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August 02, 2021

The pros and cons of being a stay-at-home parent

According to the Child Care Advocacy Association of Canada (CCAAC), child care fees are typically the second highest cost to families next to housing.

Not only that, over 70 per cent of mothers are in the work force and yet there are only enough child care spaces for about 20 per cent of the families who need them.

Consider a single parent working at a job with minimum wage. The cost of child care far outweighs the income earned.

You hear many people sneering about parents on social assistance. Why go to work when the money you earn goes towards someone else to watch your children? Why not stay home on government assistance and have the benefit of being with your children?

Now, I'm not suggesting that I agree with this concept. I am merely stating a fact that something needs to be done in our system to make it more financially feasible to enter the workforce and to be able to have affordable, quality child care while you are there.

With the high cost of child care, it's no wonder many families are opting to stay at home and figure out a way to make it work financially.

The Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) website states that the amount of time we spend at work affects our time available for other activities including caring for family members, learning, leisure, volunteering and even rest.

However, it notes that employment also affects earnings and contributes to the overall economic productivity.

Just as the HRSDC states, employment does affect the time we have available for family.

Just think about child care while you're away at work.

More on MSN:

Whether you're a single parent or married, your child is being raised by someone else under their values and rules while you're labouring away at your job each day.

When my children were born I was entitled to a six-month maternity leave at my place of employment...not near enough time to wean her and introduce her to a bottle so a caregiver could tend to her feedings.

And not only that, the caregiver is the one who is hearing your child's first words, seeing your child's first step while you're missing all the milestones toiling away at work.

After my second child was born with special needs, I left my job to be able to care for her and to take her to all her appointments.

It wasn't easy living on one income. It took a toll on us financially and I eventually began to take in some freelance work from home to make ends meet.

Besides the benefits of being home with your child, there are other financial benefits. Just think -- you can save on transportation costs to and from work, cut out those morning coffees on the way to work, lunch costs at work, drycleaning those work clothes and it might even put you into a lower tax bracket.

There are many tools you can use for your stay-at-home budget.

Kids grow up so fast. In a blink of an eye they are graduating high school, going off to university, moving out and getting married.

It is a shame to have to miss their early years because of the almighty dollar.

By Donna Donaldson, MSN Money

Are you a stay-at-home parent? Why did you choose to stay at home? How have you been able to make it work financially?



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...