How to Save for Retirement if Your Work is At Home

By Elsie Dudukovich0 Comments

On June 20, 1963, the last original episode of Leave It to Beaver graced television sets across the country.  Like shows such as Father Knows Best and The Andy Griffith Show, it was one of many programs showing idealized American family life.  By 1967, 51 percent of American mothers with children under 18 worked outside the home.  If you look at the history of American families, there has always been a percentage of working parents with minor aged children.  With enough time passing, it is easy to forget those beloved classic television shows were not documentaries but romanticized views for entertainment.

In 2012, 29 percent of households had stay-at-home mothers, which is actually a rise from the 1999 all-time modern era low of 23 percent, as reported by a new Pew Research Center study.    

One of the newest trends spotted the Pew Center studies is the rise in stay-at-home dads.  In 2012, the number of fathers counted as staying at home to act as the primary caregivers for their children had risen to 2 million, representing 16 percent of all families with a stay-at-home parent. This number is up from 1.1 million in 1998. 

A stay-at-home parent is considered a parent who does not work outside the home, but as any parent can attest – being a parent in general is work.  A more accurate way of looking at the matter might to say a stay at home parent is not engaged in paid work and that brings up a new concern: retirement planning.

Options for stay-at-home parents
There are a number of ways a stay-at-home parent can prepare and save for their golden years.  One item to take advantage of is a traditional or Roth Spousal IRA.  Deciding on whether or not to go for a traditional or Roth spousal IRA depends on your income level and particular financial needs.  It can be in your best interest to seek out guidance from a tax or financial advisor to help assess your situation and make the best choice. 

In a nutshell, a spousal IRA allows your spouse to contribute up to that tax year’s contribution limit as long as you file jointly at tax time.  For 2014, the contribution limit for individuals under age 50 is $5,500 ($6,500 for age 50 or older).  This means you and your spouse can both contribute the maximum amount in your IRAs.

The key is to make planning and saving for retirement a priority.  The Motley Fool has more tips on retirement planning for stay-at-home parents and can be a good starting point on ways to keep your financial goals on track.  For example, the author starts with making debt elimination the first priority.  This idea is that it’s a step that can help now as well as making your golden years shine brighter.

For more details on how a spousal IRA works, set up a time to talk to a Senior Account Executive or call 888-382-4727.