Should I Work Part Time? Issues Surrounding Part Time Work

By on Mar 6, 2014 in Mind and Money, Money Management, Saving, Tips | 13 comments

Part Time Work; Women’s Money Week!

Womens Money Week brings together the best and brightest in personal finance the first week in March to discuss money issues as they uniquely relate to women. It’s about taking control of your finances and reshaping your financial future.

Moms, Dads, Babies and Part Time Work-2 Scenarios

My baby is grown up but, many of my friends are parents of young children. Last week my good friend Kiki and I went on an outing to Ikea with her little one, Sophie. Kiki works part time and takes Sophie to a supportive “church based” preschool. Sophie is really social and thrives in this environment. At age three she is content to leave mom and dad and play with her friends. In fact the afternoon we went to Ikea, Sophie begged to leave mommy and play with the other children in the Ikea playroom.

part time work

When our daughter was born, after six months I went back to work full time. After 2 1/2 years leaving our daughter with a combination of a nanny, dad, and later preschool, I was ready to stay home. Although our daughter adjusted to being cared for by others, I wanted to be a full time mom, For about 6 years I enjoyed being a full time stay at home mom.

And then I was ready for work…… part-time work.

My husband and I moved from pricey San Diego to the affordable Midwest when I quit working full time. I understand this is not a viable choice for everyone, but for us it was a perfect decision. The lower cost of living allowed us to save and invest and live a nice lifestyle on less than two full time incomes.

Kiki and my situation are ideal for us. We each balanced being a mom, with work, childcare, and additional childcare from the dads. If you’re thinking about how to make part time work successful, read on for some discussion and tips.

Tip: Let your personal values drive the decision for part time work. For us, working part time was an awesome solution for the active parenting stage of life.

My Part Time Work Secrets-How to Live Rich On Less

Understand that the sacrifice of working part time, may not be as bad as you think. For example, no full time work means less money spent on clothes and commuting. Another one of my friends, here in San Jose, shares a car with her husband. Living with one car instead of two is a huge financial win for her family.

I was lazer focused on lifestyle issues and understood that living on less meant screening every spending decision. My mind was the most important crutch in successfully living large on less.

I wanted to be with our daughter and work less much more than I wanted more stuff. Thus, certain spending was off limits. With more time than money, I needed to learn to spend creatively.

We bought a small house, and paid much less than the bank said we could afford. We knew where we wanted our money to go, and it wasn’t to a big house payment.

I am a do-it-your-selfer so home repairs, decorating, cooking was my domain. Small repairs are easy to do on your own (YouTube anyone?). Sewing decorative pillows is fun and affordable with remnant fabrics. Cooking, well anyone can cook and it is so much cheaper than eating out. I’ms till trying to get the gardening thing down, but many folks save a lot of money growing some of their own food.

We didn’t feel like we were sacrificing because we had what we wanted, more family time. Saving money became a challenge with the end goal of the crafting the life we wanted.

Decide on your family’s priorities first. That makes saving and spending decisions easier. If watching the new shows isn’t a priority, ditch the cable and substitute a $7 Netflix subscription. If you have to eat out every week, go to the early bird special or the spot where “kids eat free”.

Tip: Decide where you can save and how you can substitute cheaper alternatives for expensive spending.

Pro’s and Con’s of Part Time Work

The advantage of working part time is more time to be with the kids, do the housework, chores, and have fun. Additionally, some children are less social and thrive when spending more time with a parent.

The primary disadvantage of working part time is less income. And if you’re not mindful, you may not feel you can save for the future without two full incomes. If you forgo saving for retirement, this part time work decision can thwart your future happiness.

It’s not an easy decision for a family to forgo two full time incomes in exchange for one and a half (and sometimes less). It certainly takes some getting used to if you’re reducing your family’s income. There’s no right answer to the question, “Should I work part time?” And there’s no guarantee that you won’t have regrets in the future. But, who doesn’t have a few regrets? Let go of perfectionistic thinking because there is no perfect scenario, so make the best decision for your family.

Action Step

If you’re thinking about working part time, spend ten minutes on this time tested strategy.

  • Pull out a sheet of paper.
  • On one side write Pros and the other side Cons. list the advantages and disadvantages of working part time for you and your family.

Remember, few decisions are irrevocable. If the part time option doesn’t work out, you can always go back to work full time.

What are your thoughts, have you worked part time. Would you like to work part time? 

    13 Comments

  1. Just last week my client ended the contract with me and now I have a part time job. My daughter is happier today because she said that we have more time together, but you’re right having only a part time job is less income.

    Clarisse @ Savvy Scot

    March 6, 2014

  2. I look at it as whether or not the money I earn from the part time job is worth my time. I am more valuable to my family than a $7/hr job. Of course if I didn’t have the money and needed a job to cover the bills, then I would take the job. Writing down the pros and cons is a great idea. I would write them down and then wait a day or two to review them and add anything else before making a decision.

    Jon @ Money Smart Guides

    March 6, 2014

  3. I’m working part time now in my job (plus working on my business the other days) and am enjoying it. I originally wanted to quit, but agreed to go from FT to PT instead, which so far has been a good move. For me it’s more about being able to have more time for my own stuff vs a sacrifice in lifestyle or something I did for my son. While he was growing up I worked full time until he hit junior high, and then inadvertently became a SAHM because I was unable to find a job for a few years after being laid off. THAT was a ridiculously lean time but a great time to be home in my son’s life.

    Jackie

    March 6, 2014

  4. @Clarisse-Although it’s not cut and dry, there is usually a bigger payoff to having more time with the kids. After all, they’re only small once!
    @Jon-I like your idea of writing down the pros and cons, and then reviewing in a few days. This is such a personal decision.
    @Jackie-For most of us “having it all” is not possible. I try to keep the mindset of enjoying the situation that I’m in, whether it be less income and more time with family or the reverse. There are always pros and cons.

    Barbara Friedberg

    March 6, 2014

  5. I am a stay at home mom now, and when I go back in a few years, I’d like to go part time. I wish there were more professional opportunities for part-time work, like job sharing, rather than what I see available (retail, fast food, etc). But I’m going to worry about that when I get there.

    I wanted to be with our daughter and work less much more than I wanted more stuff. This line really resonated with me. I didn’t plan to be a stay at home mom, but my daughter was born early and had a lot of medical problems. Now I love staying at home, and I think this line easily encapsulates why.

    Little Miss Moneybags

    March 6, 2014

  6. @Little Miss- I didn’t plan on staying home either. But, I found it really hard to leave and focus on what was previously a very fulfilling and important job at San Diego State University.

    I loved staying home with our daughter and doing all the mommy stuff.

    WRT returning part time, what field are you in? There seem to be more job sharing opportunities around.

    Barbara Friedberg

    March 7, 2014

  7. I’ve definitely thought about it, but working M-F 745-5, I’m just super lazy on the weekends and fear I’d get burned out. If we have kids and my wife becomes a SAHM, I probably will pick up a waiter shift or 2 a week.

    Chuck@Tortoise Banker

    March 8, 2014

  8. @Chuck, GReat sense of balance. It’s so important to know what’s best for you and your family! Being lazy on the week ends is great to keep you from getting burned out.

    Barbara Friedberg

    March 9, 2014

  9. As a stay at home mom for 14 years (three children, each three years apart) who did not work part-time during those 14 years, and then went back to school to develop new skills in order to return to work, I think part-time work is a very good idea, even if the financial effect is to only break even. Looking back, I wish I had worked part time. Rather than a short-term view of whether or not it is “worth” it financially or logistically, there are future financial and emotional benefits to consider. Working part-time can keep your skills up to date, your networking contacts current, and can help maintain an individual identity that is beyond being a mother. If you decide to pursue full time work later, having that part time work experience will likely make you more marketable and hopefully lessen the drop in wages that many experience when returning to the workforce. While it is not pleasant to think about, things happen like death, disability, or divorce, and you may find yourself the sole breadwinner. While you can plan financially for an untimely death with enough life insurance, and partially replace wages with disability insurance, it is not easy to plan for divorce. We all think it won’t happen to us, but it does happen to many women. By working part-time, you are hedging the risk of not being able to earn enough on your own if you ever needed to and you position yourself in the best possible way to return to full time work when you desire.

    Lisa Hatcher

    March 10, 2014

    • @Lisa, Thank you for taking the time to dig in deeper to the issues surrounding working part time. It a reality that when one takes time off from the workforce, our skills, contacts, and opportunities decline. As a new mom, sometimes we don’t think or know about the ultimate outcome of our work decision. Personally, I am pleased I took a few years off, but not so many that my skills were rusty. I also pursued an MBA while I was off work, which ultimately was a very good decision. I’ve come to realize that whatever work decision we make means not choosing to do something else. It’s easy to have regrets, but I try to keep the regrets at bay. (Although it’s not always easy).

      Barbara Friedberg

      March 10, 2014

  10. Working part-time is definitely a personal decision. I struggle with weighing out the same options, but for a different reason. I am not a mom, but I do stay at home for health reasons. To get out of debt quicker, I sometimes consider working part-time, but it really isn’t beneficial health-wise. In our case,we have to put value on my health and time. And as you stated, saving on gas (we’re down to one vehicle), being able to have home cooked meals, and saving money in other ways by focusing on diy and creativity also makes it the better choice for us.

    Sher@KNSFinancial

    March 11, 2014

  11. This is rather funny due to the timing, but I just came across this article. While more geared to women working full time, they refer to part-time work as well. My goal in sharing this is not to discourage women from their choices, but have them fully understand both the short and long term outcomes of these choices. The long term effects are often not taken into account.

    http://asklizweston.com/advisors-to-women-dont-quit/

    Lisa Hatcher

    March 12, 2014

  12. There is a general consensus in my office that part time work is a lot better than working full time. People are always approaching my boss with requests to go part time and the part time jobs are snapped up so quickly! I know I’d love to work part time if only to be able to dedicate more time to my family, friends, and passions (and side hustles!).

    Daisy

    March 12, 2014

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Posts Round Up: Part Time Work - […] From Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance: Should I Work Part-Time? Issues Surrounding Part Time Work […]
  2. This Is Why I Hate Debt and Sher's Blog Medley #2 - Faithful With A Few — Faithful With A Few - […] gives us some tools and insights so you can decide if working part-time is best for your situation. A …

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

WP-SpamFree by Pole Position Marketing

468 ad