Shortly after my son was born in 2012, I made the difficult decision to cut back on work and go part-time. While I love my job and my full-time income was important to our family finances, daycare was not working out and my child’s unexpected health issues made a 40-hour week too difficult. Whatever the reason, many business executives face the same dilemma my family struggled with: “Is it possible to work part-time and still meet our financial and retirement goals?”
The answer is as varied as each individual. Below are five important issues to examine if you are thinking of making the transition to part-time work.
Timeframe: Are you going part-time permanently or just temporarily? Understand that re-entering the full-time work force after a hiatus may be difficult.
Income: Determine what your part-time income will be and make sure it is still enough to cover your monthly expenses. In my case, the cut to my paycheck was more than what we were spending for daycare, so we had a deficit. Between making other cuts and my husband’s income, we were able to make it work.
Savings: Examine all of your savings goals – retirement, college funding, etc. – to make sure that your reduced income will have no or minimal effect. We decided early on that I would not go part-time if it meant sacrificing our savings and I still contribute the maximum to my 401(k). So, we made cuts elsewhere. For instance, we no longer needed a cleaning service now that I would be home two days a week to do the chore.
Household Responsibilities: How will your career change affect the distribution of tasks around the home? In addition to the cleaning, my husband and I agreed that I would take on the bulk of the weekly shopping and cooking. This had the added benefit of freeing up our weekends. Instead of spending Saturdays and Sundays running errands, we are able to spend more quality time together as a family.
Structure: If you’re like me, you need routine to your day to feel organized and productive. What will you do with the extra time that part-time work affords? Will you volunteer at a local charity? Maybe take on a DIY project?
Going part-time may not be for everyone. For me, it was about balancing the short-term need to spend more time with my child with our long-term financial and retirement goals.
For more information, visit our website at www.makinglifecount.com or contact Ashley Kopmeyer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (913) 345-1881.