Whether you are expecting your first child or you are at home with your new bundle of job and are planning to head back to work soon, you may want to take a closer look at the impact heading to work will have your life. There are many benefits associated with having a two-income household as well as with continuing on with the development of your career. There is also a child care advantage associated with having your kids immersed in a stimulating and active environment every day. However, there are also some downsides associated with heading back to work that may make the decision harder for you to make. As you weigh your choices, consider these valid points.
The True Cost of Daycare
The introduction of child care expenses to your monthly budget can be shocking and burdensome. In some cases, the annual cost of tuition for infant child care is similar to that of sending an older child off to college. This is particularly true when you factor in all related costs. After all, the monthly tuition is not the only child care fee to consider. Think about costs like field trips, annual supplies fees, application fees, school uniforms and more. Some facilities are far more affordable than others, so it can pay off to shop around.
The Daycare Tax Credit
You may have heard that there is a child care tax credit available to offset some of the costs working parents face when taking their kids to daycare. Unfortunately, this tax credit is not as substantial as most parents would like it to be. Depending on your income bracket and filing status, you may only save a few hundred dollars per year on your tax burden as a result of this credit. This may be the equivalent of not paying for a week or two of infant care at your daycare facility.
Your Work Schedule
The costs and tax credit for child care should carefully be considered against your total job compensation to determine if it is financially worthwhile for you to head back to work. When doing so, also consider the functional aspect of juggling a busy schedule. If you have a very demanding job, you may have to go into work very early and return home after dark each day. You also need to find time to do the grocery shopping, care for the house and take care of other responsibilities. You may consider alternative care solutions, such as having a nanny in the house to help with some of these responsibilities while you work.
The cost of child care typically declines significantly for older children, and your center may even have much lower rates after the child turns one year old. If you find that going back to work is not cost-effective now, consider returning to work at a time when rates are more affordable for you.