The Financial Benefits of a Stay-at-Home Parent

Losing a source of income stings, but it may not hurt your finances as much as you think.

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A stay-at-home mom is still a "working mom." Stanton says a number of stay-at-home parents feel many in the working class belittle what they do. "I call all moms 'working moms' because both employed moms and stay-at-home moms work," she says.

According to Stanton, a former stay-at-home mom herself, her husband was able to advance in his career because she stayed home to care for their kids, which gave him more job flexibility in terms of his hours and the ability to take business trips. "His 401(k) is as much mine as it is his," she says, adding she lost eight years of earnings by leaving the workforce.

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The bottom line. The decision for a spouse to become a stay-at-home parent has significant financial consequences. In many cases, losing a source of income is too much for a household to bear. However, for some families, the monetary benefits and the extra time spent with their children outweigh the costs.

For a rough estimate to see if your family can afford to have a spouse leave his or her job to take care of the children, see Parents.com's stay-at-home calculator (parents.com/app/stayathomecalculator).