First, your household can be highly taxed on the second income. If the mother were to work on her own and pay taxes, part of it would be taxed on the lower brackets. But because the salary comes on top of another income, it will be taxed at the highest rate, diminishing the final take home pay. When you think you make $2,000 a month, you actually have to look at the final number, when all taxes are paid.
Next, having two working parents often involves extra expenses. You have to get a second car, or a transit pass, for the parent to go to work. You have to pay for day care, which can mean thousands of dollars every month if you live in a high cost of living area. You also need to dress up for work, pay for lunches and other expenses, such as contributing for a colleague’s birthday, charity… Your second car comes with insurance, maintenance, repairs, and gas. Sometimes, you will be too tired to cook, and will end up paying for expensive take out or a restaurant, when you would have prepared a nice meal had there been more time.
You also get paid a certain amount if extra hours are not in the picture, that shrinks every day you stay longer at work because you need to finish a project or have a team meeting. So while the hourly rate may seem attractive, you need to take into account all the extra time you spend at work, as well as the time you commute every day, or bring a folder back home to work late at night.
You will need to hire people to do all the things you can’t do because you work. Someone to upkeep your garden, tutor the kids, move your furniture or walk your dog.
Finally, when it comes to the work a stay at home parent accomplishes for the family, you are pretty much getting a free driver, personal shopper, manager… being at home leaves more time to look for deals, cook homemade meals, find cheaper holidays, and save the family a lot of time, which we all know is money.
Before deciding to keep working or become a stay at home parent, you should really crunch the numbers, and the end result might not be what you expect. In any case, stay at home mom deserve way more credit than they get for all the work they do, which is often looked over because “it’s not a real job”. It is. You are the head of your own little company, and if you do the job properly, the loss in salary can be more than made up with all the savings that comes with having you at home.
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