When it comes to showing Dad how valuable he is, the simplest moments speak loudest.
“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
|What dads want||Percentage|
|Dinner at your town’s best restaurant||31%|
|A weekend getaway with the whole family||27%|
|Tickets to a show or sporting event||26%|
|A weekend getaway with your wife||25%|
|Breakfast in bed||19%|
|A weekend getaway with the guys||13%|
|Car care equipment||12%|
|A weekend getaway by yourself||11%|
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.”
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|
|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