Author Topic: Career and Money Advice for a SAHM  (Read 2002 times)

WestCoastSlowFI

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Career and Money Advice for a SAHM
« on: December 13, 2019, 09:02:39 AM »
Hello!

My husband and I have been pursuing a slow/lazy fat FI for a few years now. We are 36/38 and have two kids, 7 and 4. I have been a SAHM for the past four years, and I'm starting to think about what's next. 

I previously worked in business making around $75K per year. I could go back to a similar job, but it wasn't my passion and I'd like to try something new. I have an interest in speech therapy, but it would require about 3 years of additional schooling (pre-req's + masters) and cost $50k. It is not a highly paid field, so I just can't wrap my head around spending that much time and money for something that will barely pay for itself, especially since I'd ideally like to work part-time.

What would you suggest? Should I pursue the degree, knowing that it would be mostly for my own satisfaction and a little extra money over time, or should I do something more practical that may not be as fulfilling? Or perhaps you know of another flexible career related to kids/language/early literacy that doesn't require a masters? I am extremely fortunate that I don't necessarily have to go back to work, but I'd eventually like to in some capacity.

Some numbers for you...

-We are currently contributing $65K/year toward retirement and spend a little less than $100K per year in a HCOL area.
-Our current net worth is $1.4 million, with about $900K of that being investments.
-Assuming all goes well, we are on track to reach our conservative FI number of 3.5 million by the time we are 50 (assuming 7% ROR).

P.S. I know our spending is high, but even if I increased our contributions to a more aggressive $90K per year it appears it would only shave off a couple of years so it doesn't feel worth it to us at this time - but feel free to convince me otherwise, as I fully expect you will. ;) 

Maenad

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Re: Career and Money Advice for a SAHM
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2019, 10:41:58 AM »
I'd recommend something practical that can bring in good money. I think it's important for women to be able to support ourselves - divorces, deaths, career-ending injuries all happen, and if something bad happens to the current breadwinner you should be able to pick up as much slack as you can with providing for the household, especially while your kids are still young.

I know it's a rather pessimistic view, but I'm also seeing what's currently happening to my aunts and cousins who were SAHMs, they're not as financially secure as they thought they'd be.

Cranky

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Re: Career and Money Advice for a SAHM
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2019, 12:37:18 PM »
After 16 years as a Sahm, I went back to work teaching in a private school. It worked out well for me because I had 0 costs to work - no new clothes, no childcare, walked to work.

It didnít pay super well, but we were used to living cheaply. We used my salary to put the kids through college and then saved pretty much my whole paycheck, which added up to a fairly tidy sum.

frugaliknowit

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Re: Career and Money Advice for a SAHM
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2019, 01:33:09 PM »
I'd recommend something practical that can bring in good money. I think it's important for women to be able to support ourselves - divorces, deaths, career-ending injuries all happen, and if something bad happens to the current breadwinner you should be able to pick up as much slack as you can with providing for the household, especially while your kids are still young.

I know it's a rather pessimistic view, but I'm also seeing what's currently happening to my aunts and cousins who were SAHMs, they're not as financially secure as they thought they'd be.

+1

use2betrix

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Re: Career and Money Advice for a SAHM
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2019, 02:27:07 PM »

P.S. I know our spending is high, but even if I increased our contributions to a more aggressive $90K per year it appears it would only shave off a couple of years so it doesn't feel worth it to us at this time - but feel free to convince me otherwise, as I fully expect you will. ;)

I certainly understand the way you are looking at it. Very very easy to do, and hard to remember to think differently..

Letís look at it another way (Iím not going to do the full math and just use examples). Pretend your annual spending is $40k, so by the 4% rule you need $1MM to retire. You think, ďwell, if I reduce my spending to $35k, and save an extra $5k/yr, itís only going to take me 18 years instead of 20 years to hit $1MM, thatís hardly worth it.Ē

However, the difference is that if you learned to live off $35k, then your FIRE number is $875k instead of $1MM. So not only are you saving an extra $5k/yr, but your FIRE number is also $125k less.


Maybe youíre already looking at it this way, but many people donít, so I wanted to make sure it was pointed out.

ysette9

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Re: Career and Money Advice for a SAHM
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2019, 03:13:31 PM »
$50k and three years for training for a low-paid job sounds more like a hobby to me that you should pursue once you hit FI. How about you find something more lucrative, hole your nose, get to your number using 4% instead of 3.5%, and then pursue your speech therapy desire?

wellactually

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Re: Career and Money Advice for a SAHM
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2019, 03:51:42 PM »
What is your educational background?

There are many opportunities through things like Parents As Teachers or your state/local early intervention programs which just require training and certification, not extra degrees. Those are usually part time roles, though low-paying.

One thing I've considered down the line is looking at instructional aide or classroom aide positions in my local school district. While the pay is only around $14-19/hr in my parts for these jobs, they run on the school year schedule. I did some napkin math on how much it costs in my area for after school (or wrap around) care, spring break, snow day, and summer care for two elementary-aged kid. I came up with a minimum of $7500/annually if you assume they go to summer school. It's also a lower-responsibility role than a teacher, but you can still contribute quite a lot.

You might also look at your local library and just start seeing what kinds of jobs they post. Our local library has a lot of part-time options and operates a ton of programs for children.

Finally, do you know anyone in the SLP field? It looks like there is an SLP Aide position which requires far less schooling. It might be worth seeing if that is a role that has actual jobs, if you'd like it, and if it has any advantages over the fully-credentialed SLP option for you.


WestCoastSlowFI

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Re: Career and Money Advice for a SAHM
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2019, 04:24:14 PM »
I'd recommend something practical that can bring in good money. I think it's important for women to be able to support ourselves - divorces, deaths, career-ending injuries all happen, and if something bad happens to the current breadwinner you should be able to pick up as much slack as you can with providing for the household, especially while your kids are still young.

I know it's a rather pessimistic view, but I'm also seeing what's currently happening to my aunts and cousins who were SAHMs, they're not as financially secure as they thought they'd be.

Thank you, I know there is always that risk. I also want my kids to see me accomplishing something else since they don't remember my working days. Also, I'd love a job that could transition to a very part-time passion project in retirement...just need to figure out what that is.

WestCoastSlowFI

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Re: Career and Money Advice for a SAHM
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2019, 04:30:14 PM »

P.S. I know our spending is high, but even if I increased our contributions to a more aggressive $90K per year it appears it would only shave off a couple of years so it doesn't feel worth it to us at this time - but feel free to convince me otherwise, as I fully expect you will. ;)

I certainly understand the way you are looking at it. Very very easy to do, and hard to remember to think differently..

Letís look at it another way (Iím not going to do the full math and just use examples). Pretend your annual spending is $40k, so by the 4% rule you need $1MM to retire. You think, ďwell, if I reduce my spending to $35k, and save an extra $5k/yr, itís only going to take me 18 years instead of 20 years to hit $1MM, thatís hardly worth it.Ē

However, the difference is that if you learned to live off $35k, then your FIRE number is $875k instead of $1MM. So not only are you saving an extra $5k/yr, but your FIRE number is also $125k less.


Maybe youíre already looking at it this way, but many people donít, so I wanted to make sure it was pointed out.

You are absolutely right. I know we need to take a closer look at our budget because there is certainly fat to be trimmed that probably wouldn't even affect our quality of life, even if it takes effort to reign in.

The good thing is that we haven't been increasing our admittedly already extravagant lifestyle. Whenever my H gets a raise, we have just added it to our savings.

WestCoastSlowFI

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Re: Career and Money Advice for a SAHM
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2019, 04:35:18 PM »
$50k and three years for training for a low-paid job sounds more like a hobby to me that you should pursue once you hit FI. How about you find something more lucrative, hole your nose, get to your number using 4% instead of 3.5%, and then pursue your speech therapy desire?

I wouldn't say it's completely low paid. I believe the average in our area is around $75-80K per year. But still, I agree that it may not make sense right now.

WestCoastSlowFI

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Re: Career and Money Advice for a SAHM
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2019, 04:38:26 PM »
What is your educational background?

There are many opportunities through things like Parents As Teachers or your state/local early intervention programs which just require training and certification, not extra degrees. Those are usually part time roles, though low-paying.

One thing I've considered down the line is looking at instructional aide or classroom aide positions in my local school district. While the pay is only around $14-19/hr in my parts for these jobs, they run on the school year schedule. I did some napkin math on how much it costs in my area for after school (or wrap around) care, spring break, snow day, and summer care for two elementary-aged kid. I came up with a minimum of $7500/annually if you assume they go to summer school. It's also a lower-responsibility role than a teacher, but you can still contribute quite a lot.

You might also look at your local library and just start seeing what kinds of jobs they post. Our local library has a lot of part-time options and operates a ton of programs for children.

Finally, do you know anyone in the SLP field? It looks like there is an SLP Aide position which requires far less schooling. It might be worth seeing if that is a role that has actual jobs, if you'd like it, and if it has any advantages over the fully-credentialed SLP option for you.

These are great ideas, thank you! I'm hoping to find something a bit better paid than and aide or instructional assistant, but you have a great point about the flexibility of schedule and it could be a good stepping stone toward something else.

ysette9

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Re: Career and Money Advice for a SAHM
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2019, 05:08:06 PM »
Okay, maybe I mis-interpreted what you meant by low pay. That isnít low paying but three years is a while.

seemsright

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Re: Career and Money Advice for a SAHM
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2019, 08:09:30 PM »
I have been FIRED since the day DD was born. It has been amazing to be able to teach her enough during the early years to then turn around and fight the school district for a grade skip once she hit kinder. I am able to not worry about daycare, or if there is sick days, or teacher work days or this or that. What about studying and practicing old school home economics and build your savings rate from that?

Why go to work? It sounds like you are doing just fine. The whole point of the FIRE movement is to get rid of the job. My hubby flat out says it is a luxury to have me home and to know that DD is taken care of and he has been able to focus on his work. Yes I stopped my career and there are some days that it is still hard. But we now have bigger goals and me bringing in money from a job that just makes our life more complicated is not part of the plan.

 

use2betrix

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Re: Career and Money Advice for a SAHM
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2019, 09:03:07 PM »
I have been FIRED since the day DD was born. It has been amazing to be able to teach her enough during the early years to then turn around and fight the school district for a grade skip once she hit kinder. I am able to not worry about daycare, or if there is sick days, or teacher work days or this or that. What about studying and practicing old school home economics and build your savings rate from that?

Why go to work? It sounds like you are doing just fine. The whole point of the FIRE movement is to get rid of the job. My hubby flat out says it is a luxury to have me home and to know that DD is taken care of and he has been able to focus on his work. Yes I stopped my career and there are some days that it is still hard. But we now have bigger goals and me bringing in money from a job that just makes our life more complicated is not part of the plan.

Iím 31, wife 26. Weíve been together 8 years. Sheís worked maybe a year in total those 8 years. We donít even have kids.

Having her stay at home has allowed for infinite boosts in my career, more income, and a huge luxury. Sheís a machine in terms of getting everything done. Honestly - someone could offer her $60k/yr and We still wouldnít find it worth it. Thatís how much value it has.

WestCoastSlowFI

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Re: Career and Money Advice for a SAHM
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2019, 09:38:03 PM »
I have been FIRED since the day DD was born. It has been amazing to be able to teach her enough during the early years to then turn around and fight the school district for a grade skip once she hit kinder. I am able to not worry about daycare, or if there is sick days, or teacher work days or this or that. What about studying and practicing old school home economics and build your savings rate from that?

Why go to work? It sounds like you are doing just fine. The whole point of the FIRE movement is to get rid of the job. My hubby flat out says it is a luxury to have me home and to know that DD is taken care of and he has been able to focus on his work. Yes I stopped my career and there are some days that it is still hard. But we now have bigger goals and me bringing in money from a job that just makes our life more complicated is not part of the plan.

Iím 31, wife 26. Weíve been together 8 years. Sheís worked maybe a year in total those 8 years. We donít even have kids.

Having her stay at home has allowed for infinite boosts in my career, more income, and a huge luxury. Sheís a machine in terms of getting everything done. Honestly - someone could offer her $60k/yr and We still wouldnít find it worth it. Thatís how much value it has.

Thank you both for these comments. It's nice to hear others validate the role of a SAHM. It has been the best and hardest thing I've done, and I don't regret it whatsoever.

I agree that it has added value to my family, and I share credit for at least some of my H's career advancement. We have no family in the area and he travels frequently, so there is no way he could have advanced at his job without me staying home these past few years. He knows that and has never made me feel like it's "his" money. We are very much a team financially. It is our income, not just his. 

And yet...I do still yearn for something more. I need to dissect whether it is actually me who wants to work, or whether I'm yielding to societal idea that the value of a person is the work they produce. I want to make an impact on the world somehow. Perhaps more volunteering would suffice, but making money while making a difference would be a bonus. I also want to show my daughters that I can be successful so they see that they can do whatever they want someday. 

I feel this pull between making/saving money and pursuing my desire to make an impact on the world. It makes for some tough decisions, but I'm still grateful that I have those choices to make.

Dee18

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Re: Career and Money Advice for a SAHM
« Reply #15 on: December 14, 2019, 09:35:20 AM »
My mom was a SAHM for 15 years, until I turned 12.  Then she attended college two years to get a degree in nutrition (she had previously been an occupational therapist but needed a year of trying to resume that career and the training was not available where we lived.). She was 47 when she got that degree and throughly enjoyed working for the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program for 20 years, doing home visits and helping high risk families learn child care, budgeting, nutrition, etc.  Much of that 20 years she job-shared with another woman and they were allowed to work out between themselves which days they worked.  It was great for everyone.  I began cooking dinner a couple nights a week when she went to work and that was great for me at 14.  I also learned a lot about being poor in America through her work, and through volunteering as (being volunteered as, actually) a babysitter for kids when she ran evening programs for their moms.  Do want you want.  I am a SWAMI, though, so take my advice with a grain of salt.  I have loved working (as a professor...so flexible hours, lots of autonomy) and am only retiring a few years before regular retirement age.

mistymoney

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Re: Career and Money Advice for a SAHM
« Reply #16 on: December 14, 2019, 10:46:52 AM »
Our children absorb more from what they see/experience than what we tell them. Particularly about yesteryear! I'm not sure how much talking about parent careers they don't remember experiencing will impact their views - and with a SAHM it will be dependent on other cultural forces they see and experience regarding gender roles.

I do see that there are more stay at home dads these days, and that I think helps. But if your environment is rich with men with good careers, and a lot of SAHMs on the block, the broader community, within the school - children both female and male are absorbing their norms from this. And this is compounded if the SAHMs are doing the majority of domestic tasks as well. Which - would be expected if the spouse has a demanding job - but it does play into those typical gender norms from the 50s and we really haven't come such a long way from that as we would like to think.