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The Father's Day Index: Feeling valued

Dad's value is about $24,000 this year, but here's how to make him feel like a million bucks.

By QuinStreet Jun 12, 2014 1:39PM

Image: Father and son © Bill Cannon, Photodisc Red, Getty Images

By Barbara Marquand,

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

"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'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. See the full list of tasks and wages.

This year Dad's value is up 3 percent from last year's index of $23,344, and up 19 percent from 2012.

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

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 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.

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Jun 12, 2014 5:06PM
I lost my dad 8 years ago to cancer. I don't know how this lame MSN writer gets their $$$ figures, but I figured my dad was priceless!
Jun 12, 2014 6:46PM
My Dad passed away 15 years ago.  There is not a day that goes by that I don't think about him and how funny he was.   I had called him the night before he died and asked him to join me for dinner.  I was  looking forward to seeing him.   Every time I pass by the restaurant we were supposed to have dinner at I still cry.   My father would laugh at this article.   Being a great father just came naturally and easy for him.    How can you put a price tag on a beautifully natural relationship?   I miss you, Dad, and to this day I have to say I have yet to meet a person who could tell a joke like you.  Until we meet again, I hope you're in a place that has great big band music, some really good scotch and your Lucky Strikes.  Tell Mom I love her!   Happy Fathers Day!    
Jun 12, 2014 9:19PM
My Dad only wanted time, never gifts. Always our time. He was 92 when he died.
Jun 12, 2014 4:55PM
The last thing I said to my dad was "Happy birthday dad! see you tonight" He was killed in a car accident later that day.
Jun 13, 2014 8:14AM
Seems strange to me a father is worth so little but the mother is worth so much more, this is all BS to most folks but we all know a good father and mother is not measured in dollars value but bad ones parents are worthless in every way.
Jun 12, 2014 7:39PM
A price cannot be put on a Father, as they are priceless. What value matters is the value and appreciation you show your Father while you have the opportunity to. Cherish the times together while you have the chance, because that can change suddenly.  Live every day as if it is your last, treasure the moments of today so that you may have many precious memories for tomorrow. Happy Father's Day to all of the Dads out there, may you all have a blessed day with your loved ones.
How would one put a price tag on anybody, let alone a parent?  Parents are priceless, without them we wouldn't be here. I could not possibly afford to pay a price for my parents because all of the things they freely gave to me with no strings attached in addition to all of their compassion, wisdom, dignity, integrity, etc. do not come with a price tag, but rather from their hearts. Those types of things simply cannot be priced, as their value is so high and they cannot be bought! Happy Father's Day to one and all! :)
Couldn't slap a price tag on my Dad...His life-lessons were invaluable.

Whether teaching me how to act, or, unfortunately, how not to act...There is no $$$ to put on what I got out of it.

Obviously, I am where I am today because of my actions and choices, but it all began with Dad and Mom's guidance.

Seriously, no price tag on it!

Jun 13, 2014 8:58AM
Hey Sonny !  Don't worry about how much I'm worth.
I know how much I'm worth !
Jun 13, 2014 8:22AM
I need not a single gift but only want the gift of my daughters time - assuming she calls me or invites me over for Fathers Day. I have a little over a million dollars in investments she knows nothing about and I'm not going to tell her. I don't want to buy my child's love. It's being donated to charity. 
Jun 13, 2014 9:31AM

my wife and kid always remind me how much I'm worth

...when they ask me for some more money

Jun 13, 2014 10:34AM

OMG!!!!...... a mainstream media article that actually says something good about fathers. I've been comparing articles in the media on mothers day to fathers day for years. The ratio is about 4 to 1 and the ones on fathers day aren't nearly as positive as the ones on mothers day. In fact, they frequently put NEGATIVE articles about fathers in the news on fathers day. ll stop at nothing to destroy Christian white men.


Furthermore, modern American society seems to think a fathers worth is only in dollars and cents. Doing what they do to divorced or unwed fathers in this country and calling it child support is like calling a brutal gang rape a love affair. Furthermore, "visitation" (why is a father considered a visitor with his own child?) is only enforced if she doesn't tell the right lies and doesn't have the right corrupt lawyer who knows the right corrupt judge.


A woman and I made a child out of wedlock. She was sent to 4 years of nursing school on the state and I was sent to 2 years of jail. That's equal justice under the law American style. The Constitution may as well be printed on toilet paper.

Jun 13, 2014 12:02PM
My husband stepped into the dad role after my first husband passed away.  Not many men choose to be a dad in this fashion.  When he came into their lives, they were 5 and 6 and very afraid to lose anyone else....He is dad to them and a very amazing man to me!  Priceless for sure. 

Jun 13, 2014 12:50PM

I will be spending Fathers day with my step-father. A real Father. A man who stepped-up when he didn't have to. Put-up when he didn't have to. Paid for braces and prom dresses when he didn't have to. He gave me and my sibling's a far better life our biological father was supposed to try to give us but didn't want to and made sure he didn't. So my step father will always be the one celebrated as Dad. He earned it.

Jun 13, 2014 12:09PM

Obama as a dad = NOTHING!  He isn't worth crap!

Jun 13, 2014 12:43PM
Honoring thy Father and Mother is not a one day affair.
Jun 12, 2014 10:58PM
Love my father, love the father of my children (aka my hubby).  They are priceless to me ... I guess it's good to know I should add ~$23k to his annual salary when calculating life insurance needs.
Jun 13, 2014 11:46AM

No need to quantify our value. All we do around the house we do because it has to be done and because we need the physical activity. We certainly do not need to be made into a person that is a hundred miles close as important and valuable to what mom is. She is all that and more.

However, I am never allowed to forget that everyday is father's day.

Jun 13, 2014 12:57PM
I am a father of two men, I don't recall the times I was there when mommy was asleep and didn't want to get up to feed her two babies when they cried at night. I think the mom has a important job nurturing the baby for nine months, but what happens when daddy can't provide a home and all the other things that kids and mothers want. I think it is **** that MSN puts a price on men and giving a lot of men no credit for anything. The diminishing of the American father is horrible. This is a subject that is going to make us fall far more apart that come together. Do we all see the irony in the name of our country...The UNITED STATES??!! Really America. We are so UN UNITED right now!! Please see everyone for who they are, not from a statistic that can be altered from bias.
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