A spouse or significant other can be a wonderful partner in a variety of ways. One of those ways can be financial. Especially for those who are self-employed like me or who are part-timer workers, a full-time spouse can bring a lot to the table. And apparently there are plenty of us out there. According to CNBC, “While the latest jobs report showed solid growth overall, with 195,000 jobs added, there was a serious 322,000 increase, to 8.2 million, in the number of people working part time for economic reasons. An additional 19 million are working part time for other reasons.”
Of course I didn’t just get married for the financial benefits; however, here are a few of the ways in which being married to a full-timer can be especially helpful for those who don’t quite pull in the income or benefits associated with a full-time or employer-sponsored role.
I’m currently in good health, but who is to say that this will last or that I won’t befall a terrible accident tomorrow? While I hope that this isn’t the case, this is exactly why having good health insurance is important. And with a wife who is a type I diabetic, having such a plan is critical due to her higher health and medical expenses.
With my wife’s needs, plus with two small children, health care costs on a poor or insufficient insurance plan that is paid independently could skyrocket. Therefore, having an employer-sponsored plan through my wife’s employer with low deductibles, low co-pays, and low out-of-pocket limits keeps us from paying thousands or even tens of thousands of extra dollars were we covered by an independent plan.
As a self-employed person, I don’t have access to a good employer sponsored retirement plan or pension. And with margins tight, even if I did want to take this responsibility upon myself, there wouldn’t be much extra to contribute. My lower income also hurts my estimated Social Security benefits due to lower contributions to the system. However, by having a full-time working spouse who is now part of a pension system and who contributes higher amounts to Social Security, it benefits both of us in that should my low Social Security contributions continue, I might be eligible to utilize my spouse’s benefits should they be high enough in retirement.
One thing that I do have going for me as a self-employed individual is the ability to care for our children while working from home. This is my way of kind of evening the playing field a little bit with my full-time spouse.
With full-time childcare costs in our area running around $10,000 to $12,000 a year, and with us having two children, I’ve certainly earned my keep in this aspect of our family finances. This can be a critical aspect to the full-time/part-time marriage. When including the time, transportation costs, and all the rest that go into getting the kids to and from childcare providers, the savings that a part-timer or self-employed person can add to the family finances can add up in a hurry.
More than money
There is more to a full-time/part-time relationship than just money though. From advising and counseling one another on financial and career-related moves, acting as motivation to persevere through tough times, and pushing each other to succeed when things aren’t looking good, a partner can be critical in love and life.
Being able to balance one another in a variety of ways can help even things out even if it’s not in a dollar-for-dollar way and make a part-time spouse just as valuable as the full-time wage earner.
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The author is not a licensed financial, career or relationship professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.