles

The Dollars and Sense of Being a One-Income Family

Can You Afford to Be a Stay-at-Home Parent?

You hear parents talk about working just to pay for child care, and that is sometimes true. When you factor in all the added costs that accompany a full-time job, you might find that you have aren't losing as much money as you thought you were.

Whatever your decision, run the numbers before you give notice and make sure you can pay all of your current expenses (minus childcare) on one person's salary. (Tip: Don't factor in any potential freelance/contract work because that income is variable.)

Healthcare Benefits:
This may actually be more important than salary to some. If you are thinking about quitting your job and healthcare for your family--or perhaps just for you--is paid by your employer, you will definitely be losing hundreds of dollars a month in benefits. With children around, you need health insurance.

The average annual premium for individual health insurance--not through an employer--is more than $6,300 for a family plan, according to a 2009 study by America's Health Insurance Plans. This is probably a lot more than what you are paying your employer per month for health insurance coverage, and these individual plans typically have much higher deductibles and do not cover nearly as much as employer-provided plans. The solution might be as easy as joining your partner's plan, but research the feasibility and cost of doing so. Going from a single to a family insurance plan can cost up to three times as much.

This is a minor loss, but it is something to consider. Your home previously sat vacant for roughly a third of the week--now with you and the kids at home, the toilet is flushing, the TV is on, and the vacuum, dishwasher and dryer are running. If you use a programmable thermostat, your air conditioning and heat usage goes down when you were at work all day. All of this will change if you're now staying home. You can expect your utility bill to increase between 10% and 20% and perhaps even more in summer months.

Retirement and pension plans:
Does your job offer a retirement plan or a pension plan? Will you be able to roll over retirement plans and hold on to your pension? Will you forfeit any matching funds if you leave your job? The details are different with every person and at every company. Speak to your company's human-resources department for more information on what money you might lose and what you get to keep.
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