Domestic dads

Every holiday, we journalist try to find stories to relate to these largely consumer celebrations. So, there are a lot of Father’s Day stories out there. But one did catch my attention.

Eve Tahmincioglu, writing for Today.com, reports that Insure.com calculated what dads might earn doing the things they typically do around the house, such as killing bugs or mowing the lawn. Turns out their work would total about $20,248 a year in salary, compared with $60,182 for the jobs mothers typically do, such as cooking and housecleaning.

The value of the work was based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for how much similar jobs earn in the outside work world, reports Tahmincioglu.

Another survey by the labor bureau found that on an average day 20 percent of men did housework such as cleaning or laundry, compared with 49 percent of women. Forty-one percent of men did food preparation or cleanup, compared with 68 percent of women.

But dads are taking on more domestic duties. A survey by Salary.com found that the amount of time dads are working in the home is increasing.

Nancy Folbre, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts, said that while women are doing more work around the house, according to these surveys, don’t give too much credence to the findings.

“They underestimate both what mothers and fathers do.”

Quite true. The work my husband does for our family is priceless. Happy Father’s Day, honey.

Celebrity Cash

One Hip-hop music dad, Sean “Diddy” Combs, was recently in the middle of a small debate. Combs’s son, Justin Combs, has received a full athletic scholarship to play football at the University of California in Los Angeles.

The young Combs graduated with a 3.75 grade-point average, but some questioned if the cash-strapped university should have given a scholarship to the son of an entertainer reportedly worth an estimated $475 million, reported Kate Mather of the Los Angeles Times.

UCLA has said that the money used for Justin Combs’s merit-based athletic scholarship wouldn’t affect need-based scholarships awarded to other students, Mather reported.

Nonetheless, Fox News commentator Bill O’ Reilly said Diddy should have encouraged his son to turn down the scholarship.

“Once the scholarship is granted . . . and it goes in the records that the kid earned it, [he] should’ve said, ‘You know what, we’re not gonna take it,’” Reilly said on his TV show, “The O’Reilly Factor.”

The Baltimore Sun compiled a roundup of comments from sports writers on whether Combs’s son should have taken the scholarship.

“Yes, Justin Combs should forgo his UCLA scholarship,” wrote Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune. “Right after Alex Rodriguez tears up his next Yankees check (direct depositing might make that a challenge) and Mark Zuckerberg forfeits shares of his Facebook stock. Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs’ might be worth $475 million, but that doesn’t mean his son has to pay some kind of college estate tax.”

David Teel of the Newport News Daily Press wrote: “How many children of privilege do you think are on scholarship? Not just for football, but for basketball, tennis, music and math? Hundreds? Thousands? Should they compete and work pro bono the rest of their lives because Dad or Mom is successful? We teach our children to strive and work, and when they do, they deserve the reward.”

The Washington Post’s Celebritology blogger Jen Chaney was right on the money about the issue.

“A parent with Diddy’s level of wealth — like, I am going to spend $360K on a car for my son’s 16th birthday wealth — is equipped to help their kids with college on at least some level, and probably should.” Chaney wrote. “But I also think that if a student earns a merit-based scholarship because they did the work to get it, then they should get it. We can’t treat the children of celebrities differently than we treat other kids, period.”

This week’s Color of Money Question: Should children of wealthy parents accept scholarships? Send your responses to colorofmoney@washpost.com. Be sure to include your full name, city and state. Put “Celebrity Cash” in the subject line.

Father’s Day Gifts

If you are still trying to figure out what to buy Dad for Father’s Day, Cameron Huddleston, contributing editor for Kiplinger.com, has some gift suggestions from a survey of what men really want.

And, guess what, they don’t want ties. Instead, how about these:

-- A home-cooked meal. This is not only a more intimate way to express your gratitude but also budget-friendly, Huddleston writes.

-- The latest electronic devices. More than half of the men polled prefer a smartphone or tablet.

-- A guy’s day out. Dad may want a guilt-free outing with his fellas, Huddleston says. Such events can be costly, so find something you can afford. You can find discounted, one-of-a-kind outdoor activities in major U.S. cities at zozi.com, adventure packages for less than $100 at Cloud 9 Living and deals on activities at Groupon.com.

Responses to “Wedding Weariness”

For last week’s Color of Money Question, I asked: “Are engagement parties, shower gifts and registries too much?”

I think it’s gotten crazy. Here’s what some of you think:

“Yes, I think the celebrations are getting to be a bit much,” wrote Ben James of Falls Church, Va. “It’s not enough that we’re expected to bring gifts to out-of-town weddings, but now my wife feels obligated to get gifts off the registry for the bridal shower as well? Registries balloon with guest lists. . . and [the] registry quickly doubles and goes beyond what might truly be needed and into the realm of frivolous or ridiculous.”

Emily Camfield of Madison, Wis., thinks gift registries are okay, but all the events are too much. She wrote: “What bothers me the most is how modern weddings seem to be so formulaic. They are almost all exactly the same, differing only in the color choices, exact location, and names on the invitations. I’m just so tired of them, I feel like I’ve been to the same events over and over and over again.”

Lorna Gilkey of Alexandria, Va., has been a bridesmaid three times and says that a combination bridal shower/bachelorette parties are fine, but not if they require gifts. “Your only gift should come at the actual wedding,” Gilkey said. “Most wedding productions today, with all the trappings, are the result of two simple words: Greed and selfishness.”

“This topic is very timely as my wedding day is just a little over a year away and there is much yet to be done,” wrote Michelle Nusum of Ellicott City, Md. “My future husband and I are ‘simple-conservative’ when it comes to style and spending. Our wedding is about sharing in our celebration and not about how much ‘loot’ we can get by creating reasons for people to give us stuff.”

Nusum said they decided early to keep the cost of the wedding under control for them, their wedding party and guests by cutting things out.

“So there was no engagement party or shower,” she said. “Our bachelor/bachelorette parties will be limited to close friends and family. Though we will have a registry (to ensure our gifts will actually be used), there will be no $400 toaster on the list! I am allowing my bridesmaids to pick their own cocktail-style dresses to ensure that they can wear them again. We are hopeful that our guests and wedding party appreciate all of our efforts to provide them a classy (yet affordable) celebration of our love.”

Now, here is a couple after my own heart.

Tia Lewis contributed to this report.

You are welcome to e-mail comments and questions to colorofmoney@washpost.com. Please include your name and hometown; your comments may be used in a future column or newsletter unless otherwise requested.

Michelle Singletary writes the nationally syndicated personal finance column, “The Color of Money.”
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Show Comments

Every holiday, we journalist try to find stories to relate to these largely consumer celebrations. So, there are a lot of Father’s Day stories out there. But one did catch my attention.

Eve Tahmincioglu, writing for Today.com, reports that Insure.com calculated what dads might earn doing the things they typically do around the house, such as killing bugs or mowing the lawn. Turns out their work would total about $20,248 a year in salary, compared with $60,182 for the jobs mothers typically do, such as cooking and housecleaning.

The value of the work was based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for how much similar jobs earn in the outside work world, reports Tahmincioglu.

Another survey by the labor bureau found that on an average day 20 percent of men did housework such as cleaning or laundry, compared with 49 percent of women. Forty-one percent of men did food preparation or cleanup, compared with 68 percent of women.

But dads are taking on more domestic duties. A survey by Salary.com found that the amount of time dads are working in the home is increasing.

Nancy Folbre, an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts, said that while women are doing more work around the house, according to these surveys, don’t give too much credence to the findings.

“They underestimate both what mothers and fathers do.”

Quite true. The work my husband does for our family is priceless. Happy Father’s Day, honey.

Celebrity Cash

One Hip-hop music dad, Sean “Diddy” Combs, was recently in the middle of a small debate. Combs’s son, Justin Combs, has received a full athletic scholarship to play football at the University of California in Los Angeles.

The young Combs graduated with a 3.75 grade-point average, but some questioned if the cash-strapped university should have given a scholarship to the son of an entertainer reportedly worth an estimated $475 million, reported Kate Mather of the Los Angeles Times.

UCLA has said that the money used for Justin Combs’s merit-based athletic scholarship wouldn’t affect need-based scholarships awarded to other students, Mather reported.

Nonetheless, Fox News commentator Bill O’ Reilly said Diddy should have encouraged his son to turn down the scholarship.

“Once the scholarship is granted . . . and it goes in the records that the kid earned it, [he] should’ve said, ‘You know what, we’re not gonna take it,’” Reilly said on his TV show, “The O’Reilly Factor.”

The Baltimore Sun compiled a roundup of comments from sports writers on whether Combs’s son should have taken the scholarship.

“Yes, Justin Combs should forgo his UCLA scholarship,” wrote Teddy Greenstein of the Chicago Tribune. “Right after Alex Rodriguez tears up his next Yankees check (direct depositing might make that a challenge) and Mark Zuckerberg forfeits shares of his Facebook stock. Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs’ might be worth $475 million, but that doesn’t mean his son has to pay some kind of college estate tax.”

David Teel of the Newport News Daily Press wrote: “How many children of privilege do you think are on scholarship? Not just for football, but for basketball, tennis, music and math? Hundreds? Thousands? Should they compete and work pro bono the rest of their lives because Dad or Mom is successful? We teach our children to strive and work, and when they do, they deserve the reward.”

The Washington Post’s Celebritology blogger Jen Chaney was right on the money about the issue.

“A parent with Diddy’s level of wealth — like, I am going to spend $360K on a car for my son’s 16th birthday wealth — is equipped to help their kids with college on at least some level, and probably should.” Chaney wrote. “But I also think that if a student earns a merit-based scholarship because they did the work to get it, then they should get it. We can’t treat the children of celebrities differently than we treat other kids, period.”

This week’s Color of Money Question: Should children of wealthy parents accept scholarships? Send your responses to colorofmoney@washpost.com. Be sure to include your full name, city and state. Put “Celebrity Cash” in the subject line.

Father’s Day Gifts

If you are still trying to figure out what to buy Dad for Father’s Day, Cameron Huddleston, contributing editor for Kiplinger.com, has some gift suggestions from a survey of what men really want.

And, guess what, they don’t want ties. Instead, how about these:

-- A home-cooked meal. This is not only a more intimate way to express your gratitude but also budget-friendly, Huddleston writes.

-- The latest electronic devices. More than half of the men polled prefer a smartphone or tablet.

-- A guy’s day out. Dad may want a guilt-free outing with his fellas, Huddleston says. Such events can be costly, so find something you can afford. You can find discounted, one-of-a-kind outdoor activities in major U.S. cities at zozi.com, adventure packages for less than $100 at Cloud 9 Living and deals on activities at Groupon.com.

Responses to “Wedding Weariness”

For last week’s Color of Money Question, I asked: “Are engagement parties, shower gifts and registries too much?”

I think it’s gotten crazy. Here’s what some of you think:

“Yes, I think the celebrations are getting to be a bit much,” wrote Ben James of Falls Church, Va. “It’s not enough that we’re expected to bring gifts to out-of-town weddings, but now my wife feels obligated to get gifts off the registry for the bridal shower as well? Registries balloon with guest lists. . . and [the] registry quickly doubles and goes beyond what might truly be needed and into the realm of frivolous or ridiculous.”

Emily Camfield of Madison, Wis., thinks gift registries are okay, but all the events are too much. She wrote: “What bothers me the most is how modern weddings seem to be so formulaic. They are almost all exactly the same, differing only in the color choices, exact location, and names on the invitations. I’m just so tired of them, I feel like I’ve been to the same events over and over and over again.”

Lorna Gilkey of Alexandria, Va., has been a bridesmaid three times and says that a combination bridal shower/bachelorette parties are fine, but not if they require gifts. “Your only gift should come at the actual wedding,” Gilkey said. “Most wedding productions today, with all the trappings, are the result of two simple words: Greed and selfishness.”

“This topic is very timely as my wedding day is just a little over a year away and there is much yet to be done,” wrote Michelle Nusum of Ellicott City, Md. “My future husband and I are ‘simple-conservative’ when it comes to style and spending. Our wedding is about sharing in our celebration and not about how much ‘loot’ we can get by creating reasons for people to give us stuff.”

Nusum said they decided early to keep the cost of the wedding under control for them, their wedding party and guests by cutting things out.

“So there was no engagement party or shower,” she said. “Our bachelor/bachelorette parties will be limited to close friends and family. Though we will have a registry (to ensure our gifts will actually be used), there will be no $400 toaster on the list! I am allowing my bridesmaids to pick their own cocktail-style dresses to ensure that they can wear them again. We are hopeful that our guests and wedding party appreciate all of our efforts to provide them a classy (yet affordable) celebration of our love.”

Now, here is a couple after my own heart.

Tia Lewis contributed to this report.

You are welcome to e-mail comments and questions to colorofmoney@washpost.com. Please include your name and hometown; your comments may be used in a future column or newsletter unless otherwise requested.

Michelle Singletary writes the nationally syndicated personal finance column, “The Color of Money.”
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