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How Much is Your Mom Worth?

This article was written by in Salaries. 8 comments.


Mother’s Day is approaching, which means you’re going to start hearing about a certain survey in noth the traditional and the “alternative” media. The paycheck comparison website, Salary.com, creates a questionnaire each year to determine the value of the work a mother does for her family. By determining the ten most popular “jobs” a mom does — chief executive officer, van driver, janitor, etc. — and weighing each job’s media corporate salary against the percentage of time spent doing that job, Salary.com determined that if a stay-at-home mom was paid a fair salary in 2006, it wold be $134,121.

This year, moms received a raise and the figure is now calculated at $138,095.

I pointed out this rebuttal last year, but it’s worth repeating. Carl Bialik from the Wall Street Journal thinks it’s ridiculous.

Claudia Goldin, a professor of economics at Harvard, dismissed the survey as “silly.” “The calculation isn’t for what anyone would pay an individual,” Prof. Goldin said. “Nor is it for exactly what the individual does. It is for what the person claims they are doing during a long day — CEO, psychologist, etc. And what exactly is the salary for the CEO of a business that shows no profits and sells no services or goods? I think it is probably zero…”

There are other problems with the estimate. A big one is that mothers aren’t trained as professionals for some of the jobs, like computer operator and cook, so their work in those areas may be overvalued at the typical hourly salary.

If you want to check out how much your mom is “worth,” visit the Mom Salary Wizard. This is the 2006 version. I guess the 2007 data has not been officially released yet, but you can estimate by adding 3% on to your result.

Updated February 6, 2012 and originally published May 3, 2007. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar wincklhofer

I find it interesting that the Wall Street Journal claim that the pay for a CEO of a company that make no profits would be zero. I think the shareholders of Home Depot would beg to differ.

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avatar Jeremy Bettis

The whole thing is crazy anyway, the thing that we really want to know is what the replacement cost for Mom would be. I think that if I put an ad in the classifieds asking for someone to work 18 hours a day, cooking, cleaning, watching the kids, etc., it would probably take about $30,000 to $45,000 a year.

And that person probably would not do as good of a job as my wife does. But it does mean that I need to have about $300,000 of life insurance on her so I can pay for that person when she is gone.

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avatar Ben

Cool, my wife is quitting her job to stay at home with our son. She made much less than 138K a year so I guess she’s getting a raise!

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avatar Doobie

Why does this topic sound like some sort of smack-talking exercise amongst wealthy people?

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