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Requiring Spouse to Work?
Old 03-28-2013, 10:46 AM   #1
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Requiring Spouse to Work?

We are currently a one income family, as both my SO and I want to have a stay-at-home-parent while the kids are young. (Currently 4 & 1)

I work, and my spouse stays at home with the kids. SO also runs a small side biz that has posted a small loss ($2K) in the last year, but will likely make a bit this year ($1K-2K, maybe? Not sure.)

When the kids are older (both in school), I would either like to see the biz netting more than a few K, or for SO to take on part-time work.

Would it be unreasonable for me to think that SO should earn a certain amount, say 10K, when the kids are both in school?
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Old 03-28-2013, 11:09 AM   #2
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Would it be unreasonable for me to think that SO should earn a certain amount, say 10K, when the kids are both in school?
Honestly, it seems to me his or her opinion is more important than the sum of all the opinions you're going to get here.
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Old 03-28-2013, 11:15 AM   #3
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Honestly, it seems to me her opinion is more important than the sum of all the opinions you're going to get here.
+1, Michael.

If you have an intended financial goal in mind for your family, such that increased earnings will make a good contribution toward that goal, why not share this with your spouse and work on it together?
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Old 03-28-2013, 11:23 AM   #4
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Honestly, it seems to me her opinion is more important than the sum of all the opinions you're going to get here.

+1,000

OP:
Does your wife "require" that you earn a certain amount?

Bear in mind that by staying home with the children, your wife is currently making a financial contribution, to the tune of whatever you would otherwise be spending on childcare for two children - which is not an insubstantial amount.
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Old 03-28-2013, 11:37 AM   #5
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Honestly, it seems to me her opinion is more important than the sum of all the opinions you're going to get here.
+1

No way do I venture into this one
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Old 03-28-2013, 11:38 AM   #6
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"requiring" is such a strong word. I'd say its fair to expect an equal partnership based upon common goals. How that gets "split up" is something for the couple to determine.

Each partner should pull their fair weight; if that means one works outside the home and the other is the sole housekeeper, chore-doer, and stay at home parent, that's probably "fair". If one person works and the other eats bon-bons, that's not "fair" unless both partners agree that they want it that way.

"Fair" is an individual decision. If you feel that there is an imbalance you need to address it. Only the two of you can determine what is "fair".
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Old 03-28-2013, 11:49 AM   #7
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I find it interesting that responding posts thus far assume the stay at home adult is female.
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Old 03-28-2013, 11:51 AM   #8
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I find it interesting that responding posts thus far assume the stay at home adult is female.
+1

Daycare is expensive, and children in school do need sporadic daytime attention still.
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Old 03-28-2013, 11:52 AM   #9
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We are currently a one income family, as both my SO and I want to have a stay-at-home-parent while the kids are young. (Currently 4 & 1)

I work, and my spouse stays at home with the kids. SO also runs a small side biz that has posted a small loss ($2K) in the last year, but will likely make a bit this year ($1K-2K, maybe? Not sure.)

When the kids are older (both in school), I would either like to see the biz netting more than a few K, or for SO to take on part-time work.

Would it be unreasonable for me to think that SO should earn a certain amount, say 10K, when the kids are both in school?

you are asking for trouble
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Old 03-28-2013, 11:55 AM   #10
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I find it interesting that responding posts thus far assume the stay at home adult is female.
When we assume...

I edited my response above, no assumptions at all.
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Old 03-28-2013, 12:18 PM   #11
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Honestly, it seems to me his or her opinion is more important than the sum of all the opinions you're going to get here.
+1 The two of you need to actually talk to one another about things like division of labor around the house and working hours.

The idea is that both contribute an equal amount of effort, right? If so, then certainly if your SO and you decide that he/she should work more hours at a job, your workload around the house should also increase to the same extent.

The idea is that your SO would be responsible for less of the work around the house, and you would have a greater workload. My guess is that probably that wasn't what you had in mind, though I don't know you and I could very easily be completely wrong about that.
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Old 03-28-2013, 12:25 PM   #12
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My wife dropped out of the workforce "for a few years" when daughter 1 was born. 22 years later and, well, never got around to getting back into the work force.
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Old 03-28-2013, 12:30 PM   #13
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I find it interesting that responding posts thus far assume the stay at home adult is female.

My mistake. I completely misread the third "SO" as "she."

Obviously I should not post when I'm too tired to comprehend what I'm reading.
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Old 03-28-2013, 01:01 PM   #14
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I think if you are asking how much more time a stay at home parent has when the kids are in school all day, the answer for me was quite a bit more.

If your family could use the money, I think it isn't unreasonable to expect a healthy stay at home spouse to bring in at least a part time income once the kids are in grade school.

Personally I never quite understood the dynamics of the families we knew where money was tight for them and one spouse worked at a stressful job and yet one able bodied spouse went shopping, Jazzercise class and out to lunch with friends all day.
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Old 03-28-2013, 01:05 PM   #15
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I think the first discussion to have is the viability and practicality of spending time on a side business that is losing money or making so little that one would have to ask if it is really worth it? We should "require" you to have that discussion and report back on the results.
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Old 03-28-2013, 01:15 PM   #16
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In the vein of ER, you can always get there faster with 2 incomes. Just depends on the importance of balancing the kiddo's needs. We both worked when DD was in school. DW worked near home to accommodate needs of DD.

No regrets 16 years later. DD is doing better than expected and now we spend more time than ever.

We would never had ER'd if we didn't do this...in our 40's, at least.
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Old 03-28-2013, 01:18 PM   #17
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As several others have mentioned, the key here is for both of you to be on the same page with regards to both your overall financial goals and the division of duties with regard to home and kids.

For example, if SO is willing to do lots of things around the house that save $$ and also restrict discretionary personal spending and thus allow you to save as much as you agree on for retirement (after emergency fund, etc.), then there doesn't seem to be much point in "requiring" SO to earn $$.

Talk about it, write down a plan, and work the plan, with reviews together every 3-6 months to adjust as needed.
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Old 03-28-2013, 01:19 PM   #18
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Thanks all for the responses... and I get a kick out of the fact that a handful made assumptions about gender roles! I phrased my post with neutrality in mind, because I felt people would treat the situation differently based on the gender of the SAHP. So I'm going to keep it that way. Sorry to be annoying like that.

We do talk to one another about this kind of stuff. I was just curious how others felt, if others would want their abled spouse to work a certain amount or pitch in a certain amount, aka, make a certain amount, if he or she had the time to do so? IDK that I really think that my spouse should earn 10K or any amount, I just wonder if others feel it would be reasonable to do so.

I greatly value the child-rearing work that SO provides, as we could never get this level of quality care for any reasonable sum. But I'm talking about later, when kids are in school for 30 hours a week.

Things are pretty evenly split in terms of housework. I do all the house cleaning and laundry (cloth diapers! our youngest still uses them for nights and naps), SO handles cooking and dishes. I manage finances and arranging for stuff like utilities, SO does most of the grocery shopping. The way I see it, SO is also working all the hours that I am not in the house, but SO's job is raising kids and my job is corporate financial analysis. I can sometimes handle a phone call to the insurance company during my lunch break, and SO can sometimes get beans on the stove while watching the kids. FWIW, our kids watch zero TV; SO really spends most of the day with them, not sitting around eating bon bons like people sometimes assume SAHPs do. We are both comfortable with the division of duties currently. So let's assume non-monetized work will continue to be shared at reasonable proportions in the future.

We have joint financial goals, like saving aggressively for retirement and continuing to live below our means. But where we differ is that I would like to be financially independent in as short a time as possible and quit megacorp, and SO is doesn't mind "working" longer- at something that SO loves, but that something also makes no money now and could possibly make some later, but we are not sure how much. Can we both have it all? Maybe. We both hope this side biz takes off, but in the event that it doesn't, I feel like SO should take on part time work, with hours that work around the kids' schedules. In other words, I don't want SO to work 25 hours a week at this biz to net $3K, if SO can work whatever job for 25 hours a week and make 10K. Of course there is a value in doing what you love, but it is hard to quantify that, and that doesn't help me quit my work any sooner.
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Old 03-28-2013, 01:19 PM   #19
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My mistake. I completely misread the third "SO" as "she."

Obviously I should not post when I'm too tired to comprehend what I'm reading.

it does not matter if SO is male or female.

He's still asking for trouble
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Old 03-28-2013, 01:32 PM   #20
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it does not matter if SO is male or female.

He's still asking for trouble

I checked the OP's profile, and it identifies the OP as female.

Regardless of the gender(s) involved (different, same) I tend to agree about the asking for trouble part!
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