What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

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silverskates
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What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by silverskates »

Details:
46 and 42 year old parents
4 kids - ages 12 to 4 (Tons of work keeping up with it all...laundry, cooking, kid needs, cleaning, running everyone around, etc., etc., etc.)
42 year old works 5 minutes from home so simple work lifestyle (no travel, work from home as needed, 7 weeks vacation, very flexible and semi-low stress job)
$130k annual income
$1.5 Million net worth ($300 in the house)
$75k saved annually
529's for 4 kids are started and max state amount is invested.
If we continue maxing out investments from now until 42 year old turns 60 we should have around $5 million+ if market returns around 5% (nominal)

Is there anything wrong with 46 year old never returning to work full-time? What are the downsides you see?
Note - 46 year old is content at the moment and enjoys being home and having flexibility.

Here are the downsides I see:
Lower social security check
Lower savings rate and lower overall net worth

Here are the upsides:
Taking stress away from day to day life with 4 small kids
Great having one person focused on the day-to-day
Travel is easier because we're only needing to factor in 1 person's days off
One parents is always around when kiddo stuff comes up and someone is always home

Thoughts? All advice is appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Last edited by silverskates on Sat Apr 27, 2019 4:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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fortfun
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by fortfun »

Work/job satisfaction of stay at home parent? Cabin fever?
College savings?
Early retirement?

If it makes you both happy, do it.
sharukh
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by sharukh »

We are on similar boat, but a bit younger.

Biggest con for us was:
Lack of social circle for SAHM. Going to work forces one to meet and interact with other people. My be have team lunches, WhatsApp groups to chat, etc
KlangFool
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by KlangFool »

silverskates wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2019 4:49 pm
Here are the downsides I see:
Lower social security check
silverskates,

This statement may not be true. Unless the stay-at-home spouse can earn enough to exceed the 50% benefit from the working spouse, it may not matter.

KlangFool
MarkRoulo
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by MarkRoulo »

silverskates wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2019 4:49 pm Is there anything wrong with 46 year old never returning to work full-time? What are the downsides you see?

Here are the downsides I see:
Lower social security check
Lower savings rate and lower overall net worth
You should figure out the NET financial cost to the 46 year old not going back to work. Between daycare/aftercare and a progressive income tax system the NET cost might be small. If the financial cost is small and the 46 year old wants to stay home with the kids, this might be an easy decision.
dknightd
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by dknightd »

As long as you are both happy, I don't see a problem.
If you value a bird in the hand, pay off the loan. If you are willing to risk getting two birds (or none) from the market, invest the funds.
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silverskates
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by silverskates »

KlangFool wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2019 4:59 pm
silverskates wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2019 4:49 pm
Here are the downsides I see:
Lower social security check
silverskates,

This statement may not be true. Unless the stay-at-home spouse can earn enough to exceed the 50% benefit from the working spouse, it may not matter.

KlangFool
So the lower income spouse can claim 1/2 of the higher income spouses earnings? I thought laws changed on this and this is no longer allowed? Sounds like I'm mistaken?
KlangFool
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by KlangFool »

silverskates wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2019 5:09 pm
KlangFool wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2019 4:59 pm
silverskates wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2019 4:49 pm
Here are the downsides I see:
Lower social security check
silverskates,

This statement may not be true. Unless the stay-at-home spouse can earn enough to exceed the 50% benefit from the working spouse, it may not matter.

KlangFool
So the lower income spouse can claim 1/2 of the higher income spouses earnings? I thought laws changed on this and this is no longer allowed? Sounds like I'm mistaken?
silverskates,

There were some changes but I believe you are mistaken.

KlangFool
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KlingKlang
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by KlingKlang »

The entire family is vulnerable to the complete loss of their income in the event that the 42 year old loses their job due to layoff, disability, or death. The difficulties from the latter two can be mitigated with sufficient insurance.
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dogagility
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by dogagility »

silverskates wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2019 5:09 pm
KlangFool wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2019 4:59 pm
silverskates wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2019 4:49 pm Here are the downsides I see:
Lower social security check
This statement may not be true. Unless the stay-at-home spouse can earn enough to exceed the 50% benefit from the working spouse, it may not matter.
So the lower income spouse can claim 1/2 of the higher income spouses earnings? I thought laws changed on this and this is no longer allowed? Sounds like I'm mistaken?
I believe this is the process. The lower earning spouse cannot take half of the higher earning spouse until the higher earner begins taking SS. Prior to that time, the lower earning spouse can take what their lifetime SS payments entitled the person to.
This is another reason to for the higher earner to wait until age 70 to start SS.
All children spill milk. Learn to smile and wipe it up. -- A Farmer's Wife
student
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by student »

fortfun wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2019 4:53 pm If it makes you both happy, do it.
+1.
DrGoogle2017
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by DrGoogle2017 »

silverskates wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2019 5:09 pm
KlangFool wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2019 4:59 pm
silverskates wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2019 4:49 pm
Here are the downsides I see:
Lower social security check
silverskates,

This statement may not be true. Unless the stay-at-home spouse can earn enough to exceed the 50% benefit from the working spouse, it may not matter.

KlangFool
So the lower income spouse can claim 1/2 of the higher income spouses earnings? I thought laws changed on this and this is no longer allowed? Sounds like I'm mistaken?
Deeming has been changed, not spousal.

https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/claiming.html
smitcat
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by smitcat »

silverskates wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2019 4:49 pm Details:
46 and 42 year old parents
4 kids - ages 12 to 4 (Tons of work keeping up with it all...laundry, cooking, kid needs, cleaning, running everyone around, etc., etc., etc.)
42 year old works 5 minutes from home so simple work lifestyle (no travel, work from home as needed, 7 weeks vacation, very flexible and semi-low stress job)
$130k annual income
$1.5 Million net worth ($300 in the house)
$75k saved annually
529's for 4 kids are started and max state amount is invested.
If we continue maxing out investments from now until 42 year old turns 60 we should have around $5 million+ if market returns around 5% (nominal)

Is there anything wrong with 46 year old never returning to work full-time? What are the downsides you see?
Note - 46 year old is content at the moment and enjoys being home and having flexibility.

Here are the downsides I see:
Lower social security check
Lower savings rate and lower overall net worth

Here are the upsides:
Taking stress away from day to day life with 4 small kids
Great having one person focused on the day-to-day
Travel is easier because we're only needing to factor in 1 person's days off
One parents is always around when kiddo stuff comes up and someone is always home

Thoughts? All advice is appreciated. Thanks in advance.
"If we continue maxing out investments from now until 42 year old turns 60 we should have around $5 million+ if market returns around 5% (nominal)"
It does not appear to be a balanced approach to aim for $5 million saved when you are living on less than $55K per year.
Certainly that would indicate a good deal of room to lessen the load in the present.
pdavi21
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by pdavi21 »

The cons are mostly going to be strain on the relationship itself. Relationships function best as a give and take with both spouses contributing an equal amount.

Working spouse is going to have to work longer. As long as the non-working spouse pulls their weight in other areas, I don't see it being an issue.

We do it.
"We spend a great deal of time studying history, which, let's face it, is mostly the history of stupidity." -Stephen Hawking
grettman
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by grettman »

I want to commend you for saving 75 k annually out of a 130k salary!!
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teen persuasion
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by teen persuasion »

Does/will the SAHP have 40 quarters paid in to be eligible for Medicare?

Biggest drawback I'm finding (SAHM for nearly 20 years, but enjoying working part-time now) is the lack of retirement account access. We've funded Roth IRAs for both of us after we paid off our mortgage, and DH has had access to workplace plans over the years, but I STILL don't have access to an employer plan (yet - might be coming, eventually). As we treat everything as "ours", it should be fine to have lopsided accounts, but our state exempts the first $20k of retirement account withdrawals from taxation, per person, not combined. So if all our traditional accounts are in DH's name, only $20k is exempt. If half is in each of our names, then we are eligible for twice as much tax exemption, $40k/year in withdrawals. So it matters whose name the retirement savings are in.
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

DW dropped out of the labor force when our daughters started arriving. She was a SAHM until youngest daughter started preschool.

She went back to work and then retired at age 55 to watch grandchildren.

Up-thread a poster mentioned social interaction. That is a very good point, as a SAHM could become isolated. Lots of ways today to have social interaction, though.

I think she was ready to go back to work after she was sitting in an empty house for a bit. Kinda lost, almost.

We definitely lived below our means, so going to a one paycheck household was not any issue.

Considering some of the eye-popping childcare expenses encountered today, a SAHM probably isn't that great of a budget issue in some areas.

Broken Man 1999
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bradinsky
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by bradinsky »

Raising children today is a full time job. As long as you & DH are in agreement & that is what you want to do, don’t worry about what others think. Most that disagree are probably jealous. Also, as long as the laws do not change, you will be eligible for 50% of your husband’s SS benefit, as spousal benefits, when you & your husband both attain full retirement age. Do what makes you happy!!
theplayer11
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by theplayer11 »

always best for a parent to raise their kids
Leemiller
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by Leemiller »

Downsides are a lot of pressure on the main wage earner. Much of the work being done by the SAH parent can be outsourced at a lower cost, eg, maid or part-time nanny. Divorce means the non-working spouse is taking a big lifestyle hit. For parents of daughters, I think it is hard to raise young women who are driven to have a career when their mother (if it is the mother) stays at home. For sons, they grow up expecting a woman to take care of them.

While it is hard to juggle things, I don’t see much pressure being relieved by a stay at home spouse for the spouse that continues to work, since things could have been outsourced anyways. In fact it puts pressure in the working spouse. For the non-working spouse, it is a lot of downtime & seems like an enjoyable lifestyle choice.
staythecourse
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by staythecourse »

With 4 kids I wouldn't even think about the spouse working UNLESS you can make enough to cover the cost of others taking care of your kids (picking up from school, taking to hobbies, cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc...)+ about 20% (to make it worthwhile for the extra stress). In my short time as a parent (6 and 3 year old) logistics is more important then $$ when it comes to being a parent and worker or both.

BTW, I am not a fan of using some random number to make yourself feel better of what you will be worth nearly 20 years from now. If I had a job like you describe (easy, work from home, no stress, etc...) I would be thinking it won't last long before it is eliminated or outsourced. Working past 50 for most folks is not guaranteed. Folks don't want to accept it, but assume MANY folks will have broken earning years from 50-65. Hope I'm wrong, but that looks to be the way it is going.

Good luck.
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smitcat
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by smitcat »

theplayer11 wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2019 6:15 pm always best for a parent to raise their kids
Not in our experience.
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Watty
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by Watty »

One big con for the stay at home parent is that if they are ever widowed or divorced they may have a hard time reentering the job market.

One problem you have is that with four kids you would have a hard time coming out ahead financially if they worked outside the home since you would have to pay taxes at a high tax bracket and pay for daycare and after-school care for the older kids. With FICA taxes, federal income tax, and state income tax they could easily be in around a 40% marginal tax bracket. Any benefits they got would help but coming out ahead would be a challenge.

With four kids a reasonable case can be made for hiring someone like a nanny to care for your kids which can be expensive. When you account for things like commuting costs, a work wardrobe, etc even with a good income they may not really clear a lot by working.

We only had one kid but my wife did not have a high paying career so that we figured out that if she worked outside the home that she might only clear a couple of bucks per hour if that. She wanted to be a stay at home parent and we could afford it so she only worked part time once my son was in school and she mainly worked during the school year.

One pitfall to watch out for is that if both parents have access to health insurance then you do not always get to pick the better policy. Some employers require an employees spouse to use their work heath insurance if they have it even if it is not as good.

You are also coming into the teenage years and when there is a stay at home parent that makes it a lot easier to provide supervision for the teenagers after school, during holidays, and especially during the summer. For younger kids there are lots of options for their care but once they are teenagers there are limited options and teenagers can get into trouble(remember being one?) I have even seen comments where people mentioned that if they had to do it over again they would turn it around and use day care when their kids were young and then have a stay at home parent when they were older.

Each kid is different too and each of them well adapt differently to having a stay at home parent or not.

It looks like you can handle it financially so there really is not one "right" answer so you need to figure out what works for you, and your kids.
teen persuasion wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2019 5:39 pm Does/will the SAHP have 40 quarters paid in to be eligible for Medicare?
That does not make a difference, a spouse can never work under medicare and they will still get the same benefit based on their spouses work history.
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by bottlecap »

It seems like you’ve hit on the big ones. Lower social security maybe, but you'll be fine with $5 million.

With kids at home, it sure is a blessing to have someone there. Just keeping everything clean is huge.

In your situation, the pluses far outweigh the minuses. Plus, there's nothing preventing the stay-at-home parent from taking a job if they wish when the kids are finally off. The plan can always change.

JT
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by GoldenFinch »

From your description it sounds like you are smart about finances and are well on your way to a nice retirement even if one of you continues to stay home. You have enough money, so it seems like the focus needs to be on what is best for everybody in the family and only you and your spouse can answer that. :happy
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by leeks »

There is no need to decide if this will be an "always" situation. Your family doesn't want to have two working parents right now so just go with that as long as it is working for everyone. You can afford it and have more than adequate savings to cover a job loss, etc.

If at some point it is no longer working for everyone, then make a change. It's not like the stay-at-home parent has to make a commitment to never work again, the option will always be there. Who knows how everyone will feel in 5 or 10 or 15 years.
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by RJC »

How does the stay-at-home parent go back to work after raising the kids? That is a big gap in their resume.
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bottlecap
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by bottlecap »

RJC wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2019 7:34 pm How does the stay-at-home parent go back to work after raising the kids? That is a big gap in their resume.
Is the proposed premise that one is no longer employable after raising a few kids? That’s not the case. You obviously aren’t going to get the same type of job at the same levels out might have otherwise been offered, but it’s not impossible to find worthwhile employment after raising children.

JT
bradinsky
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by bradinsky »

If you are fortunate enough financially, not to absolutely need to work, take advantage of that. I believe that many of the problems we have, socially, in this country today, come from lack of parental involvement. Many families are not able to exist on one income, so it is understandable that both parents work. You are in a good position, so take advantage of it. Later in life, you will be happy that you did.
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by HMdocinPA »

My wife works per-diem, makes ~15k/yr. She puts the max possible in her work 403b, I think it’s 80% per check, so she takes home very little but most of what she makes is federal tax deferred at this point, saving the 32% federal her income would be taxed at. This works nicely for our retirement savings goals, gives us more tax deferred space, and enables her to get out of the house while I watch our 3 kids.
BradJ
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by BradJ »

We have done both, and each has their pros and cons. The social aspect was tough, there’s just not a big community of stay at home parents (church seems to be a hub). Here is one thing we found out: you don’t save as much money as you think. My wife got cabin fever easy, so lunch and shopping went from a once a week event to three times.
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by Ron Ronnerson »

You remind me a bit of myself. My wife and I are both 44 and we’ve been doing this for the past year. We currently have a four-year-old and my wife wanted to spend some quality time with our daughter while she was still young. So, she stopped working last year when the kid was three. The plan had been for my wife to go back to work after our daughter started 1st grade since preschool and kindergarten would only be for three hours a day. However, we’re not sure if she will need to return to work. I make $110k and we’re saving half of that (I do include mortgage principal in this). Our net worth is currently around $1M and I am also expecting a pension of about $100k/year.

We thought about the fact that my wife’s social security could be quite a bit less if she stopped working but it like won’t matter much to us. You seem to be in a similar situation in that regard.

The loss of her income has been largely off-set by the savings in commuting and childcare costs as well as lower taxes. We only have one kid. In your situation, one spouse staying at home likely makes even more sense.

There is risk with only one income so give thought to your employability over the long term as well as your insurance needs. In my case, I’m a tenured teacher so chances of a job loss are reduced by a decent amount. We also have 30-year term life insurance for both of us.

I recently asked my wife if she misses working and she said, “not really – I’m too busy!” If things change, perhaps she’ll work again at some point. It’s nice knowing she doesn’t have to, though.

I have found that many people chase money. In our household, we chase time. I love my job but also love the fact that the hours are very nice. Personally, we’re incredibly satisfied with our set up and there’s no way I’d want to give up our life for more money that we don’t really need.

I wish you and your family the best.
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by leeks »

RJC wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2019 7:34 pm How does the stay-at-home parent go back to work after raising the kids? That is a big gap in their resume.
If it has already been 12 years, the gap is already there. I doubt it would make much difference if the gap was 12 years vs 20.

Yes, it will be a restart of a career (or maybe a new career) rather than a continuation. But plenty of parents return to work after a gap for child raising. I have had one as a boss and one as a college professor, both of whom had taken 10+ years completely out of the workforce. I have had several as coworkers. I will likely be one at some point. It is not uncommon.
BradJ
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by BradJ »

Ron Ronnerson wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2019 8:18 pm
I have found that many people chase money. In our household, we chase time.
I love that. One thing we figured out when my wife stayed home- there is no down time, always something to be done. I used to wonder why some people didn’t go back to work when kids went to school, but we figured out quickly that the to-do list never ends.
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by Careful »

Biggest downside is if the breadwinner is laid off and unable to find similarly-earning new job or if there is a divorce or if breadwinner becomes disabled. (And make sure breadwinner has lots of life insurance.)
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teen persuasion
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by teen persuasion »

RJC wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2019 7:34 pm How does the stay-at-home parent go back to work after raising the kids? That is a big gap in their resume.
Well, in my case, they called ME up and asked if I'd be interested in a position, completely out of the blue. In retrospect, I'd chaired the fundraising committee for them for a few years previously, so I wasn't a completely unknown entity. Volunteering can work wonders for networking. And for boredom.
trustquestioner
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by trustquestioner »

Saving $75k on $130k with 4 kids? That’s borderline impossible.
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by TheMadEph »

theplayer11 wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2019 6:15 pm always best for a parent to raise their kids
I think you meant to say:
"In my experience, it was best for the entire family that the kids were raised by a stay at home parent, but YMMV"

Then, if you had some potential downsides that you saw (and navigated around) you could share those with OP, to answer their question directly.
happy to help!
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by jbranx »

{This topic is now in Personal Finance (Not Investing)}
drawpoker
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by drawpoker »

teen persuasion wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2019 5:39 pm Does/will the SAHP have 40 quarters paid in to be eligible for Medicare?
A non-working spouse doesn't need 40 quarters; he/she is automatically eligible for Part A coverage (free) through the earnings of working spouse.

Everyone, regardless of work history, has to pay the monthly Part B premiums, so that is not a factor in this.
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by Starfish »

theplayer11 wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2019 6:15 pm always best for a parent to raise their kids
I personally don't understand the mentality of staying at home parents.
It might be my upbringing. Growing up I have almost never seen such thing, actually there was a neighbor with a SAHM and my mother told be explicitly not to play with him because what can he learn from a housewife? (the kid was ok, but it was the general mentality).
I grew up only with my mother (divorced when I was 2, never got in another relationship), she had a very demanding and stressful managerial job, stayed at work 12h a day, half day Saturdays and once or twice a month the entire night.

By the way, I had a great childhood and youth. Like really awesome and impossible to replicate nowdays. I was also in national math and physics Olympiads, got a phd, I am mildly successful etc. My wife and all my childhood friends, some more successful than me, grew up with working parents.
Both me and my wife work and commute, and never crossed our minds to do otherwise. We have a 7 year old. He seems ok.

So I would say your experience is very limited.
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by RickBoglehead »

Starfish wrote: Sun Apr 28, 2019 1:24 am
theplayer11 wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2019 6:15 pm always best for a parent to raise their kids
I personally don't understand the mentality of staying at home parents.
It might be my upbringing. Growing up I have almost never seen such thing, actually there was a neighbor with a SAHM and my mother told be explicitly not to play with him because what can he learn from a housewife? (the kid was ok, but it was the general mentality).
I grew up only with my mother (divorced when I was 2, never got in another relationship), she had a very demanding and stressful managerial job, stayed at work 12h a day, half day Saturdays and once or twice a month the entire night.

By the way, I had a great childhood and youth. Like really awesome and impossible to replicate nowdays. I was also in national math and physics Olympiads, got a phd, I am mildly successful etc. My wife and all my childhood friends, some more successful than me, grew up with working parents.
Both me and my wife work and commute, and never crossed our minds to do otherwise. We have a 7 year old. He seems ok.

So I would say your experience is very limited.
Could not disagree more, especially with your mother's viewpoint.
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jharkin
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Location: Boston suburbs

Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by jharkin »

These threads always fill up with posts where members project there own personal experience as the only possible “correct” choice.


Reality....
OP amassing 1.5mm on 130k is impressive.
OP won’t need anywhere near 5MM to retire.
So you have options... do what feels right.


In our case my wife was SAHM until ours where in first grade then back to work. And she got lucky to land a job in the town public schools so after school care is no problem.

I see benefits to young children being raised by parents not nannies, but I also see benefits to both parents working (social, life satisfaction, etc not just financial). But it’s not always cut and dry because not everyone makes the 1%er big salaries that make it easy to dismiss a nanny cost as “cheap”
Last edited by jharkin on Sun Apr 28, 2019 5:58 am, edited 2 times in total.
BradJ
Posts: 420
Joined: Sun Jan 21, 2018 6:06 pm

Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by BradJ »

RickBoglehead wrote: Sun Apr 28, 2019 3:53 am
Starfish wrote: Sun Apr 28, 2019 1:24 am
theplayer11 wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2019 6:15 pm always best for a parent to raise their kids
I personally don't understand the mentality of staying at home parents.
It might be my upbringing. Growing up I have almost never seen such thing, actually there was a neighbor with a SAHM and my mother told be explicitly not to play with him because what can he learn from a housewife? (the kid was ok, but it was the general mentality).
I grew up only with my mother (divorced when I was 2, never got in another relationship), she had a very demanding and stressful managerial job, stayed at work 12h a day, half day Saturdays and once or twice a month the entire night.

By the way, I had a great childhood and youth. Like really awesome and impossible to replicate nowdays. I was also in national math and physics Olympiads, got a phd, I am mildly successful etc. My wife and all my childhood friends, some more successful than me, grew up with working parents.
Both me and my wife work and commute, and never crossed our minds to do otherwise. We have a 7 year old. He seems ok.

So I would say your experience is very limited.
Could not disagree more, especially with your mother's viewpoint.
Same here. My mom was the hardest worker I ever met (worked an outside, physical job), not to mention tough as nails. She had plenty of opinions she wasn’t afraid to share, one of them being the optimal set up being one parent works while the other stays home. Because we have done both, I think kids will be just fine as long as they come home to loving parent (s). I will say this, as a husband/father I found myself more focused at work knowing my kids were with their mom. Oh, and the social aspect people warn you about is untrue....both of my kids are extroverts. So what can someone learn from a “housewife”? Selflessness, patience and how to truly multitask.
Naismith
Posts: 416
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by Naismith »

Leemiller wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2019 6:35 pm Much of the work being done by the SAH parent can be outsourced at a lower cost, eg, maid or part-time nanny.
This may depend on where you live. I always had cleaning help once I returned to the workforce, and was shocked that a friend who is faculty in the state of Washington could not find reliable/affordable cleaning help where she lives.

Also, I have a friend who was the custodial parent of a few children, one of whom became ill. He could not find sufficient domestic help, so he had to ask his ex-wife to come back and help for a few years.

My daughters have great professional careers. As a mom at home who handled the family finances, I always tried to seek a woman first if I needed any service--orthodontist, care salesman, insurance agent, etc. So my girls were exposed to many different role models.
Jack FFR1846
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

What we found:

Contrary to what we thought, car miles on wife's car INCREASED from 12k a year to 18k a year.

DW needed a break now and then so put kids into a part time day care. More money to pay.

College costs money. DW went back per diem at 1/3 what she left a nursing management job making. Nurses cannot just go back to work. Everyone wants to see a year of recent clinical work on the resume.

No second 401k to add to (at her job, must be part time 32 hours to get that).

Retirement date may be pushed out to pay for college (I've done that).
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GoldenFinch
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Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by GoldenFinch »

RickBoglehead wrote: Sun Apr 28, 2019 3:53 am
Starfish wrote: Sun Apr 28, 2019 1:24 am
theplayer11 wrote: Sat Apr 27, 2019 6:15 pm always best for a parent to raise their kids
I personally don't understand the mentality of staying at home parents.
It might be my upbringing. Growing up I have almost never seen such thing, actually there was a neighbor with a SAHM and my mother told be explicitly not to play with him because what can he learn from a housewife? (the kid was ok, but it was the general mentality).
I grew up only with my mother (divorced when I was 2, never got in another relationship), she had a very demanding and stressful managerial job, stayed at work 12h a day, half day Saturdays and once or twice a month the entire night.

By the way, I had a great childhood and youth. Like really awesome and impossible to replicate nowdays. I was also in national math and physics Olympiads, got a phd, I am mildly successful etc. My wife and all my childhood friends, some more successful than me, grew up with working parents.
Both me and my wife work and commute, and never crossed our minds to do otherwise. We have a 7 year old. He seems ok.

So I would say your experience is very limited.
Could not disagree more, especially with your mother's viewpoint.
Also, I’m pretty sure based on previous posts that the OP is talking about her stay-at-home husband, so her four kids have the example of a mom at work away from home and a dad at work caring for them in the home. Just as there are many roads to Dublin and financial independence, there are many roads to a good childhood. :happy
dcabler
Posts: 1567
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:30 am

Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by dcabler »

Similar to what others had said. Originally, we weren't going to have any kids. Both of us worked in Tech. Both maximized our 401K's and we lived off of one paycheck and 100% saved the other.

Then in our late 30's, we decided to go for it and we had a daughter. DW worked up until about a month before DD was born. DD is now about to graduate high school.

The effects.
1. Less savings. If we had gone the childcare route, our salaries were still such that we would have been ahead, financially.
2. Less SS. Wife worked enough such that her SS check on her own work history will be greater than if it were based only on mine. She did have a part time job for the last year and a half and that alone, made a noticeable difference in her projected SS benefits. Still significantly less than mine, though.

We did make sure that I had an appropriate amount of life insurance to replace enough of my income through college years. Also life insurance on DW to make sure that childcare could be provided, especially during the younger years.

That said, the pros have overwhelmed the cons. Having DW be a SAHM we think was ideal for our DD, we still saved a lot, and are still on track to retire within the next 1's of years.
winterfan
Posts: 239
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 11:06 am

Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by winterfan »

One downside to consider is that the stay at home parent will probably end up doing more household chores than they are used to. I've been a working parent and a SAH parent. Both are busy and both have their perks/disadvantages. I think you have plenty of money to do this if you want.
DarthSage
Posts: 371
Joined: Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:39 am

Re: What are the cons of always being a one parent working household?

Post by DarthSage »

I've been home for 23 years now. Every time I glance in the direction of a part-time job, my DH seems to get slammed with some emergency that requires 80-hour work weeks. His industry has shutdowns where he works 12-hour days for weeks (6 on, 1 off). I used to work in the same field, so two parents doing this would be untenable.

We have 4 kids. One is launched, but the second one has special needs. I do all of the housework, but also all of the kid-schlepping, from dance to the dentist to after-school pick-up. My doing so frees up Dh to concentrate on his career, and not have to worry about how stuff at home gets done.

It's certainly not the right choice for everyone, but it's worked for us.

We reached the 2-comma club a few years back, mostly on our 401ks/IRAs. I invested a lot in mine prior to leaving the workplace, and it's grown substantially. We live fairly simply--while we take vacations, we rarely eat out, we drive inoffensive vehicles, our house isn't "fancy".
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