published Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Personal Finance: Happy Mother's Day, you deserve a raise

Chris Hopkins

“The good mother, the wise mother ... is more important to the community than even the ablest man; her career is more worthy of honor and is more useful to the community than the career of any man, no matter how successful.”

— Theodore Roosevelt

Have you ever pondered the true economic value that Mom provides to the family? If one could assign a cost to all the time spent in her various roles, what kind of compensation could she demand?

In honor of Mother's Day each year, the folks at Salary.com make a light-hearted attempt to assess the appropriate level of compensation for someone performing all the duties of a mom. The results are not scientifically rigorous, but they do shed light on the varied and indispensable contributions made by our moms on behalf of their families.

For the past 13 years, Salary.com has conducted an online survey to gather data

on the various aspects of motherhood as they relate to comparable private sector employment categories. The data are then analyzed and assembled into a composite of 10 different job descriptions for the tasks that are routinely performed by a mother. This year, 6,000 people responded to the survey. (You can take the survey yourself at Salary.com/mom-paycheck).

The results reinforce what should be obvious to most of us: Mom wears many hats, and moves seamlessly from one role to the next. A few of the major job classifications into which her daily work falls include CEO, van driver, laundry operator, cook, psychologist and teacher and computer operator, just to name a few. By approximating the number of hours per week dedicated to each job function, the consultants produced a theoretical estimate of the economic value of her contribution.

Guys, here is the bottom line. Stay-at-home moms work an average of 94 hours per week in their numerous household occupations taking care of us and the kids. Given median wage rates for those jobs in the private economy, she would expect to earn a salary of $113,586 per year.

Working moms put up equally impressive numbers. In addition to their regular 40-hour work weeks, they log an additional 58 hours in the home, which the website values at $67,435 per year if they were to receive a paycheck for their efforts.

All of which is a fun way to say "thanks" to our mothers and wives for the countless sacrifices and contributions they make. No amount of money could properly compensate them for all they do. But if it could, they would most certainly deserve a raise. Happy Mother's Day.

Get answers to financial questions on Wednesdays from our columnists who work in the financial services industry. Christopher A. Hopkins CFA, is a vice president at Barnett & Co. Submit questions to his attention by writing to Business Editor Dave Flessner, Chattanooga Times Free Press, P.O. Box 1447, Chattanooga, TN 37401-1447, or by emailing him at dflessner@timesfreepress.com.

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