I recently worked with a successful woman “Lisa” who found out she was pregnant. One of the first questions she and her husband were discussing were the finances of staying at home or going back to work. She was a high earner so after childcare, she would still have a great deal left over. However, another client “Kaye” doesn’t earn as much and would not have much left over after paying for childcare. What should they do?
WHAT IS THE ANSWER?
There is no right or wrong answer in “Mommy Math” for going back to work. Unless you are a high-income earner, the childcare usually leaves very little left over. HOWEVER… if you would like to work, you should consider the following points (often not considered). When you are working you are able to continue saving for your retirement, continue contributing to social security and eventually when you have more time (i.e. children are in school) you are able to easily stay in the work force. I’ve often suggested stay-at-home moms take on consulting or freelance projects (if they can) – again to keep their foot in the workforce door. The extra money is important as well!
ADVICE FOR NEW MOMS
Don’t forget about yourselves financially. Keep contributing to YOUR retirement. If you don’t work, create a spousal IRA. If you work but aren’t earning as much money, open a ROTH or Traditional IRA. If you have your own business, open a SEP IRA. If you work for a company, continue contributing to your 401k. Most women drop their retirement savings right away and don’t get back to it for years. They end up with a much smaller retirement savings than their spouses and need more money due to living longer than men.
TOP 5 BUDGET CONSIDERATIONS
Consider these VERY IMPORTANT BUDGET line items, after the baby comes, when considering going back to work versus staying at home:
2) Continuing to save for retirement
3) Making sure the emergency savings account is still filled up for 3-6 months of expenses
4) College savings
5) Savings non-emergency (such as vacation, birthday parties, new furniture)
What are your thoughts on Mommy Math? What are your top 5 considerations? Comment on it below.