Four Retirement Tips For Stay At Home Moms

Written By Mary Beth Eastman
Last updated January 16, 2019

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December 12, 2018

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

As a stay-at-home mom, you work hard, perhaps harder than ever before, but you see no financial reward for it. In fact, when you are not in the workforce you lose out on a salary and risk facing retirement with diminished savings. You can take steps to protect yourself financially, whether you are a permanent or temporary stay-at-home mother. But being prepared will take some planning.

Your spouse can help protect you by contributing to a spousal IRA. In general, anyone contributing to an IRA must have earned income; however, that doesn’t apply to a spousal IRA. Your spouse can contribute to both their own and your IRA up to the amount they earn each year. As a married couple filing jointly, you can contribute $12,000 annually to IRAs ($14,000 for those 50 and older). The spousal IRA will be in your name and belong to you.

If you have a retirement account from previous employment, you can roll it over into an IRA. You won’t have to pay any taxes or penalties, and you’ll be in a better position to withdraw money early if necessary. Also, an IRA gives you a better chance of “growing” your money as an investment. Learn more about IRA rollovers and the best online IRAs here.

If you return to the workforce, you can take steps to catch up on your retirement savings. If you have a 401(k), you will need to contribute the maximum allowed each year if possible. If not, put in as much as you can afford. Even 15 years of a concerted savings effort can put you in a decent financial position for retirement.

You cannot rely on Social Security to cover your expenses during retirement, but it will definitely help support you. If you have worked at least ten years and earned your required 40 credits from the Social Security Administration, you will be eligible for benefits. The amount depends on your past earnings and when you begin to draw your SS. If you have been married for more than ten years, you can draw 50% of your spouse’s benefit. Visit the SSA website to get an estimate of your benefits.

Remember, you cannot afford to take anything for granted when it comes to your retirement, so investigate your options now. Stay-at-home moms have to be more vigilant than most.

About the Author

Mary Beth Eastman

Mary Beth Eastman serves as the content manager for Simple. Thrifty. Living, where she is dedicated to helping readers use money and credit wisely. Mary Beth believes that access to the right financial information paired with a growth mindset are essential tools for getting out of debt and building wealth. Mary Beth has a degree in Journalism from Bowling Green State University and has focused her 20-year journalism career on putting readers front and center, carefully considering their concerns and presenting information that will help them in their everyday lives. She has won numerous statewide journalism awards. Her writing on personal finance as been featured on numerous websites in addition to Simple. Thrifty. Living, including Huffington Post and Lexington Law blog. Mary Beth resides in Pittsburgh, Pa., with her family and two rescue dogs.

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