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Is time with my kids worth $1M?

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  • Is time with my kids worth $1M?

    I'm a mom who enjoys working PT while my husband works a demanding FT job. I've recently applied what I've been learning from the WCI to write our first financial plan. Now that my head is out of the sand, I see how choosing to work PT impacts our ability to save and delays our time to FI.

    We already use my PT salary to cover childcare, contribute to 529s, max out retirement accounts, and buy a better family health care plan.

    If I worked FT, the extra $30k/yr I could bring home after taxes is far from "Dr. Diamond" money, but could potentially grow to nearly $1M in 20 yrs @ 4% real.

    Do you have any advice for comparing the value of intangibles like *more* time with kids *now* versus more time with kids (& maybe grandkids) *later* if we save diligently & can retire sooner?

    Thanks for any insights!

  • #2
    If you can afford to say bye to that money and you enjoy your kids, then it's worth it. If you take the money, no one will blame you.

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    • #3
      We are in a similar situation. My wife is part time with the plan to go full time when the kids all get into public school age. Maybe sooner if a good opportunity shows up.
      Maybe I am a horrible person but I would rather work through the early years. Between all the napping and feeding it is hard to get much else done when you are alone taking care of more then 1-2 kids.

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      • #4
        I think you're drilling down too far.  Not seeing the forest for the trees and whatnot.

        Yes, kids are worth a million.  Certainly worth $30k/yr if all other financial needs are met.

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        • #5
          If it makes you feel any better, I actually pay (not just forgo income) to get off holidays/weekends while my kid is not in school.

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          • #6
            This is the tricky part about financial independence because clearly anyone could achieve it faster if they dedicate more time to work vs spending time with the kids.   My advice is that if your needs are met and you are on track to have enough to retire or become financially independent at an acceptable time for you, cut back and spend more time with the kids.   You are more likely to regret not spending enough time with them as they were growing up vs not having amassed a large inheritance for them on your deathbed.   I used to find it tricky when I was working as a hospitalist when my children were little and every day not doing an extra shift meant not making a few hundred/thousand dollars vs sitting at home watching them play with toys or nap.   Its hard as a nephrologist because someone in my small group always has to be on call so it's hard to just be part time even if you want to be (especially when the boss is essentially working part time already).   I guess that's why some people like the big groups.

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            • #7
              How much does your husband make?
              Could you find a way to save $30,000 more a year out of that salary?

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              • #8
                Depends on your priorities.   Kids are priceless.   My wife decided to 'retire' from peds to SAH, giving up 150k+ Kaiser benefits for kids.   You only get one chance with the little ones.

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                • #9
                  I was putting my oldest son to bed one night and he asked me what it meant to get fired. I said basically it meant your boss felt like it wasn’t necessary for you to go to work anymore, sometimes because of something you did, sometimes not. He asked if I could get fired. “No, not really. Being a doctor works a little differently than that for the most part.” He looked up at me and said, “Well, I was thinking, maybe if you would get fired we could see you more.”

                  I’d have written a check for a million on the spot if it would have made the pit in my stomach go away.

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                  • #10
                    I chose the part time path until my kids were in school... now mostly (but not always) I work while they are in school or are working themselves and I do email type work when they do homework. It works... we've been able to amass enough wealth by late 40's to feel comfortable. Not FI if we stay in our current location but could be if we wanted to move to a LCOLA. I would not ever do it another way... but each person is different. If you choose one path you can always go to the other path... nothing needs to be permanent.

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                    • #11
                      You might not even save all of what you make if you switch to full time. A good portion of it might go to extra childcare and convenience products geared towards making life easier that you don't feel you need now, because you'll be busier/more stressed out/tired.

                      Once you have all your financial ducks in a row, just make the choice that makes you happier. It sounds like you really like your parttime setup. I wouldn't sweat it.

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                      • #12
                        I worked about half time for 5 years after residency and just took a FT job 2 months ago. My kids are 3 and 11. My plan is to work FT for 4-5 years and then work go back to half time or less. I don't regret my choice exactly ( I'm still home by 4:40 every day) but I'm making about 130k more per year so it will really speed up our time to FI. I would not do it for an extra 30k a year for sure. But I really loved that time at home with my kids and I know that those early years will be some of my most valued memories. Everyone is going to look at this differently.

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                        • #13
                          I think that is a good point. It depends a lot on the schedule. I have a very business hourly schedule. I do take some call which ruins the occasional evening or weekend but my job does not prevent me from doing anything with my kids that I could reasonably want to do.

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                          • #14
                            I'd like to pose to the OP a few questions.

                             

                            What would you do with that million dollars in 20 (or longer) years?  Serious question.  I know you said "not Dr. Diamond money", so you'd obviously be able to utilize the money.  But for what?  A bigger house?  Nicer car?  Is what you would use the money for (not the actual million dollars) worth the time away from the kids?

                             

                            I was reading something something... people aren't happier after making more than $75,000 per year.  I'm fuzzy on the details, but stretching that out, can you do everything you want to do in retirement without the million dollars?  Skip the week at the French villa, just go the Bahamas instead...

                             

                            How much sooner could you retire?  If its "a couple" of years, probably not worth it.

                             

                            And is it definitely $30,000 extra per year?  Higher tax brackets, loss of deductions, random taxes that only show up once your adjusted gross & taxable income go above a certain number (I'm looking at you "Net Investment Tax" & "Additional Medicare Tax").

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                            • #15
                              Figure out the marginal tax rate on your potential extra earning. I bet it’s not worth it. If going full time only gets you $30k more, I’m guessing you’re still paying full 7.65% FICA on that. Plus state and federal income tax at your top marginal rate.
                              my radiology group is hiring, pm if you can do msk and are interested

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