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One/Two- Income Family Dilema

 

By Vernette Carbon

Are you a stay at home mom who is considering going back to work? Maybe you’re tired of budget-crunching on one income and strongly desire to have your own money once again. Maybe you’ve thought of working from home, but it seems unattainable. Maybe you don’t even know where to start your search.

Before you think about getting a 9-5 job, I would really like you to consider the following:

My friend Malcolm was earning $36,950 per year, and his wife Latoya stayed home with their two small children, while their first child attended public school. After living on $36,950 for one year Latoya couldn’t take the budget crunching anymore. Living on one income with two children got so suffocating for Latoya that she got a full time job outside the home. “Two incomes would definitely make a big difference,” she thought.

The full time job paid $300 net weekly. That’s about $19,200 gross annually. Don’t you think this would actually help the family out quite a bit financially? After all, two- income families should be better off financially than one-income families. I would think so. I bet you think so too. Let’s take a look and see what the result is.

Latoya’s income --- $19,200 gross annually, Social security (7.65%) ---$1,468 annually, Public transportation ($3 per day) ---$ 780 annually, Daycare cost for two children ($150 wk) ---$ 7,800 annually, Buying lunch once a week ($10) --- $ 520 annually, Income tax (15%) --- $2, 880 annually

Latoya’s Total Annual Income after expenses $5,752

NOTE: Latoya carries her lunch to work everyday except Fridays and eats breakfast at home before she leaves for work. If she didn’t do this, it would cost her even more.

I didn’t even subtract other miscellaneous items (i.e., dry cleaning) from her pay, and that’s what she’s left with. She is only making approximately $479 a month. Although many two-income families are getting by financially, many are barely surviving. In this case, Latoya should consider working from home.

Most people working outside the home buy their breakfast and lunch everyday. So consider that also. Latoya just happens to be very frugal and tries to save in any way she can.

Many women fall into the same trap that Latoya is in. Some just want to spend more time with the family, while others just hate the “rat race,” and desperately want to get out. However, before you start looking for home employment please evaluate yourself to make sure that working from home is right for you.

EVALUATE YOURSELF

Following are several questions you should ask yourself before deciding to work from home. If you can’t answer yes to the following questions, then you are not completely ready to work from home. The questions are:

* Do I have a computer?

* Am I knowledgeable about the Internet and email?

* Do I manage my time well?

* Do I have the right attitude to work at home?

* Am I easily motivated or do I need people around me to motivate me?

* Am I disciplined?

* Can I balance family, work, and everything else at the same time

* Am I teachable or do I like to do my own thing?

* Am I reliable?

* Do I prioritize?

* Do I have a specialized skill?

* Do I have all the equipment needed to work from home?

* Does my spouse have health insurance coverage for the family? If not, can I afford health insurance on my own? (If you need affordable health insurance, you can receive instant quotes from 114 different companies at www.insureme.com. Just type in your information and they will match you with specific companies based on your needs.) For dental plans check out www.dentalplans.com.

* Can I actually reduce the high cost of health insurance by joining a group health insurance plan, reduce the level of coverage, increase my deductible, pay annual premiums rather than monthly or quarterly, etc? (For more information check out National Association for the Self-Employed at www.nase.org/nase_benefits/health_benefits.asp, or American Association of Home- Based Businesses at http://www.aahbb.org.

* Can I contribute to a self-employed 401(k) plan? (Visit www.investsafe.com to request a free information kit on the self-employed 401(k) plan for the self-employed and small business owner).

* Do I love to educate myself on a consistent basis?

* Can I successfully work around my children at home?

* Can I handle waking up earlier or staying up later while the children are sleeping to meet my deadlines?

* Would I be able to make enough money to pay the bills?

If you are focused, disciplined, have a positive attitude, highly motivated with excellent communication skills, can answer yes to the above mentioned questions, then you are ready to work from home as an independent contractor, freelance or telecommuter. If not, then you can either learn these lessons along the way or work outside the home.

It is very important that before you start working from home that you have an office set up with a good computer, phone line (you will need a second phone line for some assignments), and a fax machine. Some computers come with faxing features. Most jobs are done remotely, and the Internet is a conduit for telecommuting jobs.


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