Dual Income Requirements…

We know that the majority of households now require both spouses to work outside the home. That fact has contributed significantly to the number of seniors in nursing homes and other assisted care facilities. Simply put there is just no one at home to care for aging parents or grand-parents anymore. As a result more seniors are institutionalized than ever before.

Of course this is just another example of the problem with the gross income inequality here in this country and even around the world to maybe a lesser degree. Just when our population above 65 starts to explode there are fewer and fewer of us who will be able to stay with our families.  I know from personal experiences with my parents, nursing homes are very expensive. They quickly zap whatever wealth might have been accumulated. After that personal wealth is gone then Medicaid often takes over the expenses and that of course raises taxes for all of us. That seems to be the major Catch-22 of this early century.

When a mother is required to work outside the home she often only adds a small percentage increase to the family income since her children are now forced into childcare outside the home. That eats up much of the income gained. I wonder if anyone has ever done an economic analysis of these type situations?

I suspect that we are actually doing more damage to our society by continuing to squelch income at the bottom end of the scale.  While history shows us that when we raise the minimum wage the threat of losing a significant number of jobs does not materialize, that argument continues to be made today. I realize that raising the minimum wage is not an answer to all our problems but maybe it solves more problems than are realized.  Raising education levels to meet the requirements of 21st century jobs is also an important part of the solution. But then again, there will always be the need for someone to do the things that are now minimum wage jobs. Those jobs will not suddenly disappear with an educated population or be replaced by a robot. Minimum wage jobs will always be part of our world. We need to make sure that anyone who is working full time has at least the minimum income to sustain sustenance.

3 thoughts on “Dual Income Requirements…

  1. Yes, many households require two incomes to survive. But, how many only “require” them because of the lifestyle that the parents choose or decide that they cannot live without? I see so many young couples who cannot conceive of living with less than the “ideal”….meaning an extravagant wedding, an expensive house with all the trimmings, two or three cars, annual trips or cruises, routinely eating out instead of cooking, Expensive hair, nails, massages, cosmetic surgery…all considered routine.
    And nothing changing when they have children. Yet, they complain loudly about the cost of things like insurance, taxes, home maintainence, or other necessary things. I see it in my own relatives and children of friends and neighbors… this high standard of living that they perceive as ordinary. The number of frugal realistic families seems to be outnumbered by the spenders. Am I wrong? I don’t want to return to depression era lifestyles…but more modest expectations and lifestyles would go a long way to improve our family lives and dependence on dual incomes, don’t you think?
    It would help if the media promoted frugality and simplicity rather than high end homes, cars, and vacations…but there’s no money in that is there?


    1. I certainly agree Jane that there are folks such as this. They are fully entrenched in the consumer society that drives our capitalistic system. Without them our economic system would probably grind to a halt. No, I don’t have much sympathy for those folks either. In fact I sometimes kind of wish they would find themselves in an economic calamity just so they could see how so many others live. I know of a few like this in what was once my local church congregation. They had to have the latest cars and went skying in Vail every Christmas. Because I was once the congregation treasurer I also know that they gave less weekly than other families probably making half as much annual income.

      But since I live in the second poorest county in our state I see many many more that are working at $7 or $8/hour and just trying to keep a minimal style of living. If one spouse gets laid off, which seems to come more frequently than not, then they have to decide which bills to pay.


  2. We, as a society, have pushed the idea that every single person should be “valuable” and train them up that way. An entire generation has grown up in daycare, why would they feel that taking care of their elders is more important? Elders call it for themselves, “I wouldn’t want to be a burden”.

    We are now two generations out from women staying home as a norm. I see my daughter’s (30 yr old) generation delaying marriage well into their 30’s so they can gather the money they feel is necessary to live. They worry there will be no Social Security and certainly no pension. I do know some with debt, but most of that is college and mortgage. Their adult life has been post 9/11 and now the falling of the economy.

    My family is already having conversation about my husband’s and my care. We anticipate living in a family pod in one of their backyards. http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/01/in-the-backyard-grandmas-new-apartment/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0.
    The kids can then spend the actual money on manpower.
    I have to say caregiving, traditionally, in our family has been either male or female, depending on who can make the most money at the time.

    On a different plane….
    This is also the first generation in which many have tested and aborted almost any fetus they see as not useful. How far we from euthanasia for those of us who just cost a lot to care for?


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