Thanks to technology, there is no reason that a stay-at-home parent can't boost household income. All you have to do is start a home business.
One of the things I hear a lot is that it's harder and harder to make things work on a single income. The fact that wages have not kept pace with inflation means that, in real terms, income has been declining for many households. Additionally, the fact that American productivity has improved in the last few decades isn't translating into better income, either. So this means that many people in traditional jobs are working harder, but not being paid any more. In some cases, they are actually being paid?less?once inflation is factored in.
In my neck of the woods, where traditional gender roles mean that women are usually the ones that stay home, there is a lot of discussion about cutting costs so that it's possible to remain a single-income family. However, this isn't completely necessary. A stay-at-home mom can boost household income with the help of a home business, thanks to technology.
Start a Home Business
Thanks to the fact that technology means you can reach more customers, starting an online business is one way to boost your household income — and avoid the need to get quite so involved in pinching pennies. Plus, a home business means that you have flexibility to take care of matters on your own schedule, and be available for your kids.
One of the reasons that I decided to start freelancing from home was due to my desire to avoid a traditional job, and have the flexibility to be involved with my son and involved in the community. The Internet has made it possible for me to do most of my writing online, and my little side attempt to pay the rent while my husband finished school has turned into our family's primary source of income. I didn't think to start a home business, but it happened. And my family's financial situation has improved because of it.
On top of boosting household income, a home business can also help you improve your financial situation. Stay-at-home parents often find themselves behind the curve when it comes to long-term financial stability. And, again, due to the realities of our society's gender roles, it is often women who find themselves in financial trouble later on. By giving up earning power to stay home, women aren't able to bank as much toward retirement and they can lose valuable skills and network contacts that make them employable when they try to re-enter the job market after the kids are gone. Combine these lifetime earning power realities with the fact that the life expectancy is longer for women than for men, and you have a recipe for financial disaster.
The decisions to start a home business, and work at it, can help alleviate some of these problems. Even if all you do is provide a relatively small boost to your family's income, or even if all you do is provide yourself with a way to earn money should you end up on your own, a home business offers a bit more financial freedom and flexibility.
Thanks to the magic of technology and the Internet, it's fairly easy to start a home business. There are plenty of business opportunities with low startup costs, and you can even turn your craft hobby into a source of income. From starting an online store, to providing a service, it's possible for you to choose from dozens of home business ideas and start providing a little extra income for your family — and for your own peace of mind.
This post is part of the annual Women's Money Week. You can participate as well, and help bring financial awareness to women everywhere.