Work or stay home for 1 year

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Drock3307
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Work or stay home for 1 year

Post by Drock3307 » Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:09 pm

We are in mid 30s with two little kids in private school. Would you tap into savings (10 months e-fund will be down to 6-7 months after) to cover tuition so one parent can stay home for a year to get a break from the hustle and bustle of working 9-5 and be with little kiddies? Also sacrificing annual vacations and have to stick to a real tight budget. No debt but mortgage. Feels going backwards but at the same time, we value importance of at least one staying home with kids. Behind on retirement as well. Thank you!

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dm200
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Re: Work or stay home for 1 year

Post by dm200 » Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:12 pm

Drock3307 wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:09 pm
We are in mid 30s with two little kids in private school. Would you tap into savings (10 months e-fund will be down to 6-7 months after) to cover tuition so one parent can stay home for a year to get a break from the hustle and bustle of working 9-5 and be with little kiddies? Also sacrificing annual vacations and have to stick to a real tight budget. No debt but mortgage. Feels going backwards but at the same time, we value importance of at least one staying home with kids. Behind on retirement as well. Thank you!
I am confused. Wouldn't the need for tuition be if both parents continue working - and less for such tuition if not working and staying home?

smitcat
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Re: Work or stay home for 1 year

Post by smitcat » Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:18 pm

Drock3307 wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:09 pm
We are in mid 30s with two little kids in private school. Would you tap into savings (10 months e-fund will be down to 6-7 months after) to cover tuition so one parent can stay home for a year to get a break from the hustle and bustle of working 9-5 and be with little kiddies? Also sacrificing annual vacations and have to stick to a real tight budget. No debt but mortgage. Feels going backwards but at the same time, we value importance of at least one staying home with kids. Behind on retirement as well. Thank you!
This is a very personal choice affected by many details that you have not mentioned. We continued to work and did not stay home and we are very happy with our past decision if that would matter.

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RickBoglehead
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Re: Work or stay home for 1 year

Post by RickBoglehead » Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:21 pm

This comes down to what you personally value. The opinions of others really don't matter, do they?

When we had our oldest, DW stopped working. We made the decision to live off one income because a) we valued the time she could spend with the child (then children), and b) because we subtracted the pre-tax cost of daycare that we'd have to pay for, and decided the incremental earnings (net salary minus daycare) wasn't worth it to us. When our second child entered elementary school, DW started volunteering, then began subbing, then full time teaching assistant. Not for the money, but for the involvement with kids.

We've never regretted our decision, although it costed us hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Money is not everything. Do what works for you as a couple.
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nexesn
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Re: Work or stay home for 1 year

Post by nexesn » Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:25 pm

Drock3307 wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:09 pm
We are in mid 30s with two little kids in private school. Would you tap into savings (10 months e-fund will be down to 6-7 months after) to cover tuition so one parent can stay home for a year to get a break from the hustle and bustle of working 9-5 and be with little kiddies? Also sacrificing annual vacations and have to stick to a real tight budget. No debt but mortgage. Feels going backwards but at the same time, we value importance of at least one staying home with kids. Behind on retirement as well. Thank you!
I think this is more of a personal choice. You'll probably get a mixed set of thoughts on this one. Personally, it becomes a decision that you two will need to make. Kids grow up fast and as a friend of mine used to say "Life doesn't offer rematches".

We have a nanny for the day. We love, love, love being with our child, teaching her, and playing with her, but we couldn't imagine spending every minute of the day with her (I know, this is not a proper PC thing to write, but I'm being realistic to our own situation.). Developmentally our daughter gets more day to day out of our nanny than she does with us, and we are perfectly happy to admit it. We are also fortunate to have jobs which allows to afford a nanny. Our balance is pretty good right now, but, again, it's a personally choice. Every situation is different.

Best of luck with the decision!

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ResearchMed
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Re: Work or stay home for 1 year

Post by ResearchMed » Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:27 pm

Drock3307 wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:09 pm
We are in mid 30s with two little kids in private school. Would you tap into savings (10 months e-fund will be down to 6-7 months after) to cover tuition so one parent can stay home for a year to get a break from the hustle and bustle of working 9-5 and be with little kiddies? Also sacrificing annual vacations and have to stick to a real tight budget. No debt but mortgage. Feels going backwards but at the same time, we value importance of at least one staying home with kids. Behind on retirement as well. Thank you!
It sounds like this tuition is a longer term problem, as well as the "should one stay home" issue.
What will you do after the one year, after the family has "adjusted" to having one parent home?

Yes, this is a very tricky question.
What ages are the children? Is this pre-school? ("little kids") And is there any reason why this problem will change in the future?

It's of concern that you are already "behind on retirement"... how is that going to get fixed?

One key question would seem to be is *private* school necessary? And how many years will this last (e.g., is it just 'til public school starts, or is this til 12th grade)?
Would the finances be better without this tuition? Could the parent then stay home?

RM
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apple44
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Re: Work or stay home for 1 year

Post by apple44 » Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:37 pm

There's no right or wrong choices here, just difference choices! I would suggest:

-- Talk to your husband. He needs to be fully on board if he's the sole bread earner.
-- Talk to your boss and maybe people in your industry: you said you wanted to stay home for a year which implies that you expect to get back to work after that year, but is it realistic? Would your position still be available? If not, would it be easy for you to find a job? Are you prepared for some setbacks, as often happens after people leave work for a while?

I'm a working mom of two, because personally, I can't stand staying home all day! -- I have more tolerance with bosses and clients than with small kids!
Also I know many people on this forum values early retirement, as in "I made it if I can achieve financial freedom and retire at 40/45!" I plan to work until I'm 70! -- I'll be so bored if I'm not working! I had a 4-month maternity leave and by month three, I'm yearning to go back to the office!
I'm saying the above just to let you know that answers to your questions really come down to your personal value and your family decision.

And have confidence in yourself -- no matter what you choose, it'll work out!

miamivice
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Re: Work or stay home for 1 year

Post by miamivice » Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:38 pm

You either pay for daycare (let's not call it private school, it's daycare) and get a paycheck, or stay at home with kids (no daycare costs) with no paycheck. Depending on your income and number of kids, it is often a wash. For us, 2 kids in daycare used 100% of my spouse's income.

However, staying home with little kids is no walk in the park. It's hard work and most of it is not very brain consuming (like laundry, picking up toys, cleaning house, more laundry, doing dishes, more laundry, etc).

miamivice
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Re: Work or stay home for 1 year

Post by miamivice » Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:39 pm

dm200 wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:12 pm
Drock3307 wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:09 pm
We are in mid 30s with two little kids in private school. Would you tap into savings (10 months e-fund will be down to 6-7 months after) to cover tuition so one parent can stay home for a year to get a break from the hustle and bustle of working 9-5 and be with little kiddies? Also sacrificing annual vacations and have to stick to a real tight budget. No debt but mortgage. Feels going backwards but at the same time, we value importance of at least one staying home with kids. Behind on retirement as well. Thank you!
I am confused. Wouldn't the need for tuition be if both parents continue working - and less for such tuition if not working and staying home?
Agreed. Most families it is either daycare or work, but not daycare and stay at home.

fourkids
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Re: Work or stay home for 1 year

Post by fourkids » Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:40 pm

this is a personal values question on what works best for your family.
but an important question is:
will your spouse be able to reenter the workforce easily after a year off?

my spouse and I have always worked full-time, but I now believe that in order to work 30 -50 years of your life, it's probably a good idea to take a year off here and there along the way

ddurrett896
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Re: Work or stay home for 1 year

Post by ddurrett896 » Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:42 pm

Drock3307 wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:09 pm
We are in mid 30s with two little kids in private school. Would you tap into savings (10 months e-fund will be down to 6-7 months after) to cover tuition so one parent can stay home for a year to get a break from the hustle and bustle of working 9-5 and be with little kiddies?
No. Hustle and bustle is good.

If the goal is to raise the kids, then stop paying tuition OR move to a part time tuition once they turn 2. This introduces them to kids, teachers and early learning.

bloom2708
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Re: Work or stay home for 1 year

Post by bloom2708 » Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:47 pm

From experience, it is best to work when the kids are young. Get ahead of the game, savings wise and mortgage wise.

It is a tough slog, but you get through it. The private school issue is a whole separate thread. Very personal. You could spend $750k before college if you pick the "right" private schools. Not small decisions. Not sure if private school = daycare. Will private school carry through from Kindergarten and up?

We worked, saved our butts off, paid off the mortgage and have great public schools. When the 3 kids got older (youngest 4th grade), that gave us flexibility (options) for one of us to stay home. My wife decided that was right for her. It is still a tough job, but as kids get older they are in more activities and require more shuttling (and more time in general).

Going to one income is hard. We don't save as much. That was a given. If you already feel behind on saving, then going to one income will certainly not help that. Maybe one can work on landing a job with higher pay. Then consider options to avoid private school for Pre-K thru high school. Maybe that means a move to a better school district and a smaller home. Those type of things would make it doable to go to one income.

They really are personal/lifestyle decisions. If there is no place to give, then both keep working. It is a tough slog and when you get into your 40s it doesn't get easier. Good luck. I'm sure you will get lots of advice to ponder.
Last edited by bloom2708 on Tue Mar 12, 2019 4:26 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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ohai
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Re: Work or stay home for 1 year

Post by ohai » Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:56 pm

I wouldn't do it. 9-5 job is fine... It might be harder than you think to get back to work after a year as well. From what I've seen, 1 year normally becomes 2, 3, years, more... forever...

delamer
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Re: Work or stay home for 1 year

Post by delamer » Tue Mar 12, 2019 2:12 pm

How easy would it be for the spouse staying home to get back in the workforce (at a comparable level) after a year?

Is part-time work an option for either?

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GoldStar
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Re: Work or stay home for 1 year

Post by GoldStar » Tue Mar 12, 2019 2:28 pm

I guess the question is how old are these "Little kiddies" and is tuition really just day-care or a real elementary private school?
If you can dump the private school costs it will make it easier for one of you to stay home.

My spouse stayed home after our first was born - it was really tight for the first year then became easier thereafter (after I started getting raises, etc.). You learn to live on less when you have to and the rewards of having your children with one of you more often - picking up your values, etc. - is simply priceless (in my opinion). It's been 25 years now and the only work my spouse has done has been free volunteer work - we've been SIK (Single-Income-Kids) for life now but haven't regretted it for a minute. (As RickBoglehead stated - it costs us hundreds of thousands but well worth it).

Dottie57
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Re: Work or stay home for 1 year

Post by Dottie57 » Tue Mar 12, 2019 2:51 pm

I actually think kids need more spervision in middle and high school when they can get into really big trouble.

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leeks
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Re: Work or stay home for 1 year

Post by leeks » Tue Mar 12, 2019 3:06 pm

If you want one parent to spend more time raising kids directly, make it happen. It could be a valuable investment, they will never be little again. I stay home with mine for now and we feel it is well worth it.

BUT I would figure out how to do it on one income (since you said you are behind on savings goals). Switch kids to part time if it is preschool and/or to public school if it is elementary. And/or move if you need to reduce housing costs, get rid of one car, or whatever else to change expenses. Or one parent drops to something part-time instead of no second income.

It might be the right choice for your family, depending on your values, but you should be willing to adapt your lifestyle (ie spending) to match any reduced income.

StealthRabbit
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Re: Work or stay home for 1 year

Post by StealthRabbit » Tue Mar 12, 2019 3:19 pm

I differ... as usual...


Stay home with kids, work later... if you must.

Ideally, you can create a home business with your kids, and none of you will have to work! (outside the home)
one of our local 'homeschool' born businesses now has 120 employees and >$10m annual revenue.

We took very long and inexpensive vacations. Often on farms / camping / sailing. Flew on Mon and Friday so we got bumped (free tickets)

Plenty of choices for inexpensive k-12 and college (international if possible)

We lived / worked / homeschooled internationally.
https://www.student.com/articles/countr ... ee-europe/
https://www.nonprofitcollegesonline.com/free-colleges/
https://www.valuecolleges.com/internati ... education/

My kids survived (well) excellent careers, no rebellion (yet) 10+ yrs after college.
(via a lowly single-earner hourly factory night shift worker, able to 'retire early' pre-age 50)
Last edited by StealthRabbit on Tue Mar 12, 2019 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

pennywise
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Re: Work or stay home for 1 year

Post by pennywise » Tue Mar 12, 2019 3:27 pm

miamivice wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:38 pm
You either pay for daycare (let's not call it private school, it's daycare)

That makes sense. I'm somewhat amused that nobody has kids in daycare anymore, instead the 3-month old is in 'school' now (?!)

Depending on your income and number of kids, it is often a wash. For us, 2 kids in daycare used 100% of my spouse's income.

However the value of remaining employed is much greater than the simple ratio of income to expense of daycare. Staying on the job is extremely helpful in continuing to build retirement resources, working toward or supplementing vesting benefits, having one's own supplementary paid vacation, sick time, etc. As an aside, I've never understood why the mental accounting assigns this as a sole cost of the mother's salary rather than a cost of doing business against the family income, but whatever.

However, staying home with little kids is no walk in the park. It's hard work and most of it is not very brain consuming (like laundry, picking up toys, cleaning house, more laundry, doing dishes, more laundry, etc).

OTOH anecdotally I've rarely know a woman who went SAH for only a brief one-year period, especially when that one year commences prior to kids starting school. Usually once a family has a partner at home, the benefits in terms of managing the household (all the stuff mentioned above) as well as the ability to adjust expenses and lifestyle to live on one income seem to mitigate in favor of maintaining that status quo. So to assume it will be a brief hiatus may be somewhat optimistic.

megabad
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Re: Work or stay home for 1 year

Post by megabad » Tue Mar 12, 2019 5:17 pm

Drock3307 wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:09 pm
We are in mid 30s with two little kids in private school. Would you tap into savings (10 months e-fund will be down to 6-7 months after) to cover tuition so one parent can stay home for a year to get a break from the hustle and bustle of working 9-5 and be with little kiddies? Also sacrificing annual vacations and have to stick to a real tight budget. No debt but mortgage. Feels going backwards but at the same time, we value importance of at least one staying home with kids. Behind on retirement as well. Thank you!
Here is how I would figure it out:

1) Ask yourselves if you hate your job. If so, then quit.
2) Ask yourselves how much your time is worth. This is another way of saying, how much per hour do you view time with the kids? Include your personal valuation of quality time but also savings related to daycare and babysitters etc. Determine the exact number and then compare that number to how much you would make in the workforce.
3) Are kids able to appreciate a stay at home parent? Are they in school all day (when you could be working part time)?
4) Is one spouse willing to push back retirement to allow for this?
5) Make a decision based on info above.
6) Ask yourself if you will regret the decision (either way). What are the permanent impacts? How hard will it be to find a new position after a resume gap? Or what are the impacts to your stress levels and family stress levels if you keep working?

quantAndHold
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Re: Work or stay home for 1 year

Post by quantAndHold » Tue Mar 12, 2019 5:27 pm

Dottie57 wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 2:51 pm
I actually think kids need more spervision in middle and high school when they can get into really big trouble.
That’s what we found with ours. They were fine when they were little, but one of ours had all sorts of issues in middle and high school. It was useful to be able to take a step back from working and be home for her at that point.

cwied
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Re: Work or stay home for 1 year

Post by cwied » Tue Mar 12, 2019 5:31 pm

The thing that jumps out to me with this question is the expectation that being with little kiddies is a break from the hustle and bustle of working 9-5. I think it's more than likely just trading one kind of stress for another unless they're going to be at school most of the day, in which case the driving force is not staying home with kids, but taking some time off.

My wife and I went part-time when our kids were born. If that's an option both parents can be more involved and neither has as big a trade-off in terms of career vs. raising kids.

stoptothink
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Re: Work or stay home for 1 year

Post by stoptothink » Tue Mar 12, 2019 5:49 pm

apple44 wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:37 pm
There's no right or wrong choices here, just difference choices! I would suggest:

-- Talk to your husband. He needs to be fully on board if he's the sole bread earner.
-- Talk to your boss and maybe people in your industry: you said you wanted to stay home for a year which implies that you expect to get back to work after that year, but is it realistic? Would your position still be available? If not, would it be easy for you to find a job? Are you prepared for some setbacks, as often happens after people leave work for a while?

I'm a working mom of two, because personally, I can't stand staying home all day! -- I have more tolerance with bosses and clients than with small kids!
Also I know many people on this forum values early retirement, as in "I made it if I can achieve financial freedom and retire at 40/45!" I plan to work until I'm 70! -- I'll be so bored if I'm not working! I had a 4-month maternity leave and by month three, I'm yearning to go back to the office!
I'm saying the above just to let you know that answers to your questions really come down to your personal value and your family decision.

And have confidence in yourself -- no matter what you choose, it'll work out!
+1. The intention was for my wife to stay home when we had our 2nd, 1 month of that and she was going insane; like, literally. She is a far better parent when she doesn't sit at home all day with the kids, and she didn't know that until she tried. Furthermore, I know I'll get blasted for this (again), but we have a unique daycare situation which necessitates my wife and I watch our kids almost half the time. I am in upper management in a large company and I work from home and watch my son every Wednesday and every other Friday. My wife is at home every Tuesday. And then, we both travel pretty regularly for work and my wife is a full-time student, so we are often figuring out the child-watching responsibilities on the fly. I guess we just have unicorn kids, and understanding employers, because being top producers in our jobs and watching our children at the same time has never been particularly difficult for either of us - although I don't think either one of us would want to do it 7-5pm M-F. It sounds like a logistical nightmare, but it's life for us and our children are thriving by every objective measure.

Really, every situation is different and you probably won't know what is best for your family until you are in the midst of it all.

123
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Re: Work or stay home for 1 year

Post by 123 » Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:26 pm

In a post in August 2017 the OP indicated his/her kids were in second grade.

Since the kids are in elementary school they would most likely rather be at school with their friends, or the after-school program at their school, then home with a parent.

So if someone wants to stay home for a year (or longer) I would say that the primary beneficiary of the arrangement is the adult and not the children. From that perspective it just depends on what your personal priorities/desires/finances are.

From our experience with the families we know the temporary arrangements tend to last much longer than initially expected. Nothing wrong with that. Families tend to adjust their budgets and expectations accordingly. Children are not likely to retain and have a detailed recollection of vacations and activities from their elementary school years. What do you remember of the time you were in elementary school?
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stoptothink
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Re: Work or stay home for 1 year

Post by stoptothink » Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:40 pm

123 wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:26 pm
In a post in August 2017 the OP indicated his/her kids were in second grade.

Since the kids are in elementary school they would most likely rather be at school with their friends, or the after-school program at their school, then home with a parent.

So if someone wants to stay home for a year (or longer) I would say that the primary beneficiary of the arrangement is the adult and not the children. From that perspective it just depends on what your personal priorities/desires/finances are.

From our experience with the families we know the temporary arrangements tend to last much longer than initially expected. Nothing wrong with that. Families tend to adjust their budgets and expectations accordingly. Children are not likely to retain and have a detailed recollection of vacations and activities from their elementary school years. What do you remember of the time you were in elementary school?
Totally missed that, it does sound like this has a lot more to do with a parent wanting a break from working then spending more time with the kids. If you want a break and can afford it, by all means; I'm not sure an extra hour or two each afternoon with a parent is going to change things a whole lot for the kids.

TheDDC
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Re: Work or stay home for 1 year

Post by TheDDC » Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:40 pm

Drock3307 wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:09 pm
We are in mid 30s with two little kids in private school. Would you tap into savings (10 months e-fund will be down to 6-7 months after) to cover tuition so one parent can stay home for a year to get a break from the hustle and bustle of working 9-5 and be with little kiddies? Also sacrificing annual vacations and have to stick to a real tight budget. No debt but mortgage. Feels going backwards but at the same time, we value importance of at least one staying home with kids. Behind on retirement as well. Thank you!
DW stays home with our two littles. Wouldn't trade it for the world.

Definitely stay home and be a parent. That's one thing you would be sorry for outsourcing.

Edit: are these kids in school? Why would someone staying Ng home with kids be a concern? Confused.

-TheDDC
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JBTX
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Re: Work or stay home for 1 year

Post by JBTX » Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:51 pm

As others have said, it is really personal. I generally think the cost of private grade school, especially the younger grades, isn't worth the opportunity cost lost. Also, we both worked and were lucky enough to have flexibility in our jobs that we could do that.

Personally I think working with kids is fine, provided they are in an enriching environment.

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fishandgolf
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Re: Work or stay home for 1 year

Post by fishandgolf » Tue Mar 12, 2019 7:05 pm

Drock3307 wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:09 pm
We are in mid 30s with two little kids in private school. Would you tap into savings (10 months e-fund will be down to 6-7 months after) to cover tuition so one parent can stay home for a year to get a break from the hustle and bustle of working 9-5 and be with little kiddies? Also sacrificing annual vacations and have to stick to a real tight budget. No debt but mortgage. Feels going backwards but at the same time, we value importance of at least one staying home with kids. Behind on retirement as well. Thank you!
I have not read any of the previous posts....your OP struck a cord with me. Wow...........does this bring back memories...........very good memories.

Long story short..... DW and I (especially me) struggled with this same decision 35 years ago. We decided that our two daughters were just too precious to us so my wife quit her job and stayed home ......well I won't bore you with the details but it is a decision that I would do again and again and again...... Yes....we struggled a bit with financials but ya know......we made it work.........and we were happy.

Fast forward to today.........daughters are 37 and 35 both with families......never in a moment do my wife and I regret our decision.......

Good luck with your decision...............The difficulty with this decision.....the payoff does not happen until many years later.............embrace it...... :) :) :)

miamivice
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Re: Work or stay home for 1 year

Post by miamivice » Tue Mar 12, 2019 9:20 pm

pennywise wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 3:27 pm
As an aside, I've never understood why the mental accounting assigns this as a sole cost of the mother's salary rather than a cost of doing business against the family income, but whatever.
It's a cost of doing business against the family income. However, when alternatives are being compared, there really are three:

1. Use daycare
2. Mom stays home
3. Dad stays home

More moms than dads are willing to stay at home with little infants and preschoolers, and dads most often are the breadwinners in terms of salaries and benefits. That is true for our case where I mention the daycare cost versus mom's salary because those are the realistic alternatives to compare for our family.

Afty
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Re: Work or stay home for 1 year

Post by Afty » Tue Mar 12, 2019 9:37 pm

I think we need more details from the OP. Why are you/your spouse considering this? Is it dissatisfaction with work, a desire to spend more time with your kids, or something else?

I also wonder about the one year part of this. Why not 6 months, or even just the summer? Or would this be a trial run for a permanent change to being a stay at home parent?

orangesherbet
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Re: Work or stay home for 1 year

Post by orangesherbet » Tue Mar 12, 2019 10:36 pm

It sounds like your jobs have you both super stressed out. Rather than making a 180 degree change that can only be temporary, if at all possible I would try to find a more permanent solution that can be your new reality. As in, a pay cut for a job that is fewer hours and more flexible, or contract work you can do from home, etc.

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