Sunday, May 15, 2016

Making Work-Work for the Long Haul



Working in a gallery-an option.

The year I had my second child, DD#2, I was teaching preschool and returned post maternity leave after the Christmas break. I didn't carry the health benefits in my family because then, employers were allowed to reimburse employees for the out of pocket insurance costs if the employee used a spouses. That is what we did, giving us no cost health insurance. Other than free lunches (sometimes, as I was often too busy to actually eat tending to my group of 8 three year olds) and the insurance financial boon, and my net salary, minus child care, commuting costs, and miscellaneous other costs probably resulted in a loss. There were other things I got from my job such as professional development opportunities paid for that helped build my resume and pure work experience. Because cash flow wise, it netted very little, I left teaching the end of the school year with intentions of getting licensed to do child care at my home. A moratorium on new licenses due to back logs prevented that, but then I got an opportunity for a part time job, that was the impetus for what became a fulfilling, and moderately well paid career.

Deciding to and where to work and for what salary and benefits are a challenge. While sometimes taking any job to pay the bills is what needs to be done, sometime there are intangibles to consider. The school I taught in was part of a prestigious 100 year old non-profit organization with a partnership with a college. These two features helped me craft my resume for opportunities beyond the classroom. Had I stayed at the very first private, for profit, preschool I worked at, I don't think I would have landed that first part time job post teaching.

I struggled too long before I changed jobs last year, looking too much just at the tangible, salary and longevity, and not enough at the intangibles. Even now, I sometimes glance at my paycheck stub and wince. Then I remember all the intangibles, no more 60 hour work weeks, and the things that eventually will be tangible, added retirement pension and health savings account, and I take a breath. 

I learned of an acquaintance that bought a home a few years back and has recently taken a second job in a home fashion store for extra income. The extra income, plus the nice employee discount will allow her to still put money towards travel and furnishing her home, but not derail her long term plans. Currently single and without children, this is a work-life strategy that works for her becasue she can maintain the standard of living she wants now, but not sacrifice long term savings, while doing enjoyable part time work. I've begun thinking about the years between DD#2 going off to college and the years before I retire and how I might spend them. While I could add more or different volunteer options, working a little part time job, particularly if I could work similar hours that DH works anyway, might be a good way to sock a little more cash away before retirement. 

It isn't a cut and dry decision. The tax bite needs to be factored in. I'd need to be careful that the extra earnings isn't just eaten up through taxes, and even worse, pushing all our earnings into another tax bracket. I could try other means to pad the budget like the 30 minute survey I did by phone Friday resulting in a $25 target gift card. That's a tax free $50 per hour earning. How have you made work, work for you? Is anyone else considering adding additional work to help build up savings for retirement, or kept working part time, perhaps in another area, to supplement retirement? I'd love to hear your plans or experience. 


Indulging my passion for coffee-another option.

8 comments:

  1. Tough choices but I love the idea of a part-time job at something I like later in life. Right now we own a business and other than temping at my old job to help them out of a tight spot I only work the elections for extra money for my travel fund. It gets you out of the house and speaking to other humans which is actually quite important (we work from home and usually I only get to talk to hubby and the dog and my Mom)

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    1. Seasonal would be a good option as well. I understand why you might like a bit of diversion now.

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  2. Me at the mo don't want to do anything lol but I've always wanted to work in a pub so if I need to add to my travel fund at some point I'll look at that.

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    1. You're braver than I would be. I wouldn't be able to handle the too liquored up folks!

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  3. I could always moonlight at my old employer but my current job and the kids keep me pretty busy. I'm exhausted by the end of the day. Maybe when things slow down a little...

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    1. If I took on more (many years form now), it would be something different than I do for my regular work. I like the idea o something hands on and lively. I also might like to just crash from exhaustion after raising kids for 30 years by the time the youngest goes away to college even more though.

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  4. You have more energy than me! I would love to be able to work at all. Still I suppose homeschooling my kids is a job...just not a paying one. But we are saving on school fees!
    We would look at downsizing rather than taking on more work.
    xo Jazzy Jack

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    1. I would be complete rubbish at homeschooling, so taking a second part time job would be a cake walk to that task. I'm only talking transition before retirement, and post empty nest, if it was a good fit, and helped close any retirement gap we might foresee.

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