June 26, 2012, 5:00 am

Single Income Household, The Best Kept Secret for Happiness

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Project $1500
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If you are a long time reader, you have followed me through my $1,500 projects that started back in 2007 and concluded in 2009. The goal was to create or save the equivalent of $1,500 on a monthly basis so my wife can stop working. In May 2009, my wife quit her job and we became a single income household. I read this post again recently and found it interesting that I had 2 plans back in 2009 in order to cover my wife’s income:

 

#1 Make a lot of money online (currently at 10K/month of gross income with 50% participation in this amount)

 

#2 Work hard and earn a big pay check.

 sail

2007 Vs 2012

 

Back in 2007, my total income was at $63,000 (read how I went from 30K to 176K in 8 years). In 2009, my total income (not base income) was $103,000. It was then easy to make the decision to go with a single income household. In that year, my bonus was literally more than what my wife used to make in a year. Since then, I have never looked back. Today, my base income is at $79,000. That alone covers $1,333 of my $1,500 per month. I also have to add my bonus and online income to the equation in order to cover the $1,500/month my wife used to make.

 

When you only look at numbers, living on a single income appears quite easy as I make a lot more than I used to. Unfortunately, the expenses increased accordingly too! It is true that it requires sacrifices from time to time but it’s really worth. Let me tell you why…

 

Completely Focused on Making Money

 

My wife and I have a simple way of taking care of our household:

 

She takes care of the house and kids.

I take care of making money.

 

This seems quite simple and even stupid when you say it that way. But the key lies in simplicity. Since my wife takes care of our house and kids (this includes not only chores but everything), I can focus on one of the thing I do best: making money.

 

I don’t have to bother with when I need to bring that cat costume for my daughter’s presentation or when they go to the dentist or when the latest arrival has an appointment with the pediatrician. I don’t even have to wonder what we will eat at night! Mind you, I still cook, but everything is ready when I get home. This is why I can focus on being awesome at work and awesome in my business. This is probably how I can grow both my career and business at the same pace simultaneously without burning out! My brain power is focused on a very limited number of things. This is likely how I can become better and faster.

 

So while I was looking to make more money so my wife could stop working, the answer was in the goal. As soon as she had stopped working, we saw our household income increase significantly! Believe it or not – having my wife stop working was the fastest way to earn a stable 6 figure income.

 

More Free Time for Everybody

 

Another impact of having my wife at home is the free time that we all benefit from. Every weekend, we wonder which activities we will do as all the chores and boring stuff have been done during the week. Therefore, we are all set to enjoy the weekend the way it should be. We have enough time to work on landscaping or renovation, going to the park, inviting friends over for a nice lunch, etc.

 

It’s basically like having mini-vacation each week!

 

Other Advantages

 

There is a long list of advantages for having only one person work while the other takes care of the household. Among them, I would only list the *most* important:

 

-          More time with the kids

-          Quality time to help them to do their homework

-          Time for community volunteering

-          No more “gotta run to catch the daycare on time”

-          More time to start a garden and eat better food

-          More time to try new things (activities, recipes, hobbies, etc)

-          You save money on afterschool daycare

-          You save money on clothing (only 1 person needs to dress for work)

-          You save money on dining out (how many time you eat out because you’re too tired?)

-          More activities

-          More fun

-          Less stress

-          Less arguments with your better half

-          More energy… which leads to more S…..X (don’t laugh, it’s true!)

All right… I should have put the Energy advantage first… ;-)

 

I now look back at my previous life back in early 2009 and really don’t have any regrets today. In fact, if I had known this, I would have started on my $1,500 project before my wife gave birth to our first son! Life is just easier and more fun… in fact, life is now the way it should be!

 

 

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Comments

Very interesting but you were in a position to actually cover everything before she actually quit? Also what would you suggest when you have a spouse/girlfriend who makes a lot more then your wife currently did. I find that to be a big problem as people want to stay at home but not change their lifestyle. I have a friend who is having this problem, his wife makes almost 6 figures when you add in her bonus. A lot more than 1500 per month.

Congrats on finding what works for you. This may work out for us later in life but if both partners make about the same amount of money it may not be as clear cut for us.

You made a difficult decision sound much easier. When my children were small, my wife worked part time. The children were only without one of us for two hours a week. This was our choice to a difficult problem.

Although my wife works, we still divide responsibilities in much of a similar way. I do agree that having such roles cuts down on a lot of unnecessary fighting and improves the conditions of your relationship.

@Thomas,

When my wife quit, I knew that my year-end bonus would cover her salary in total (I got 33K that year and she was making roughly 25K gross). It took me 2 years to make it happen thought.

I always say that this goal would have been much harder to achieve if my wife was making over $50K. At that point, you need to assess whether you prefer to have a bigger lifestyle or cut down your expenses and live on a single income. This is a tough choice! Maybe you can start by saving 50% of her income and live with the rest? this will build up a huge savings while telling you if you want to cut down your lifestyle or not.

@Krantcents,
This is also a great alternative! working part time could be very convenient for your family while not jeopardizing your budget!

I’m the more ambitious one in my relationship. My boyfriend says that if he could sell his company and net $5 million, he’d retire into the life of a stay-at-home dad. But if I had $5 million, I’d just be getting started with investing and business growth …

[...] Single Income Household: The Best Kept Secret for Happiness I think the real key isn’t a single income household, but a partnership where both people consider each other equals and put all options on the table with the recognition that their equality won’t be harmed by the decision made. (@ the financial blogger) [...]

by: Marinda S. | July 4th, 2012 (1:43 pm)

I am glad that this was a goal for the both of you and it works. Do you contribute to your partner’s IRA? Does she have one? How about life/term insurance if she should become ill or die to replace her contribution to the well being of you and the children? Is she pursuing a course that will allow her to reenter the workplace should you pass away and do you have investments to cover the time it would take her to retool and reenter the workforce? Will she be able to collect social security–did she work enough quarters to qualify? I am sure you considered all of this in the two years you planned to do this and I know she is happy with her choices, but I hope you will always be happy with her and take your responsibilies seriously to her and the children should you exit the relationship.

@Paula- the only problem is that once kids come many women feel resentful of their stay-at-home husband and it can severely strain a marriage.

by: The Financial Blogger | July 5th, 2012 (7:41 am)

@Marinda,
She doesn’t have a pension account. In Canada you’re ability to save toward a pension account is linked to your income. This is why she doesn’t have one. However, since we are married, she would get 50% of my pension plan and pension account if we divorce.

We have life insurance for both. I’ve doubled my own coverage so she wouldn’t have to go back to work if I ever pass away (or have the time to go back to school and reenter the workforce).

If things don’t go right with my wife, I’ll definitely cover for all expenses for my kids. They are my #1 priority and I certainly don’t want them to suffer from our breakup. Great questions ;-)

Does your wife like your arrangement as much as you? Reading your recollection of events makes it sound great from your side. Caring for the entire house and all that entails is MUCH bigger than a job and it’s 24 hours. We made a similar choice as your family and we never look back. But being the wife side of the equation, I can tell you that being in charge of everything for the house is alot more intense than having a job. I was an IT professional pre-baby and always climbing the corporate ladder so I know what I am speaking of.

by: Marinda S. | July 5th, 2012 (3:25 pm)

Thanks for responding and being spot on about what it would take to cover the bases for both of you, your wife and the children. We have lived on one paycheck for several years after the birth of our children and it was the best thing we did for ourselves and the children. I eased back into the workforce after they started preschool/kindergarten part time and then into full time employment when they entered grade school. While a full time stay at home mom, I worked towards completing my university education which paid major dividends when I did reenter the workforce.

by: The Financial Blogger | July 6th, 2012 (8:08 am)

@Angel,
yes, my wife truly enjoys her “new” life. Taking care of the house is a lot of work indeed! But on the other side, it has to be done anyway. So we had the choice of having one person taking care of the house and not working or having both working 40 hours + doing 50% of chores each. Not sure it’s a winning situation when you have the option of cutting on 40 hours of work (+ transportation, obviously!).

@Marinda,
that’s great :-). Reentering the workforce is probably the only concern my wife has. But then again, we are not even sure that she would go back to work anyway. She might do more community volunteering instead.

I am in your position with one minor difference and one significant difference: I am the working female and he is the “home manager” (minor) and we make/require less money, as we don’t have kids and bring home about $3500/month.

I have your attitude exactly, though! When we first entered this arrangement, I wasn’t sure I could do it without experiencing some annoyance/frustration/etc about being the breadwinner. Exactly the opposite happened: We have an amazing, solid relationship, and *I* feel like a princess– I get home from a long day at the office to be greeted with a glass of wine, a clean house, fresh laundry, and all errands run.

I still cook, though. He can’t take that one away from me :-)

Thanks for this interesting post (and to SimpleDollar) for leading me here. I am both the wife and the major breadwinner in my house. I’ve expressed some interest in this kind of arrangement for my husband to be the stay-at-home partner (also no kids like Jamie). He is a bit reticent and also his job, while not lucrative, is the one that has the better, more affordable health insurance. So we remain in limbo on this one…but, based on some of the ideas in your post and the comments that follow, maybe we can reconsider based on expanded info, as well as craft a plan for getting there over time.

[...] #1 Single Income Household, The Best Kept Secret For Happiness [...]

I totally agree! I became a single income household when I divorced my cheating husband. I’m much happier now, even though I am raising our 2 kids on my one salary. I am very grateful that I kept up my career when our kids were born, otherwise now I would be struggling financially.