Most families I know decide to send both parents out to work full time to make ends meet. I applaud this brave decision because it seems to be the responsible answer to getting ahead and making ends meet - right? Maybe. Maybe not.
This case scenario is based on many two income families that I know of.
There is wild excitement and celebration that we both are now in full time employment - a bubbly gets popped in honour of this accomplishment. We go out and buy a few office-appropriate clothes (we can buy more once the pay packets begin to come in) and we enroll the three kids in childcare - yep, this is expensive, but hey, we'll be OK.
After four weeks of catching the bus and it running late then consequently getting in trouble from the boss, we both agree to buy a good reliable second hand car to drive to work - $11,000.00 is a sensible sum to spend....after all, the repayments are well under $100 per week so there is plenty of money left.
Both of us are becoming too tired to make lunches every night, so $10 per day is way less than everyone else at the office spends on food and coffee each day, so we are at least being restrained. The car registration and maintenance are only a yearly or half yearly cost, so there will be money for that no doubt.
We are very proud to be contributing to the household, using our mind and making a better life for the kids. We'll be able to get ahead financially real soon. We can feel it all coming together any day now.
One year down the track we realise that something is very, very wrong. We both are pretty exhausted, no wealthier and weekends are dedicated to housework - what has gone wrong?
Here is what has gone wrong - it's here in the very simple math:
Net Second Income
Child Care x 3 kids
Car 2 Rego
Car 2 Maintenance
Car 2 Repayment
Total Extra Net Income
We madly recalculate the math and replace the batteries in the calculator ... but still get the same result. We then figure it on a spreadsheet and end up sitting up in bed staring at the calculations on the laptop well into the wee hours of the morning - the realisation is just simply heartbreaking.
We reach over and shake our partner awake and chat about this sad, sad situation. We have a bit of a cry. We then both agree to get rid of the car and go back to public transport - that will save us $121.00 a week. Excellent! Then the realisation dawns on us that we are still only earning a net $3.20 per hour or $6292.00 a year. Our heart breaks again. Tears flow again for the real slavery we have found ourselves in. Then we just get mad. Real mad.
Maybe there is another way?
Take care folks - stay nice.