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How Much are Moms Worth?

Written by Nickel - 7 Comments

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How Much are Moms Worth?

In honor of Mother’s Day, I wanted to highlight a recent analysis by on the value of the work that a mom does throughout the year. According to their Mother’s Day Index, all the stuff that a typical mom takes care of adds up to $61,436/year.

Given the source of this info, it’s perhaps not surprising that they then translate this into life insurance needs. In most cases, it’s a no brainer that the breadwinner(s) need to be insured, but what about stay-at-home parents? While it’s perhaps not as obvious that a stay-at-home parent needs life insurance, you have to think about paying someone to handle their duties if something were to happen to them.

The first step in figuring out how much life insurance you need is to figure out what you want the policy to do for you. If, for example, you need it to cover certain expenses for a set period of time, you’ll need to tally up those expenses, multiply by the timeframe, and adjust for reasonable price increases.

When it comes to the primary breadwinner, a common rule of thumb is 10x annual earnings, though you’ll obviously want to fine tune that for your specific situation. But what about stay at home parents? It’s not unreasonable to value their “earnings” at whatever it would cost to pay someone to fill in for them.

And that brings us back to the Mother’s Day Index, which was based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you’re curious, the Index included the following 14 major jobs:

  • Cooking
  • Driving
  • Tutoring
  • Childcare
  • Nursing
  • Cleaning up
  • Party planning
  • Summer activity planning
  • Haircuts
  • Shopping
  • Managing the family finances
  • Yard work
  • Home maintenance
  • Private investigator (to figure out what the kids are up to)

Obviously, a number of these aren’t the sole responsibility of Mom, but they also broke a number of them down into part-time hours before arriving at their grant total ($61,436/year).

What do you think? Is this a reasonable estimate of the value of the efforts of a typical stay-at-home parent? Too low? Too high? Let us know in the comments.

Published on May 6th, 2011 - 7 Comments
Filed under: Insurance

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

Comments (scroll down to add your own):

  1. Realistically I think the number should be closer to $20-40k for most people. Most people won’t hire out everything like they figure. You’d just hire a live in nanny for a set price or pay for daycare and then do everything else yourself.

    No offense meant to moms or anything, their contribution is priceless. But this is trying to put a dollar value on what you’d pay someone to do stuff. I think most people would do things more practically if they had to pay for it all.

    Comment by Anonymous — May 6th 2011 @ 7:45 pm
  2. I think the number is realistic if you’re trying to replace EVERYTHING that the stay at home parent might do. Realistically, if that parent were to pass away, very few people would pay for all of those services.

    Similarly, in a two-income household life insurance is usually calculated solely on replacing income. You would not add an extra $61,000 to the policies between the two parents to replace their work at home (assuming that it is all DIY).

    Comment by Anonymous — May 9th 2011 @ 1:20 pm
  3. Well, I think the number could go dramatically higher or lower depending on a variety of factors. For instance, everyone knows that “breast is best.” Sure, you could go the formula route, but if you were honestly trying to replace a breastfeeding mom, screened breastmilk available for purchase runs $3/oz. Twenty ounces a day for one year in order to get all those nutrients and antibodies? That’s a cost of $21,900 provided by mom’s breasts alone!

    Comment by Anonymous — May 9th 2011 @ 1:33 pm
  4. “That’s a cost of $21,900 provided by mom’s breasts alone!”

    Now that’s some expensive boobies!

    Back on topic: I’m with Jim, the figure is too high — unless of course, we see the list of jobs that dads do come Father’s Day…


    Comment by Anonymous — May 9th 2011 @ 3:29 pm
  5. One of the things that has been highlighted recently to me is how much stay at home parents can save the couple in child care costs and doggie day care costs. This could be to the tune of about $1000 per month!

    Comment by Anonymous — May 9th 2011 @ 5:44 pm
  6. Daycare alone for a baby is $11948 in my city for the cheapest, bonded, one I could find. If you count that in, I would sure think $61438 might be reasonable.

    Comment by Anonymous — May 9th 2011 @ 8:14 pm
  7. It will cause nearly 58 hours of child care and household duties are worth $67,436. Your Mom and you will know exactly what her momentary value is ? Mom is priceless..!!!

    Comment by Anonymous — Jan 4th 2014 @ 7:10 am

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