Author Topic: should my wife get a part-time job?  (Read 1869 times)

clarkfan1979

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should my wife get a part-time job?
« on: October 21, 2019, 05:28:28 PM »
My wife and I relocated from Hawaii to Colorado to be closer to her family. I took a pay-cut from $75,000 to $52,000. My wife was a substitute teacher and made $7,000/year. My wife is not currently working, so our total family income went down by $30,000. We have a 2 year old and my wife currently does not work. We have been in Colorado since August 15th. We currently rent, but we are scheduled to close on a house in two weeks. 

My wife would try to get a "fun job" working 15-20 hours week (nights and weekends). I work mostly M-Th (7:30-3:30). Based on $12/hr. she would make around $10K to 12K/year. Minimum wage in Colorado is $12/hr. starting Jan 1, 2020.

I feel like we can live on our current income, but my wife wants more spending money. I teach college and get the summers off. If we were ever in financial distress, I could get a 2nd job. However, I do not want to get a 2nd job so my wife can buy more clothes. If my wife wants to get a job so she can buy more clothes, I do not have any objections.

Current Income:

W-2 Income: $3,000/month (after taxes, insurance & 403B contribution)
Cash flow from 3 rental properties: $1,500 (after vacancy & repairs)

total monthly income: $4,500


Current Expenses:

Primary Home: Mortgage/Utilities/Maintenance: $1,700
All Food (Groceries & Restaurants): $900
Transportation (Gas & Insurance): $500 (2 cars & RV)
Fun Money (Clothes, Snowboarding, Golf): $350
Travel: $250 (RV camping and plane tickets)
Student Loan: $200
Kid (Diapers, Clothes, Activities): $200
Health Bills (Doctor Visits & Prescriptions): $100
Giving (Church & Birthday Parties): $100

Total Expenses: $4,300/month

Total Savings $200/month

Based on our current budget, we would only be saving about $200/month which would realistically go toward the purchase of a future car. However, I have a mandatory 19.15% contribution to my 403B, which is currently 10K/year. Across our 3 rental properties and primary home, we are paying down the principle by $1650/month, which is around 20K/year.


Current Net Worth: 710K

Liabilities

30K in student loan debt

Assets

600K (real estate equity)
90K retirement accounts
50K cash

I currently have 50K in cash as a real estate emergency fund, just in case. I have been a landlord for 12 years. I realize that 50K might be too much cash, but it helps me sleep at night. The rentals are not stressful. I love doing it.

If my wife got a part-time job, I think it would be an extra $650-$800/month after taxes. Can we survive on our current budget or should my wife get a 2nd job to have a bigger cash flow buffer and give her more spending money? 


Cannot Wait!

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Re: should my wife get a part-time job?
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2019, 05:47:30 PM »
Why not?

She wants a 'fun job' to have more frills and probably just to get out of the house - toddlers are hard!

But maybe she could pawn off the kid to the family that you moved to be close to and she can work during the hours you work?

stashja

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Re: should my wife get a part-time job?
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2019, 05:53:49 PM »
Why do you think that her only discretionary income purpose is fashion? Was she always like that? If so, you must be OK with that being her thing that she uses to cope, or express herself, or you would not have married her?

My thing is books. I am frugal about everything else. If my partner (whose thing is also books) were to tell me that even if I contribute full time childcare labor so that he could work FT outside the house (thought experiment: we arenít parents) I canít have any more books unless I got an additional job, that would not go over well.

Sibley

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Re: should my wife get a part-time job?
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2019, 07:22:37 PM »
Can you survive without the extra money? Yes. Should you? NO. Not unless you'd prefer a divorce at some point.

Look, your wife is not a child. She's an adult, she wants to go get a part time job. That isn't some crazy idea. So, if you tell her no, then really all you're doing is telling her very clearly that you don't respect her. That is not conducive to a healthy relationship.

Money isn't everything. My guess is she wants kid-free time on a regular basis, and this is a win-win situation.

clarkfan1979

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Re: should my wife get a part-time job?
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2019, 07:36:31 PM »
Can you survive without the extra money? Yes. Should you? NO. Not unless you'd prefer a divorce at some point.

Look, your wife is not a child. She's an adult, she wants to go get a part time job. That isn't some crazy idea. So, if you tell her no, then really all you're doing is telling her very clearly that you don't respect her. That is not conducive to a healthy relationship.

Money isn't everything. My guess is she wants kid-free time on a regular basis, and this is a win-win situation.

I agree that telling my wife that she cannot get a job is not conducive to a healthy relationship. I would never do that. That is actually probably the biggest reason why my parents got divorced. I'm not looking to dictate anything to my wife. I'm just looking for some pros and cons to consider.

I agree that she is looking for some away time from the toddler. She got that 1.5 days/week in Hawaii when she was a substitute teacher. I think it went pretty well. 

It looks like most of the comments are only positives for her getting a part-time job. Is anyone aware of any downsides? 
 

stashja

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Re: should my wife get a part-time job?
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2019, 07:42:03 PM »
The downside will come if she sees her current work as full time AND wants the job primarily to have fun money she would not otherwise have.
Who golfs? Both of you, or just you?
If your income pays for golf and that is your hobby, clothing is her hobby, so...
« Last Edit: October 21, 2019, 07:44:33 PM by stashja »

Sibley

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Re: should my wife get a part-time job?
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2019, 07:47:07 PM »
Can you survive without the extra money? Yes. Should you? NO. Not unless you'd prefer a divorce at some point.

Look, your wife is not a child. She's an adult, she wants to go get a part time job. That isn't some crazy idea. So, if you tell her no, then really all you're doing is telling her very clearly that you don't respect her. That is not conducive to a healthy relationship.

Money isn't everything. My guess is she wants kid-free time on a regular basis, and this is a win-win situation.

I agree that telling my wife that she cannot get a job is not conducive to a healthy relationship. I would never do that. That is actually probably the biggest reason why my parents got divorced. I'm not looking to dictate anything to my wife. I'm just looking for some pros and cons to consider.

I agree that she is looking for some away time from the toddler. She got that 1.5 days/week in Hawaii when she was a substitute teacher. I think it went pretty well. 

It looks like most of the comments are only positives for her getting a part-time job. Is anyone aware of any downsides?

Pro: happy wife

Con: slightly more complicated child care juggling. It's manageable, and the downsides of her NOT working when she wants to are far higher than any logistical challenges.

frugaldrummer

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Re: should my wife get a part-time job?
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2019, 08:47:04 PM »
The downside to her working nights and weekends is it seriously cuts into couple time and often strains marriages. Canít she substitute teach in Colorado? Or get a part time job in the daytime?

Linea_Norway

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Re: should my wife get a part-time job?
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2019, 03:06:07 AM »
Yes, she should get a PT job to finance her extra expenses. But I think she also should contribute a part of her income to the family expenses. Why should only your income go to house, utilities, food, insurances, phones, clothes for the family and vacations while hers should only go to buy more unnecessary clothes? I think she should either contribute to e.g. the vacation budget or to the savings rate. But of course, her personal spending budget should also increase a bit.
« Last Edit: October 22, 2019, 07:37:09 AM by Linea_Norway »

Chris Pascale

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Re: should my wife get a part-time job?
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2019, 05:05:23 AM »
I'd recommend at least a short-term substituting job, before the fun one, if nothing else than for having the inside scoop on the school stuff that much more quickly.

Thoughts?

Cranky

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Re: should my wife get a part-time job?
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2019, 06:02:28 AM »
The downside is that you are going to be doing more childcare and dinner cooking and clean up if your wife is at work in the evening, which may not be a downside from her POV.

Nick_Miller

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Re: should my wife get a part-time job?
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2019, 08:36:56 AM »
Yes, she should get a PT job to finance her extra expenses. But I think she also should contribute a part of her income to the family expenses. Why should only your income go to house, utilities, food, insurances, phones, clothes for the family and vacations while hers should only go to buy more unnecessary clothes? I think she should either contribute to e.g. the vacation budget or to the savings rate. But of course, her personal spending budget should also increase a bit.

This.

It doesn't make any sense the way you phrased it that she would keep whatever she earns for her own discretionary spending.

I would assume all money earned goes into a pot, bills are paid, joint decisions are made, and both people get an equal amount of discretionary/blow money. Yes, her earning $ would certainly free up space for you (both) to increase your blow allocation, so yeah that appears to be a win/win. And if she worked like 3 nights a week or something like that, you'd still have 2 nights and weekends together. Plenty of couples have made bigger time sacrifices than that.


Laura33

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Re: should my wife get a part-time job?
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2019, 08:46:18 AM »
I would assume all money earned goes into a pot, bills are paid, joint decisions are made, and both people get an equal amount of discretionary/blow money. Yes, her earning $ would certainly free up space for you (both) to increase your blow allocation, so yeah that appears to be a win/win. And if she worked like 3 nights a week or something like that, you'd still have 2 nights and weekends together. Plenty of couples have made bigger time sacrifices than that.

This.  My concern about the way you phrased the question is that it sounds like you make the money, which means you decide what it can be spent on, and so if she wants to spend on other stuff that you don't think is necessary, she can get a job to cover the extras.  The reality is that you guys are equal partners, no matter who makes what, and so you both get equal say in how the money that comes in should be allocated. 

If she agrees that your current budget is an appropriate allocation of your current income and just wants more slack to add in some extras that you can't currently cover given the paycut, then that's all good, and ignore my comment.  But if you do have any kind of undercurrent of "I make the money and so have final say about what we spend it on," then I'd suggest reframing that in your own head.  And if she does get a part-time job, I'd suggest that both of you contribute your money into the communal pot, you both agree what the extra goes to, and if you disagree, you both get some personal fun money to blow on whatever you want. 
« Last Edit: October 22, 2019, 08:50:53 AM by Laura33 »

clarkfan1979

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Re: should my wife get a part-time job?
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2019, 02:24:02 PM »
I appreciate all the feedback. It is helpful. I think it is an adjustment period for both of us living in a different location with a lower income. I do not dictate the money decisions. It is an open conversation. My wife is a spender. I am a saver. We meet somewhere in the middle. That is the way it has always been. Because I am a saver, I am not struggling as much, trying to live on less.

My "blow money" is around $200/month. Her "blow money" is around $500/month. I am happy with $200/month. Based on her habits, she is used to having more than $500/month. Her sister's "blow money" is around $3,000/month. Her mom's "blow money" is around $1,500/month.

Substitute teaching here isn't really an option for two reasons. My schedule is different. I used to teach 3:00-6:30 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. She used to substitute teach 7:45 a.m. to 2:15 p.m and we would do the baby swap. My wife would make $160/day and we didn't have to pay for childcare. I loved having alone time with my son.

I now teach M-Th 7:30-3:30. The local K-12 system does not have school on Fridays. The local rate is $110/day. I think the cost of childcare would be higher than what she would make in a day. 

Based on the recommendation of others, if she does get a job, I will ask her to make family contributions and ask her what she thinks is fair. This will be difficult because I have never asked her to do this before. However, we are now making less money, so it is probably a conversation that needs to happen.

 


minimustache1985

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Re: should my wife get a part-time job?
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2019, 11:38:21 PM »
Hopefully the adjustment will get easier for her as time goes on, change is always hardest at first.  That feels like a lot of ďblow moneyĒ to me but I get that she might feel like itís tight if sheís hanging out with people who blow way more (and presumably doing some of the same costly activities).

As a SAHM who works one half day a week (at a cushy little gig where I only do actual work if an inspector shows up) Iíll say that day is the one we are most likely to phone it in on dinner.  Now that may mean frozen pizza or plain spaghetti with jarred sauce or pb&j and not takeout, but I could see where her working in the evenings could result in more speedy takeout.  Maybe not, but something Iíd watch out for.

If she enjoys substitute teaching would it be possible for her family you moved to be closer to to provide childcare 1-2 days a week?  My 4 hour job wouldnít be possible without grandma time or swapping childcare with another SAHM, and itís a nice setup as I get out of the house and to speak with adults and they get a few hours of one on one bonding.