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Penny Gusner Consumer Analyst

The Father's Day Index 2016: This year, give Dad some credit

Dads are our first superheroes. Smart, strong and able, they protect us from the sometimes big, scary world around us and cheer the loudest as our biggest fan. And though those moments are truly invaluable, if you added up all that time, what would it be worth to the job market?

As it turns out, not much.

For the sixth year, Insure.com used Bureau of Labor statistics data to assign a value to some of the most common tasks that dads often do around the house. We also surveyed 500 dads to discover what gifts they do and don’t want for Father’s Day. 

Dad might be feeling undervalued

This year, Dad would earn a salary of $24,738 for his household duties, which is a 3.8 percent decrease compared to the previous year. Dad’s salary has grown every year of the survey until this year.

“It’s simply a sign of the times. Since 2000, the median worker’s income has increased less than one percent,” says Insure.com’s consumer analyst Penny Gusner, “Unfortunately, Dad’s salary was bound to stall out; wage stagnation has been pervasive in the U.S.”

Five out of dad’s 13 typical jobs increased in value; the strongest increase, at 8.8 percent, came from his role as an accountant. Eight jobs suffered decreases in value, and Dad lost the most from his role as the family plumber – losing nearly 30 percent.

Father's Day job values index

Wage data source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Dad's jobBLS occupation titleHours per year2016 Median hourly wage2016 Annual earningsChange from 2015
Helping with homework Teacher/instructor 400 $25.60 $10,240 -6.6%
Driving kids Taxi driver/chauffeur 468 $15.00 $7,020 -1.5%
Preparing meals, Barbecuing Cook 156 $10.68 $1,665 2.6%
Yard work Grounds maintenance worker 104 $11.83 $1,230 4.2%
Handyman Maintenance and repair worker 48 $19.28 $925 -5.0%
Family finances Accountants and auditors 26 $33.63 $874 8.8%
Scout leader Recreation and fitness worker 50 $17.10 $855 -4.5%
Coaching a team Coach/umpire 40 $20.45 $818 -16.0%
Assembly of toys, furniture, etc. Miscellaneous assemblers and fabricator 30 $15.93 $478 0.6%
Car maintenance Automotive service technician 20 $18.10 $362 -1.8%
Plumber Pipelayer/plumber 6 $21.55 $129 -29.4%
Heavy lifting Laborers and freight, stock, and material mover 6 $13.68 $82 0.2%
Pest removal Pest control worker 4 $14.78 $59 -9.5%


Dad's total earnings: $24,738

Dad makes 38 cents to Mom’s dollar

This year’s Mother’s Day index found mom’s annual salary to be $65,523 – that’s 165 percent more than dad! What gives? As it turns out, Dad spends an average of 51.5 hours a week on these tasks; mom’s total was 148. So, 35 percent of the work equals 38 percent of the pay. 

But how common is it that moms are doing more than 2.5 times the amount of work at home? In Insure.com’s survey, 31.4 percent of respondents said their house follows “traditional” gender-based household tasks.

  • 31.4% of households follow traditional gender-based tasks.
  • 27.4% of households do not follow traditional gender-based tasks.
  • 41.2% of households share tasks equally.

All these hours spent doing various work add up fast, but there’s only so many hours in a week. Not an easy task, considering the average U.S. worker works a 47-hour work week, runs off an average of 6.8 hours of sleep a night, and is stressing about how to pay for college and save for retirement.

168 hours in a week

-47.6 hours of sleep

-4.3 hours of commuting

-47 hours of paid work

-51.5 hours of household work for dads

17.6 remaining hours for everything else!

That also means that the average mom has to do some serious multitasking in order to make up a 79-hour deficit. There’s just not enough hours in the week to fit it all in. It’s no wonder parents are always exhausted.

Dads just wanna have fun

Insure.com’s survey shed some light on the best gift options for possibly the hardest person for whom to shop.  This Father’s Day, help Dad relax and unwind with some of his preferred gifts.

Out of 500 fathers surveyed, these were the most requested gifts:

  • 29.6% -- Barbecue grill
  • 25.6% -- Electronics/gadgets
  • 23% -- Weekend getaway 
  • 20.4% -- Tools
  • 1.4% -- Other

And those same dads gave us the lowdown on the gifts they don’t want:

  • 47% -- Tie
  • 17% -- Homemade gift
  • 13.8% -- Watch
  • 11.4% -- Barbecue grill
  • 9.6% -- Tools
  • 1.2% -- Other

Dads told us about the best Father’s Day gift they had received. Here’s the top five responses:

  • 24.2% -- Electronics/gadgets
  • 20% -- Day away
  • 15.2% -- Barbecue grill
  • 8.8% -- Special dinner
  • 8.20% -- Tools

Evidently, not all dads agree that grilling or time in the garage is their favorite way to pass the time, but the message is clear: Dads prefer gifts that give them a fun way to unwind. Skip the ties and the shelf clutter, and think about your dad’s preferred way spend those precious free hours.

‘It’s all part of being a dad’

Insure.com surveyed 1,000 people (500 men, 500 women and all parents) and discovered that 26 percent of dads don’t think they should receive any salary for their role as a dad, and 18 percent of moms agree.

When asked what salary dads should earn for the work they do around the house, respondents’ top five answers were the following:

  • 22% -- Nothing
  • 16.5% -- $25,001-$50,000
  • 16% -- $50,001-$75,000
  • 15.2% -- $70,001-$100,000
  • 11.7% -- $10,001-$25,000

“It would be great if someone handed you a check at the end of each week for everything you did for your family,” says Jennifer Shelton, managing editor of Insure.com. “But that’s not why you do it. When your kids or your partner needs you, and you answer the call -- which sometimes is just a call to take out the trash. That’s part of what it means to be family.”

Protecting what matters most

It should go without saying that Dad’s true worth is not measured in clean laundry or lawn clippings, but in the love and support that he shows us each day with loud cheering at Little League games, late nights spend helping with science fair projects or an encouraging phone call on the first day of work.

Each year, Insure.com calculates the value of dad in order to shine a light on what really matters most. If you have a family that depends on you, a life insurance policy is an important piece of protecting your family, should the worst happen.

Insure.com’s survey found that only 48 percent of parents have life insurance. When asked what prompted them to buy life insurance, respondents reported the following reasons:

  • 33.5% -- Got married
  • 31.4% -- Pregnancy/Child
  • 28.1% -- Bought a house
  • 22.9% -- Advised by financial expert
  • 19.5% -- Death of a loved one
  • 11% -- Inherited assets
  • 8.3% -- Other

Insure.com’s life insurance calculator can help you estimate what you would need financially after the death of a loved one. This takes into account job-based income, debts, funeral expenses, education and inheritance. As a parent, purchasing a life insurance policy is just one more way that you can help protect and care for your family.

The average cost of a $250,000 20-year term life policy is $276 a year for a healthy 30-year-old male. That’s less than $25 – or five crafts brews – per month. You can find ratings on leading life insurance companies with Insure.com's best life insurance companies reviews.

This Father’s Day, maybe buy the steaks for the grill or take him out for a round on you. Chances are he hasn’t seen a dime of any of that money he lent you back in college. After all, Dad’s earned the raise.

Methodology

“Dad’s value” is based on occupational wages from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and does not include a salary from work outside the home. It is calculated using a list of common household tasks that fathers often perform.

For the data on Father’s Day gifts, Insure.com commissioned a survey of 1,000 men and woman age 25 or older who have children ages 6-20. The survey, conducted by Op4g, was fielded in March 2016.

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