Author Topic: Am I harming my future to have a good work/life balance now?  (Read 4195 times)

Suze456

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Am I harming my future to have a good work/life balance now?
« on: April 27, 2016, 04:24:18 PM »
First up, I came across MMM when reducing expenses so I could take unpaid maternity leave. Now I'm 35 with 2 kids, 1 in school, 1 toddler. Live in Ireland so very different taxation and social welfare. I've worked to figure out a good balance for us. Dh works 70+ hours a week so the bulk of the house/kids falls to me. So at present I work 16 hours a week and love it. Love time with the kids and love going to work. Financially I make about 16k a year with 5.5k going to childcare. Need to make a few adjustments but don't see an issue in putting 20% of salary in a pension (have been putting 10%)  and also have been saving 1.5k a year for kids education (in my name so reserve the right to spend how I please). And we live comfortably, low income but low expenses.

So it's working for us at the moment but obviously will not get me to FI anytime soon and is pennies compared to lots of mustachians :)

So, I sometimes wonder if I should be working more while I'm able, to build up that nest egg? However if I worked 40 hours a week,with all the extra pressures that will put on our family, after paying taxes, commute and childcare, I would have an extra 110 a week/ 5.7k a year. Just doesn't seem worth it to me. Only big advantage I can see is that I can put up to 20% of salary into pension tax free, so some of that tax could go into a pension. But there's a high personal cost to that.

Have about 30k invested but we have a lovely 41% tax on interest earned so much harder to invest here.

In a few years the kids will be in full-time education so that will either reduce (or eliminate) childcare or I can work more hours for same childcare.
So what are my options?
1. Go back to work full-time now, get that 5.7k, lose the will to live
2. Continue as we are for another few years, reassess when both kids are in school
3. Other option I'm not thinking of?
« Last Edit: April 27, 2016, 04:26:44 PM by Suze456 »

AZDude

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Re: Am I harming my future to have a good work/life balance now?
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2016, 04:29:45 PM »
I would continue as you are. Time with young kids is precious and worth it to me. I took a financial hit to spend more time with my then-2 year old and do not regret it for an instant.

mozar

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Re: Am I harming my future to have a good work/life balance now?
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2016, 05:45:56 PM »
Reassess when kids are in school.

hunniebun

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Re: Am I harming my future to have a good work/life balance now?
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2016, 06:59:26 PM »
I think that this is a conundrum for many of us working-mom mustachian wanna-bes! Only you can know the right balance. For me (at 39) I have missed the boat on retiring super early and now aiming for just early-ish (around 50 or so). I currently work full time, but just went back to that schedule after working a reduced week (30 hrs) and it is difficult, but is a trade off I had to be willing to make for a promotion.  It is always a trade off between assessing what works for your family now, and your future needs.  I am a little more in the 'you only live once' camp, especially with young kids. They are only little for a very small period of time and for me, I tried to make the most of that.   It is too bad that your dh works such long hours, since maybe his is missing out a little bit...but as long as he is happy with the situation, that is all that matters.  My two cents is to make the most of your part time arrangement now, find efficiency where you can and save that extra and worry about building your retirement later.  I honestly think that unless you were serious about FIREing and positioned yourself for that before kids, the trade off is just too great once on the kids arrive.  Not to say you can't keep working at it, but I wouldn't have missed the time I had off with my babies for anything...not even early retirement. 

BFGirl

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Re: Am I harming my future to have a good work/life balance now?
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2016, 09:09:10 AM »
I switched to a reduced schedule when my children were born and I think it gives you time with your kids as well as adult time and keeps your skills up to date.  I wouldn't change unless you have to.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Am I harming my future to have a good work/life balance now?
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2016, 09:36:25 AM »
How does your husband feel about about working 70 hours a week? That seems excessive.

mm1970

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Re: Am I harming my future to have a good work/life balance now?
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2016, 02:26:55 PM »
I'd keep it like you are and wait.

Combined you work 86 hours a week.  I don't think it's a great idea to go much beyond that.  I think my husband and I probably combined work about 85.

I wish it were lower.

seattlecyclone

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Re: Am I harming my future to have a good work/life balance now?
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2016, 02:38:31 PM »
Sometimes people leave the workforce to stay home with their kids until they're old enough for school, because their salary is roughly equivalent to the cost of childcare (or even less!), so they don't see working for that time as worthwhile. However if they plan to go back to work when the kids are in school, they may find that the amount of money they earn after such a long break is much less than they would earn if they had kept working. Therefore I encourage you to count not only just the 5.7k/year you will earn from working more, but also count how much more you might be able to earn in the future by spending more time on your career now.

It may still prove not to be worthwhile when you consider the lost time with your kids and extra stress, but you owe it to yourself to consider the full long-term financial picture and not just this one year.

AlwaysLearningToSave

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Re: Am I harming my future to have a good work/life balance now?
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2016, 03:28:31 PM »
I vote to reassess when the kiddos are in school.

The financial benefit doesn't seem worth it to me.  If you were to start working full time, my guess is that you would end up outsourcing more of the homemaking tasks for convenience and your basic cost of living would rise.  It wouldn't take much of that for you to completely wipe out any financial gain you can get from the increased work schedule.

It is good that you are employed part time now.  Keep doing that to ensure you are marketable when the time comes that you can jump back in the workforce full time.

Suze456

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Re: Am I harming my future to have a good work/life balance now?
« Reply #9 on: April 28, 2016, 04:15:45 PM »
Thanks all for taking the time to reply, appreciate all your input. Might look at swapping some childcare to reduce that cost a bit. Yes, I think the 70 hours is excessive but it's outside my control even though it definitely affects my choices (and options).

AMandM

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Re: Am I harming my future to have a good work/life balance now?
« Reply #10 on: April 28, 2016, 05:34:41 PM »
As things stand now, you are living a life you enjoy and saving money. In a few years you'll be able to work more and save faster, I presume still living a life you enjoy.  Why are you saving?  So that at some point in the future, when you're FI, you'll be able to live a life you enjoy without working.

To increase your work now is to bring the FI point closer, so you'll have more time to enjoy life without working, at the cost of making the next few years miserable.  The difference in quality of life for the next few years seems too high, from what you've said, to be worth the increment in happiness that comes from not working for a shorter amount of time.

DebtFreeBy25

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Re: Am I harming my future to have a good work/life balance now?
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2016, 09:13:57 PM »
To increase your work now is to bring the FI point closer, so you'll have more time to enjoy life without working, at the cost of making the next few years miserable.  The difference in quality of life for the next few years seems too high, from what you've said, to be worth the increment in happiness that comes from not working for a shorter amount of time.

This is my take as well.

The third option would involve your husband making a change to work less, so you could work more without all of the negative consequences for your family. If both spouses are interested in pursing a career, the work arrangements should reflect that. I also believe highly equal childcare and domestic responsibilities lead to conflict for most couples.