Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Pro's and Con's of Being a Sole-Breadwinner

When my first child was born in 1999, my wife and I made the decision that she would stay home from work, at least for a while. My wife worked for a major bank of America (ahem), working in human resources. When the layoff notices associated with a merger came out, she volunteered to go on the list. With almost 15 years service, her severance package was really nice. At the same time, she had a network of consultants that hired her to do a couple projects that kept a nice side income running.

But life being what it is, the side jobs petered out and the lion's share of our income soon came from my job. In the intervening years, a second child was born and my wife has decided to work a variety of work-from-home jobs for a little extra money. We've also experienced a nice run in my career that was followed by a dramatic layoff and career-renassaince (you can't keep a good man down!).

So, we've EXPERIENCED life on a single-income and I thought you might be interested to hear a few thoughts aboout it if you're considering the same:

Pro: My wife is always there for anything the kids need.

Con: There is no money for extras, most of the time.

Pro: I never have to take time off for things like taking the car to the mechanic or meeting the cable guy.

Con: There is no money for extras, most of the time.

Pro: When my daughters are sick, they stay home and go the doctor rather than go to school and day care where they will infect everyone else because there was no adult in the house ablt to take time off from work.

Con: There is no money for extras, most of the time.

Pro: My kids are able to participate in any and all after-school activities that we can afford.

Con: There is no money for extras, most of the time.

Pro: I have had the opportunity to explore a variety of ways to earn a side income and enriched my life in more ways than just monetary.

Con: There is no money for extras, most of the time.

Pro: I'm the guy that people at work can count on to stay late and do the work that needs to be done because someone I love is taking care of other people I love, freeing me to do what I need to do to get ahead.

Con: There is NO MONEY for extras, MOST OF THE TIME!

The tradeoffs are different for every family. What is right for mine may not be right for yours. But, as hard as it is (and it is HARD!), I sleep well at night knowing that my wife and I prioritized our children over money and material items.

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