Does it pay to be a working mom? Finance expert says you should do the math

Is it worth it for working moms to stay at home with the children?

In 2010, the cost of putting two children in child care exceeded median annual rent payments in every state, according to Child Care Aware of America.

Once the costs of child care, commuting, and other work related expenses are factored in - many mothers are finding it doesn't pay to work.

And rising gas prices are making it even more difficult to make ends meet.

Certified Financial Planner Terry O'Grady, with Valic , offers some advice for figuring out the math.  

He suggests writing down all the things that you spend money on just for work.

Example:

Gas/Car maintenance - $5,000
Wardrobe- $2,500
Dry cleaning - $1,200
Lunches - $2,500
Coffee - $1,000
Daycare - $8,000
Total to walk out the door: $20,200

Will your after-tax take home pay be enough to cover your expenses? ($20,200 in this example)

If the additional household income is taxed at:

15% - then you need to make $24,000
25% - then you need to make $27,000
35% - then you need to make $31,000

But O'Grady points out that it's not always about the math. Can you put a price on the time spent with your children?

Ways to make staying at home pay:

Get on a budget
Get out of debt
Only have one car
Work from home: Freelance, tutor, daycare, etc.

If you're a single parent, while it's not likely you can stay home without household income, O'Grady says it's important to get your career on the fast track to earn more money.

Terry O'Grady can be contacted for financial inquiries at terry.o'grady@valic.com.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments