Jonathan Pond, a financial planner and author of "The New Century Family Money Book," has analyzed the cost advantages when both spouses work. He based his analysis on a Boston-area employee with an average annual income of $30,000. Here's what he found:
* Pretax income: $30,000.
* After federal, state and social security tax: $22,500 left.
* After child-care expenses of $180 a week: $14,000 (also takes into account $1,000 child-care tax credit).
* After job-related expenses (transportation, lunch, clothing, ordering takeout food after work): $10,000, or roughly $200 per week.
Pond's conclusions: "They were better off economically by having the spouse work outside the home on a pure dollars-and-cents basis. But if you factor in the aggravation and everything else, the economic benefit was nominal when you've got a couple of kids.
"Then, lifestyle decisions have to come into play. Is is worth it if you take home $400 a week and spend $200 of that in child care?"