In recent years, in the face of soaring childcare costs, the role of the stay-at-home parent, be it the mum or dad, is appreciated more than ever.
Michelle Murphy, Royal London representative in Westmeath said, “There’s no doubt that it is hard work staying at home to raise your family and looking after all of the household chores and requirements. “Thankfully nowadays, there is a much greater appreciation of the role fulfilled by and the challenges faced by, the stay-at-home mum or dad. And of course, though the care they provide their children is something they would consider priceless, in reality the cost of having to potentially employ someone to carry out these jobs is quite considerable.
“We have endeavoured to give some rough estimates on the cost that would be incurred to replace the stay-at-home parent, and the jobs they do in the home and for the family. As a purely demonstrative exercise, we have outlined some of the “top jobs” parents in the home would do on a weekly basis and the average costs associated with these.”
Michelle stated, “Our calculations reveal the cost to employ someone to do all the household jobs normally done by a stay-at-home parent could be €40,000 or more. Our experience would suggest that both stay-at-home mums and dads tend to undervalue themselves or worse still, actually place no monetary value on their role. As such, they do not plan or think about how their family would cope financially if anything were to happen to them, such as a serious illness or indeed worse again, sudden death.”
The most recent figures from the CSO reveal that although the number of people that class their economic status ‘Looking after home/family’ has declined steadily from 1986 when there were 653,843 people in this category, in 2011 there were still 339,918 who fell into this group. The number of women working in the home is also down, from 653,398 in 1986 to 321,878 in 2011.
However, males are bucking this trend and the numbers ‘looking after the home’ full-time have risen steadily from 445 in 1986, to 18,040 in 2011 - and even these figures are possibly more modest than the reality of the situation, given the fact that some men may still not be comfortable classifying their “stay-at-home” role.
Of the 339,918 people working in the home, it is estimated that at least 230,000 of these have children.
Yet Royal London say that evidence from financial brokers suggests that some families are still overlooking the need for financial protection to replace the work of a stay-at-home mum or dad.
Michelle went on to say, “It’s not something any of us like to dwell on - our own mortality and how our loved ones would cope financially if the unthinkable were to happen. But it is important that we do though, as difficult as this may be.
“This simple cost illustration might highlight to people the prudent need to put protection in place, such as life cover or specified serious illness cover, to ensure that should the unthinkable happen, there is a financial safety net in place to cover these ongoing needs and costs.”
Royal London also says that based on its analysis of its business, of those women who do have Life cover in place, more often than not, it’s for less than half the amount of their male counterparts.
Michelle advised, “Understanding what level of financial protection your family needs can sometimes be a difficult task - but it’s an important one.”