cost of being a SAHM

The Economic Cost of Being a SAHM

Here’s one calculation of the cost of being a SAHM.If a woman making 50k a year leaves the workforce for three years to take care of a child, the lost wages and retirement benefits equal up to about half a million dollars.

Half a million dollars.

For. Three. Years.

What about five years. Ten? What about if you never got a career going at all because you had your first child right out of high school or college?

Now, if you are in a steady marriage where the other person works a super fabulous job, there are Social Security benefits paid to spouses. And you could get some version of an IRA (individual retirement account) up and running.

Yes, go on, set up an IRA with all those unallocated funds you’ve got left over from your 17 dollar an hour job (17 an hour if you’re lucky, which if you are a woman it is likely you aren’t).

So what to do? Stay at home, tend the home fires and hope your partner doesn’t leave you in midlife? And what about women who try to go back to work after their kids are in school? Their time at home is rarely if ever seen as worthy of being put on a resume let alone accepted as genuine work experience.

Having a person stay home and raise kids occupies a strange place in our society. We praise it to the heavens on one hand then do relatively nothing to help make it happen on the other.

Good for you for staying home!

Figure out the financial mess it’s going to make of your life on your own!

It’s like society enjoys the fruits of the SAHM’s labor free of charge.

And just in case you are a working mom, here’s a little nugget for you. I pulled it straight from a PBS article by Kristen Doerer:

It’s worth noting here the pay gap research of Michelle Budig, a sociology professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Budig found that among parents who keep working, women were penalized for having a kid — 4 percent for each child they have — while men are rewarded with a pay bump of 6 percent.

The moral of the story? For women, having kids in America makes absolutely zero financial sense. Paul Ryan can take his demand that women make more babies and shove it up his speakership.

2 replies
  1. Heather
    Heather says:

    Preach! I have lived in this bubble for 20 years, which I sometimesvsay proudly, but other times sheepishly profess. Other stay at home moms have things to talk to me about at cocktail parties, and the fact that I’ve taken up running gives the working women, some moms but some not, a topic to chat with me about. The men? Oh no, because how could they ever have anything in common in one of my kind? It’s like a wear a sticker that says “I cook and clean.” I mean, by default, did I not only sacrifice my income and autonomy but also my intellect? Trust me, working humans, I am and have been equally as bored as you by my non-working status. That is, when I’m not too exhausted taking care of them, or in a brief but happy space in time, like when they were charming and said cute things and smelled like Christmas. Otherwise I’m here, trying to climb out of my den, scaling a Rocky Mountain, looking for a trace of life outside. I’ve been doing this class by class, lamenting all I didn’t know about life, back when I thought I knew enough. I have worn lab goggles, to leave class in time for car pool and to turn down the crock pot before I helped my fifth grader with his California mission project. I sent my first, and second, and third born off to college, while applying to nursing school. Then rooting them on with care packages, while I got rejected from nursing schools. I have transferred to my plan B program to pursue my degree so I can finally finish. The outside world loves SAHMs in theory and for the development of our humans, but they do sort of treat them like they’re contagious. With what-? I want to ask. Yes I’m articulate, well-read, dedicated, a multi-talker. I’m disciplined, organized, an above average communicator. I am a team builder, I have fundraising experience in the school district, I have been part of school site council; I’ve held office. I can write, I listen, Practice time-management, get along well with others, and love to invest in my work. II have experience rebranding, marketing and sales, and advocating for others. I work well under pressure. How did I acquire these skills the last 20 years? Oh, who knows…probably when I was just a stay at home mom.

    • Felicia
      Felicia says:

      Wow, well said Heather! There are so many truths in this comment, I feel like you should write a blog post for us! Let’s talk…


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