Being a Stay-At-Home-Parent has a lot of fun perks but it is also a challenge. I've partnered with Krista from Evolve Capital to share 19 tips every stay at home parent should know. Krista is a certified financial planner who has a passion for working with young families. She enjoys finding products and solutions for you and your family. Krista prides herself on offering products tailored to your needs, avoiding high minimums and one size fits all products.
This post is sponsored by Evolve Capital but as always my thoughts and opinions remain my own.
Your Credit is Your Credit. There are misconceptions about how credit works when you get married and while the actions you make as a couple towards paying bills could reflect on both of you (if the bills are joint) you still have a lot of control over your credit. Control you should keep.
Negative Credit Could Hurt. If one or both of you have negative credit, this may affect your ability to get a mortgage or other loan. All the more reason for you to keep yours current and in good standing.
Keep Your Credit Cards. Having credit cards in your own name is your ability to build your own credit history. Without credit history your ability to get your own credit for any reason may be severely hindered.
Don’t Go Crazy. Having credit cards in your name is a great start. But this doesn’t mean maxing them out. Just like before you decided to stay home, you need to be careful with your credit. This also means not having a lot of credits cards.
Put Your Name on the Loans. Don’t let your spouse be the only person on the loan. Having your name on the loan is also a great way to build credit.
Glorious Me Time. It may seem silly to other people, it may seem silly to your spouse, but we all know, staying home is hard. Of course it is totally amazing to be with our little ones, but there are many other facets to your emotional self that need love and attention.
Remember You. It may be hard to remember who you were before you decided to stay home. But you were a person with interests. Take some time to do something you enjoy, just for you.
Resentment. That twinge of anger you feel towards your spouse is normal. Studies show stay at homes feel more anger and sadness than working parents. Those working part time say they experience more family guilt and career regret than either working parents or stay at homes.
It Cuts Both Ways. While you may have some unpleasant feelings towards you spouse for getting to go to work, the grass is not always greener. Your spouse may feel more pressure to perform and work harder to provide for the family. They may feel you have the better end of the deal, not fully appreciating the work it takes to stay home.
Know Your Worth. You bring value to the equation. In the 614 daycare for two babes could run you $2,500 a month. Just let that sink in the next time you are feeling a little down. Beyond that, you run a home, cook, clean, love, kiss. You have worth.
WORK & RETIREMENT
Don’t Burn Bridges. It may be tempting to just walk out of your job and never look back. But you may need that job one day. It is far easier and more pleasant to leave things on good terms, in case you ever need that bridge again.
Stay Sharp. Because you may need that job again, you should keep your skills fresh. Keep on top of trends and technology in your industry. Should you ever need or want to reenter the workforce, you won’t feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle.
Don’t Forget About Your 401k. You may decide to leave your 401k where it is, or roll it into an IRA. But do not forget about it. You need to ensure it is invested correctly for you and you definitely need to update your beneficiaries.
Don’t Just Cross Your Fingers. There are a lot of balls you are juggling and it may be easy to just let some go hoping they will take care of themselves. While this may be acceptable for some things, do not let this be the case for your retirement. You and your spouse need a plan to save for your retirement too. 75% of stay at homes plan to rely on their spouse's income for retirement, which may not be enough (and if marital bliss ends in divorce, it certainly won’t be enough to support two households). The IRS allows for you to save too and you absolutely should.
DOUBLE Ds (DEATH & DIVORCE)
Death or Divorce. While a really unpleasant thought, one of these things may happen to you. Be prepared. Know the plan for you and your family. Put the proper tools in place now so you won’t be kicking yourself later. This includes ensuring your assets are jointly titled and having the basic estate documents in place.
Be an Active Participant. Just because you stay at home does not mean you have no voice or no say. Do not allow yourself to take a backseat to your household finances because one day you may find yourself at the helm and you do not want to have to figure it all out then.
Life Insurance. Remember that aforementioned cost to put two children in daycare? Remember you have value? Having life insurance on you is just as important as your spouse. The cost to replace your skillset could be devastating. Prepare for it.
Peace Out Fund. More than just an emergency fund. A Peace Out fund (an account in just your name) affords you the ability to peace out of any situation quickly. Never be beholden to an unsafe or unhappy situation.
Divorce May Surprise You. No one wants their marriage to end this way, but if it does, choosing to stay home may put you in a more vulnerable situation. Besides the worry of the impact to your children you are now at the mercy of your spouse and strangers to decide your fate. There have been documented court cases where the stay at home spouse has been admonished for staying home and have not been granted any alimony. This is a harsh reality, and one you should prepare yourself for. By staying current with your skills, staying on top of your credit and your finances you will be much better equipped to weather this storm.