First and foremost, I admit that I totally titled this blog post “Get back in the kitchen woman” primarily for the controversial draw it might bring. Second, yes that makes me a sellout. Third, a more accurate title would be “Get back in the kitchen…if that is where you want to be.” Fourth, Did I redeem myself…at least a little?
The biggest personal finance decision most couples will face (p.s. sorry if you are over personal finance topics that have to do with relationships) is not what house we buy or where our children will go to college, but whether or not one spouse will leave the work force and become a stay at home parent.
Let’s say you plan to have your spouse stay at home. Let’s also assume your spouse makes $40,000/year. That means every 5 years your spouse stays home, you lose out on $200,000 of income. If you are planning on popping out three or four kiddos, it could be 20+ years before your significant other looks to rejoin the workforce, resulting in an $800,000 loss of income. Holy Cow, did you just poop a little? I did. That’s a scary thought! Even scarier, that $800,000 figure doesn’t account for potential promotions or bonuses either, so we could be talking like a cool million gone baby gone!
Girl Ninja has always wanted to be a homemaker. In fact she has volunteered to quit her job numerous times so she can stay at home, shop, and lay out at the beach all day…isn’t she sweet? No, no she’s not. When it comes time to produce a million baby ninjas, I too would like her to play the role of the CFO (Chief Family Operator).
My excel spreadsheet tells me Girl Ninja and I can have our first kid sometime between June and August of 2013… just kidding, I don’t have a spreadsheet that dictates our lives that much…although I wouldn’t be surprised if some of you do? Okay, focus Ninja. In all seriousness it will probably be another two years before we consider parenthood. That gives us two years to prepare ourselves for a huge loss of income (about 35%).
What’s our plan you ask? Here’s what I got so far.
1) Stay out of debt.
2) Save as much of our income as possible (currently banking about $3,000/month).
3) Budget our expenses based off my income only, that way we wont be devastated when we lose Girl Ninja’s.
4) Explore other jobs. I love my job, but I bet there are other jobs I’d love too that would pay me more. My goal is to find something that would help recuperate the loss of Girl Ninja’s income.
5) Once baby Ninja comes along, reevaluate the stay at home mom gig. Are we happy with it? Does Girl Ninja feel trapped at home? Does she want to explore part time employment? Just because we both want her to stay at home now, doesn’t mean it will necessarily be that way forever. If she wants to work, she can work. If she wants to stay at home, she can stay at home.
6) If plans one through five aren’t working out, I have a backup plan: Sell our baby on E-bay. I’m thinking we could get at least $20,000 for baby ninja…any takers? Or you can “buy it now” for $19,500.
So that’s low down on stay at home parenting (haven’t I done a good job trying to remain gender neutral?). I can’t stress the importance of planning ahead and being aware of the financial costs associated with transitioning to a one income family. It’s a BIG FREAKIN’ DEAL!
Stay at home peeps: How did you and your spouse prepare for it? Was it super hard to adjust? Was there ever a period where you went back to work for a while? What would you have done differently?
Future Stay at home peeps: What are yo doing today to prepare for tomorrow? Are you living off just one persons income? How will you handle the income loss?
Dual Income peeps: How much does full time child care (per kid) every month? What are the pros and cons of keeping both parents in the workforce?
Peeps that don’t want kids: Sorry you had to read this article.
p.s. Girl Ninja turned 24 years old today! Woohooo. I’m real sad that I can’t be with her to celebrate Take a minute and wish her the best Ninja-free 24th birthday ever! Love you Girl Ninja!