Is your second income worth it?
Does it pay for you to work? If you are part of a couple, deciding whether a second income pays is a calculation you will make numerous times as kids arrive, children age, a spouse goes back to school or the economy changes. Most people work because they think they can't afford not to. Lately, more of us fall into that category. How did we get into this second-income trap?
From huge insurance premiums to higher gas prices, a greater portion of our earnings is being swallowed by the shocking rise in the cost of basic needs. Start doing the math and figure out how much of your household's second paycheck gets absorbed by expenses incurred if both parents work. Don't just assume you can't make it on one income. The Reese family, profiled in my Miami Herald article, have seven kids and live off Sidney Reese's earnings of $5,000 a month (after deductions). They are proof it can be done -- if you don't already have huge debt.
Remember though, give up one paycheck and you give up the family's financial safety net. There's much more to consider than straight math.