Kimberly Roy loved her job. As a freelance graphic artist she was able to work from home, with clients she respected, on projects she loved. Eventually, however, Kimberly and her high-school sweetheart husband, Todd, decided to start a family. After much deliberation, the couple chose to adopt a boy from South Korea. That’s when things got…different.
“I was only able to take two and a half weeks off work after the adoption of my son,” recalls Kimberly, noting that the division of responsibility for dinner and daycare pickups between the two new parents quickly fell to “whoever had the less crazy day.”
Kimberly’s decision isn’t unusual, but it’s no longer typical. According to Statistics Canada, the number of dual-income families has doubled since 1976, when only 36% of families had two working parents. In 2014, the number had grown to 69%. A generation ago, the idea that a family included a stay-at-home parent was the norm. Today, less than one-fifth of families fall into that camp.
Perhaps this change in demographics isn’t that surprising. After all, 40 years ago, families could buy a home, a car and the latest household gadget, and still sock away some retirement savings, all on a single income. But things changed. Houses got bigger (and much, much more expensive). Gas prices started to climb and more and more gadgets, luxuries and investment options started to compete for a family’s discretionary dollar. The result? A two-income world, where the majority of parents juggle work schedules and family responsibilities. But the dream of more family time hasn’t diminished. The question is how do the Roys, and other one-income families, make it work?
We talked to one-income families and financial experts to uncover which obstacles single-income households face. Through practical advice and insight from our families, we can offer you an easy-to-follow, completely achievable method for making your single-income household work.