It’s official. Women make such an enormous contribution to the home that they are in fact worth more than the house itself. Indeed, a new survey by insurance company Caledonian Life has confirmed something that women have always known - they are invaluable in home life - and not just in terms of keeping everyone happy.
In fact, a price has now been put on the work done day-in-day-out by the stay-at-home-parent, who generally (although not always in recent times ) tends to be the mother, with a new study estimating that on average the work done during just one year by a home-maker is worth a staggering €59,000! Given current house values of less than €200,000 for a typical three-bed house, this means a mother’s equivalent monetary contribution in the home would cover the cost of the bricks and mortar in just three years.
Chores factored into the costs saved through a home-maker include cooking, cleaning, housekeeping, interior design, taxi-driving, event planning, counselling, gardening, and basically all work a woman carries out to add to the environment of a family home. Of course most mothers do such deeds with a heart-and-a-half, not so much regarding them as chores but as acts of kindness willingly performed for loved ones. Nonetheless the national average spend on childcare alone works out at €8,000 a year.
The reason Caledonian Life chose to highlight this particular monetary aspect of family life was to remind people that many are ignoring the value of the stay-at-home parent in relation to insurance cover, ie, should anything happen to Mum the effects will not only be felt emotionally but also in the pocket.
According to the insurance company, while Irish households recognise the importance of insuring key assets, such as a house and car on their insurance, and invariably include the main ‘breadwinner’ on the policy (ie, the man/Dad ), they are less likely to insure the life of the stay-at-home parent. Unfortunately, the reality is that the contribution of many home-makers is so enormous that should anything ever happen to them, families would be unable to afford to pay someone else the going rate for the typical household jobs that would still need doing.
Having analysed 11 major jobs a typical homemaker might perform at home, such as housekeeper, cook, child-minder and tutor, and the number of hours they typically devote to each of those jobs, the study found that ultimately paying one person to do a blend of the jobs seven days a week would clock up almost €60,000 worth of work.
“We are not advising that the amount of cover for the stay-at-home partner should match that taken out on the primary source of income. What we are suggesting however, is that people look at the equivalent monthly costs of employing someone to carry out the household chores, if the stay-at-home parent was to die, and then consider taking out an adequate amount of life assurance cover on that basis”, concluded Greg Dyer, head of sales and marketing with Caledonian Life.