The Father’s Day Index 2014: Feeling valued

When it comes to showing Dad how valuable he is, the simplest moments speak loudest.

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"It's the quiet times," says Jim Lin, a San Francisco Bay Area public relations professional and father of two. "It's when you're riding in the car having a conversation, and they're asking you questions. When a kid is interested in what you do and in your perspective that means a lot. I realize, oh, I matter to him, too."

The true value of dads is priceless, but the value of things dads stereotypically do around the house -- from squashing bugs to fixing leaky faucets -- totals $24,103 a year, according to Insure.com's annual Father's Day Index. The Index is based on a list of common household tasks and associated average wages from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

This year Dad's value is up 3 percent from last year's index of $23,344, and up 19 percent from 2012. (See all tasks and wages at the bottom.)

The figure doesn't include any salary Dad might earn from a job outside the house, nor does it include parenting and household duties that full-time stay-at-home dads perform.

Estimating the financial value of the contributions a parent makes to a family is a key step in determining how much life insurance to buy. When choosing a life insurance amount, it’s wise to consider salary replacement, debt, a family emergency fund, future expenses like college and a parent’s value around the house.

The valuable moments

The Father's Day Index 2014

What dads want

Dinner at your town's best restaurant

31%

A weekend getaway with the whole family

27%

Electronics

26%

Tickets to a show or sporting event

26%

A weekend getaway with your wife

25%

Power tools

21%

Breakfast in bed

19%

Gift card

16%

Sports memorabilia

15%

Alcohol

13%

A weekend getaway with the guys

13%

Car care equipment

12%

Fitness equipment

11%

A weekend getaway by yourself

11%

Barbecue grill

10%

Cigars

10%

Books

8%

Room remodel

5%

Source: Insure.com, based on an April 2014 survey of 999 dads. Respondents could choose more than one gift preference.

This Father's Day we wanted to know what makes dads feel valued. We asked three popular dad bloggers, and their answers pointed away from fancy gifts and exotic celebrations and toward everyday stuff.

For Lin, creator of The Busy Dad Blog, it's often as simple as seeing the household operate as it should or watching his 12-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter play happily outside.

"It's just knowing I'm providing for them, everything from their physical to emotional needs," he says.

Fred Goodall of Houston, founder of Mocha Dad, a website focused on fatherhood, is passionate about parenting and encouraging men to become better dads and husbands.

"I grew up without my father and so I wanted to do things differently for my family," he says.

Still, like any hands-on dad, he admits it's not always easy. He is the father of two boys, 6 and 10, and a 13-year-old girl.

"Sometimes as a dad you get a little frustrated," he says. "You may tell your kid something over and over again, and when you're trying to get your point across you wonder, 'Are they even listening to me?'"

But then his kids will show in words or actions that they've taken his lessons and examples to heart.

"Those are the moments you really feel valued."

Goodall also treasures the times when his children trust him enough to share their joys and challenges, whether it's confiding in him about a friendship problem or sharing a favorite song.

"You have to appreciate those moments when you get them," he says.

Blogger Trey Burley of Atlanta, founder of parenting website Daddy Mojo, is a stay-at-home father of two young sons.

"What makes me feel valued is when they do the right thing when no one's looking. It shows the things you drive home with them stick," he says. "They're learning while they're watching you."

Burley takes care of the kids on weekdays while his wife works, and they switch roles in the evenings and on the weekends when he catches up on consulting work. Acknowledgment from his wife that taking care of the kids isn't easy goes a long way. "It's reassuring that it really is stressing -- that I'm not doing a bad job during the week."

Showing appreciation

So how do you show Dad you value him this Father's Day?

Forget about converting the basement into a man cave. A room remodel came in at the bottom among choices for Father's Day gifts, according to an Insure.com survey of dads. Books and cigars were also among the least popular gift ideas.

Instead, consider taking Dad out to eat. Dinner at a favorite restaurant was the top choice, according to the survey, followed by a weekend getaway with the whole family, electronics and tickets to a show or sporting event.

Most dads say they want to spend the day with their kids. Fifty-seven percent prefer celebrating with the whole family and 20 percent say just with the kids. Only 12 percent say their favorite way to spend Father's Day is by themselves and 10 percent say with their wife but without the kids.

The dad bloggers we interviewed say they don't care about purchased gifts on Father's Day, but they treasure handmade cards and crafts from their children.

Burley says his favorite way to spend Father's Day is to go out to breakfast with the family at a nice bagel place and stop by the farmer's market for fresh fruit.

Lin likes to eat and relax with his family and take the day off from worrying.

Goodall still carries in his wallet a laminated card his 6-year-old son made a few years ago in preschool. As for celebrating on Father's Day, each year he and his wife and kids get their photo taken wearing matching T-shirts. He also makes up a questionnaire and asks his kids to fill it out. He saves their hand-written answers from year to year.

The Father's Day Index 2014

Dad's job BLS occupation  Hours per week Weeks per year Mean hourly wage Annual value
Family finances Accountants and auditors 0.5 52 $31.70 $824
Plumber Pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters 2 3 $30.40 $182
Helping with homework Other teachers and instructors 10 40 $26.38 $10,550
Coaching a team
Athletes, coaches, umpires, and related workers
4 10 $23.35 $934
Handyman Maintenance and repair workers, general 8 6 $20.18 $968
Car maintenance Automotive service technicians and mechanics 2 10 $17.85 $357
Assembly of toys, bookshelves, etc. Miscellaneous assemblers and fabricators 3 10 $15.25 $458
Pest removal (spiders, gross bugs) Pest control workers 1 4 $15.15 $61
Scout leader Recreation and fitness workers 5 10 $14.03 $701
Driving Taxi drivers and chauffeurs 9 52 $13.50 $6,318
Moving furniture Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand 2 3 $13.10 $79
Barbecuing Cooks 3 52 $10.28 $1,603
Mowing the lawn, landscaping, snow removal Grounds Maintenance Workers 2 52 $10.28 $1,069

Dad's 2014 value: $24,103

Wage source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

 

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