I read an interesting opinion piece recently by Duncan Garner about stay at home vs working mums. It got me thinking about the impact that maternity leave and leaving paid employment has on the family finances.
I have a young daughter (2 ½) who is in full time day care so that I can come to work. For my husband and I, having one of us stay home to care for her full time was just not a financially viable option.
So for those of you grappling with this extremely tough choice, here are some financial pros and cons to think about when making this decision. The emotional / developmental / family lifestyle pros and cons of this decision is a whole other (much more subjective) topic that I won’t even try to address in this post.
Staying at home
– no childcare costs
– possibly reduced petrol costs/transport going to/from work each day
– possibly reduced work related costs (coffees, lunches etc if you currently by them regularly when at work, clothes etc)
– you may qualify for Working for Families Tax Credits
– no income (from the person staying at home)
– you may not be able to afford to live in the same manner as you did previously
– you wont be eligible for any employer contributions to kiwisaver, even if you still keep contributing
– reduced money available to do activities with child(ren)
– increased power costs (especially in winter)
Going back to work
– an income
– your employer will be contributing to your kiwisaver (if you contribute)
– more disposable income to do activities with child(ren)
– the cost of childcare (it’s not cheap, and the 20 hrs free doesn’t kick in until the child turns 3). For some people this cost alone rules out them going back to work.
– work related costs (petrol/transport, clothes etc)
– you are less likely qualify for Working for Families Tax Credits (but may still qualify for something)
At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong answer. We all want to do what is best for our kids and our family and ultimately the choice YOU make for YOUR family will be the very best choice for your personal situation.