The question of whether a parent should stay at home full time or work is a delicate one, and depends on the resources and needs of each individual family. Tracy at personal finance blog MoneyNing makes a solid financial case for having the stay-at-home parent work outside of the home at least part-time.
Part of her argument? Jobs aren’t always plentiful, and letting your skills and network become obsolete while parenting full-time will hurt you on re-entry to the job market. She writes:
It’s a tough job market out there. Even if the stay at home spouse had no plans to return to work once the children are in school, things can change if the working spouse is laid off or suffers a disability that makes them unable to work. Divorce and death are two other possibilities that nobody wants to think about but happen all too often.
Even part time work can keep job skills current and allow for networking that could lead to a full time job if the need arises. Having an extra source of income already in place can stretch unemployment benefits and savings if the primary breadwinner loses his or her job.
Extra income and life balance are essential parts of Tracy’s case, too. If you don’t need the money right now, save it for future financial catastrophe, for your retirement, or college.