Nine of every 10 U.S. families with children have at least one working parent.1 Though working parents make up one of the largest demographic groups in the country, they face many challenges—from the cost of childcare to inconvenient scheduling issues. There are a few steps working parents may wish to take to smooth the path ahead, both financially and logistically. Read on to learn more about three important financial considerations for working parents.
The Costs of Convenience
When you’re spending much of your awake time at work, it doesn’t leave much time for household chores. It may be tempting to rely on takeout and other conveniences as a way to free up time. But it’s important to evaluate the financial cost of these conveniences to determine whether they’re worth it to you. You may find that services like grocery delivery are worth the cost while hiring a housecleaner isn’t—or vice versa.
It’s also worth brainstorming cost-effective things you could do over the weekend to cut time during the week, from meal prep to packing lunches to laying out outfits in advance. By taking some time to streamline your week ahead, you may be able to enjoy more time to relax after work.
Childcare may be one of the biggest expenses for many parents. Parents of infants pay an average of nearly $10,000 per year for full-time care.2 If possible, splitting shifts with your child’s other parent or another family member may mitigate the amount of time your child spends in care (and, therefore, the cost).
If your employer offers it as an option, you may also be able to use a dependent care flex spending account (FSA) to save pre-tax money for daycare expenses. For 2021, parents may save up to $5,000 pre-tax in a dependent care FSA.3
The Salary Impacts of Time Off
If you’re considering leaving the workforce to care for your children at home, it’s worth thinking of the long-term financial impact. Staying home may save a significant amount of money on childcare costs. However, if you work in an integrated industry (or one that relies on continuing education, like law, accounting, or medicine), it may be tough to jump back in full-time if you’ve spent a few years out of the workforce.
This shouldn’t be a deal-breaker if there are other good reasons to take time off, but it’s something to add to the pros/cons list when you’re deciding your short-term future as a working parent.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax advisor.
All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.
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