Many couples struggle with the thought of just one of them staying at home with their children, but I say, “Why not both?” In this day and age, it’s becoming unheard of for a spouse to forgo their income to stay at home with their child, but in my opinion, becoming a dual-stay-at-home couple is becoming easier than ever !
My fiance and I have tossed around the idea of one of us staying home with our future children, raising them how we see fit. And can you guess the response that our friends give us? “If one of you stay at home instead of working, you won’t have any money and you won’t be able to do anything.” Some of you might share the same view – and I’d say that you’re incredibly narrow minded. Seriously, get your head out of that box you were brought up in and start thinking for yourself for a change.
I mean think about it. More and more jobs are becoming available online, and the working day is becoming increasingly flexible with each passing year! If you and your spouse wanted to create an income source from home, do you think this would be possible? Of course!
The Benefits of Stay at Home Parenting
Before we dive into the details of how both parents could potentially stay at home (yes, at the same time), we should probably first discover the benefits of doing so. So why would any couple want to be around the house all day in order to raise their children together?
Have you ever stopped to think about how much your job influences the rest of your life? If you’re expected to be at work from 8:00am until 5:00pm every weekday, but decided it was more important to watch your son’s tennis tournament on a whim so you skipped work, that probably wouldn’t go over too well would it? How about if you have one certain busy week a month, but you’d really like to take a vacation during that week instead. This sounds like a career limiting move to me!
If you want true freedom with your spouse and with your children, then you really need to ditch that traditional job. This would allow you to go to the park, explore local museums, or even travel overseas – and not just once a year, you could take a trip every couple of months! I know, I know…two stay at home parents wouldn’t have the money for that…. Ummm, yes, they could…easily. Just keep your mind open for a few more minutes here.
2) Training Your Children Together
Instead of just one parent doing all the child-rearing (or allowing the daycare to do all the work for you), wouldn’t two of you do a much better job? Of course! We already know that single parented children often fare worse than those who have two regular parents in the home, so having two parents that were around more often would likely equate to a more loved and productive child.
Plus, think about all the first that you are your spouse will be able to witness together:
- the first roll over
- the first crawl
- the first words
- the first steps!
3) Show Your Children Firsthand What’s Possible
While kids do ask some pretty dumb questions sometimes, they are still quite perceptive. If they see you and your spouse at home every day while their friends’ parents all work 50 hours a week, they’ll probably raise an eyebrow and ask, “Mom? Dad? What’s the deal? Why does everyone else have to work, but you don’t have to?”
These are the opportunities you’ll have with your children, and you’ll be able to teach them exactly how you were able to become stay at home parents.
How to Become Stay at Home Parents
So how is it possible for both parents to stay at home with their children? It’s pretty simple really. If you want to become stay at home parents, these are the steps I would take:
This one might sound a little harsh, but there are so many people postponing parenthood to pursue a fancy career already, which they then continue to pursue after having their child later in life (which probably won’t work out well for those children by the way). So, why not put those same efforts into your career throughout your 20’s, but do it with the mindset of leaving it once you hit 30?
We all have friends that had kids when they were still teenagers or in their early 20’s. Unless they had parents that handed over a huge trust fund, almost all of these young parents had a rough time financially. They had debt, they had baby expenses, and for the most part they were living paycheck to paycheck. While it is possible to become stay at home parents when you’re young, it certainly isn’t easy. It’s by far more simple to become stay at home parents when you’re between 30 and 35 years of age.
2) Live on far less than you earn
It’s not enough just to make big money in your career. You have to learn to stash away a large portion of cash at the same time – like over 50% of your income each year. Again, this isn’t easy, but it’s certainly possible. To succeed in this, it’s best to:
- Get rid of all your debts (even your mortgage)
- Live as simply as possible (cheap cars, very little eating out, and no $150/month cable bill)
- Ignore your huge stash of cash and just keep adding to it
My fiance and I currently drive a 2001 Honda Civic and a 2001 Dodge Intrepid, we have no house payments, and we have no plans to upgrade our lifestyles anytime soon. At the end of each month, we have far more money than we need to survive and we simply put this cash into savings. It’s not sexy, it isn’t complicated, but it makes a heck of a lot of sense if we would ever decide to become stay at home parents.
3) Build up a hefty retirement fund
If you and your spouse would like to become stay at home parents, then I would suggest you beef up your retirement accounts now and simply let them grow once you leave your job. If you were able to put away $10,000 a year (with the help of some company matching probably) from the age of 23 until 32, you will have saved $156,000 by the time you left. By leaving it there to grow for the next 30 years (without contributing a cent), guess how much this would grow into? $2,300,000. Yeah, that’s right, $2.3 million. By doing this, you can officially check the box for your retirement income. You’re all set.
4) Create a regenerating income source
Here’s the final piece of the puzzle if you and your spouse want to become stay at home parents. You’ll have to generate some sort of income to survive on until you retire. Lucky for you, there are plenty of ways to do this outside of a traditional job!
With the additional money that you’re earning during your young, sparkling career, you should be putting away as much as possible toward a future regenerative income. If you earn $70,000 a year, do your best to put away $30,000. If you earn more, then put away more. If you earn less, then do the absolute best you can. You don’t have to earn $70,000 a year in your 20’s to become stay at home parents, so don’t write off this idea just yet.
So what are the different ways to earn an income outside of a traditional job? From my perspective currently, I see three ways:
- Portfolio Income
- Passive Income
- Stay-at-Home Business
Portfolio income is simply income from investments outside of your retirement account (you don’t want to touch that until you’re 60+ years old). Some early retirees focused on putting massive amounts of money into the stock market and bond market when they were younger, and then simply withdrew the funds little by little to support their lifestyles.
This method could work if you want to become stay at home parents as well. If you trust the stock market (FYI, I certainly don’t put all of my faith in the market – you’ll take note of that in the next income source explanation), then you could invest a large portion of your money there and live off the dividends and from your small withdrawals. In order to become stay at home parents, you’ll probably want to sock away at least $500,000. With this amount, you could comfortably withdraw $25,000 per year to live on. It’s not a ton, but it’s doable. As you may have guessed though, this is probably not the best way to become stay at home parents.
Passive income is created when you either put in a lot of time or spend some money to create an income that continually generates money even when you stop working. The most famous form of passive income is through real estate investing. Simply purchase a piece of property, rent it out to someone that wants to live there, and collect the paychecks each month. There’s obviously more to it than that, but all in all, it’s a fairly hand-free investment. Invest $100,000 to earn approximately $10,000 a year. If you’d like to earn $50,000 a year, then you’ll probably have to invest in $500,000 worth of properties.
Other forms of passive income are:
- Renting out farm land
- Writing a song and collecting royalties
- Writing a book and earning money from each sale
- Designing a product and collecting royalties
- Develop a website that generates digital sales (such as an eBook or eCourse)
- Build up a business and develop a system so it can run itself (through employees of course)
If passive income or portfolio don’t wet your appetite, there’s still one more way to become stay at home parents: developing a stay-at-home business. While an at home business can generate a decent amount of income, remember why you’re doing it – to become stay at home parents, not stay at home workoholics that sit behind a closed door all day.
Some great stay at home businesses that still allow you to do all that cool parenting stuff are:
- Running a blog: DIY, mommy, personal finance, and exercise blogs are all hot right now
- Selling a product – either through eBay or out of your garage
- Photography – snapping the photos might take you away from the family 2-3 days a month, but the editing can all be done from home!
- Running a greenhouse and selling your food/flowers/shrubs from the local market
- Run a Bed and Breakfast – you’ll make money and your children will meet people from all walks of life
The Breakdown: How to Become Stay at Home Parents
It’s quite obvious that not every single one of you is 20 years old and has the time to implement each of these steps perfectly, but the great news is that you can become stay at home parents through many different avenues. If you’re young and make a bunch of money, great! Stash it all away to you can have many options when you get older. If you don’t have much money and are already in your 30s, that’s okay! Just get working and develop that business that can generate money on its own. No matter where you’re at in life, you can still take action today to become stay at home parents tomorrow.
I’m not exactly sure what I’m going to do when I have children. Maybe Liz and I will both enjoy working and we’ll send Jr. off to daycare. Or, maybe we’ll be so in love with him/her that we’ll be fighting over who will get to stay home (and then we might both become stay at home parents)! Whatever the case may be, it sure is nice to have options. I encourage you to do the same. You might not think you’ll want to become stay at home parents today, but everything could change in just a few years!
Would you like to become stay at home parents? How will you do it?