Opportunity Knocks: A Two-Income Family

credit: freedigitalphotos.net by Ambro

credit: freedigitalphotos.net by Ambro


My main motivation for starting this blog is no longer valid! In my About page, I wrote that my wife and I had a baby on the way and that we were going to become a one income family in one of the highest cost of living areas: New York City. Within one week, that all changed. Five years ago, before my wife even went to school to get her Masters in Early Childhood Education, she took a civil service exam for employment within the New York State governmental agencies. About 2 weeks ago, they called her for an interview and a week later, they hired her.

When they called to hire her, they told her that she had to respond that day otherwise, she would risk losing out on the position. I don’t know why it had to be so rushed, but it is what it is. My wife and I discussed the pros and cons. I told her that whatever she decided to do, we’d be fine and that I’d support her 100%. If she did not take the job, we would be okay financially, but we probably wouldn’t be any closer to buying our own place, moving to a bigger apartment, and could not save as much for retirement or in Baby LRC’s college fund. In the end, my wife called the HR lady and told her she would take the job. There are definitely financial benefits in her taking the job, but I also loved the idea of having mommy stay home with baby LRC. I think my wife chose to take the job to help secure our financial future. I think she wants to be able to provide Baby LRC with the experiences and opportunities that we didn’t have when we were growing up. No, we won’t be splurging on the finer things in life now that we have two incomes, don’t worry about that. She was definitely torn over the decision because she won’t be able to spend as much time with baby LRC and won’t get to work as a teacher. But ultimately when an opportunity comes I think you should probably take it, and see what comes from it. By saying no, you open up the possibility of wondering “what if?” and regretting your decision.

Passion:
The job that my wife will be starting in a little over a month has nothing to do with teaching which is her passion. We went a few days ago to the preschool where my wife worked to visit. We interrupted their nap time…whoops! The students were so excited to see her though. “We really really missed you! When are you coming back?” (Even if she were to return, the kids will have graduated to kindergarten). They were also excited to see Baby LRC. The kids also asked my wife where her belly went, and said that she looks better without it. Little kids are brutally honest, aren’t they? My wife is an amazing teacher who the parents and kids love. She will truly miss teaching the little ones, but preschool teachers are poorly compensated. She does teach kids at Church, so her teaching skills will still be put to good use and she can satisfy some of her love for teaching there. Plus, you never know what the future holds, maybe another opportunity will arise.

A drawing from one of my wife's preschool students.

A drawing from one of my wife’s preschool students.

Money:
The preschool/daycare where my wife worked paid hourly and offered no benefits. She often did not leave work until after 6:00 p.m. and didn’t get home until 7:00. The new government job offers an increased salary with potential to earn more, whereas there is not much career mobility or salary increases with preschool teaching. The benefits at the government job are excellent and also includes a pension. It is also a 15 minute commute and she said that the people there seemed nice. It is a job that is great for work/life balance.

Money isn’t everything is it?
Last week, Cat from Budget Blonde posted an article on Young Adult Money entitled I’m Pretty Sure Money Can Buy Happiness. Initially, I did not agree with her premise, I blog about frugality and tout living rich cheaply right? But after reading her article, I understood her point. No, money doesn’t buy happiness, but money does give you options and helps to reduce a lot of the stressors in our lives. I’m hoping to become financially independent and not have money be such a big factor when making decisions.

What do you think about the decision? Any helpful tips from parents where both work with regard to childcare and time management?

Thank you to these Carnivals for including me:
Yakezie Carnival
Tortoise Banker Carnival
Aspiring Blogger Carnival

48 thoughts on “Opportunity Knocks: A Two-Income Family

    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      Thanks Alexandra! Yea, you’re right…sometimes you have to take a chance and see where it takes you. I’m hoping that she likes it too…a happy wife means a happy life right?

      Reply
  1. E.M.

    That’s great, congrats to your wife! I would have taken the opportunity had I been in her position as well. You never know what will happen unless you give it a try. With civil service jobs only coming along once in a while, I think it was good she jumped on it. That is a little weird they needed an answer so immediately, though. The benefits and amount of vacation/sick days you get is crazy too, so I am sure she will still be able to make time for the baby! I hope it all turns out well.
    E.M. recently posted…The Pro’s and Con’s of a Basement ApartmentMy Profile

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    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      Thanks E.M.! Yes the benefits are pretty good and I think government jobs provide a good work and family life balance. Also, the location being pretty convenient makes it even better.

      Reply
    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      Thanks Rita! That’s what most people tell me…you have to open the door when opportunity knocks.

      Reply
  2. C. the Romanian

    I also think that it was the right decision. A really tough one to take, I am sure about this, but the correct one. No matter how much we promote frugality and want to live rich cheaply, it is unfortunately money that is needed to raise our children and the more we have, the more we can offer (without spoiling them, of course). So it was a good decision, in my opinion!
    C. the Romanian recently posted…The Joy of Self Employment: Already Earned Five Times More than in 2012!My Profile

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    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      That’s a great comment. You expressed that thought really well and I loved that you used the name of my blog! Frugality is wonderful and money isn’t everything, but it is very important, especially when every parent wants to provide the best opportunities and experiences for their children.

      Reply
  3. Done by Forty

    I left the teaching profession, too, mostly from stress, but money was a factor, too. Going back to it now that we’ve become used to the new salary would be a drastic change, but you guys might be able to adjust more easily with two incomes.

    I think teaching at Church will be a wonderful outlet for your wife, too. I think that’s something missing from my life now and might be something to pursue.

    I think you’re making the right decision, but if it turns out not to be that you can always try something else. Choices abound. Life’s great like that, isn’t it?
    Done by Forty recently posted…Breakthrough Charity Idea: Give Money to Poor PeopleMy Profile

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    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      Yes, I didn’t realize the amount of stress that goes into teaching. I think a lot people just think “summers off!” when they think about teaching. You should definitely pursue teaching if you feel like it’s missing…it doesn’t have to be your full time profession.

      Reply
  4. anna

    Congrats to your wife and your family – with all the positives, I can see why your wife would take it. I had to giggle at the kindergarteners’ comments. After giving birth and my friend’s belly was noticeably smaller, her older daughter asked her when her bum was also going to get smaller. Ouch! At least my friend had a sense of humor about it to share with everyone. :)
    anna recently posted…Screw the Joneses, They’re Not Worth Going Into Debt Over!My Profile

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    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      Thanks Anna! Yea the little ones are really cute. When my wife was pregnant, one of her students asked her if the baby had any toys to play with inside her belly. When she learned that there were no toys inside, she offered to give the baby her teddy bear. So sweet!

      Reply
    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      Thanks Holly! There is definitely more financial security when there is 2 incomes coming in.

      Reply
  5. Alexa

    I think the most important think is finding a babysitter or daycare that you are really comfortable with. The first time I had to leave one of my kids with the babysitter it almost ripped my heart out. I bawled all day long and almost got sent home from work. With time it got easier and I wouldn’t leave either of my kids with anyone else than the babysitter they have now.

    I was lucky to find such a great sitter right off the bat. As far as time management your baby will still be your top priority so every minute you aren’t working will be dedicated to him. Congrats to your wife!
    Alexa recently posted…Hardcore Hustlin’: Financial Preparations Before Making the SwitchMy Profile

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    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      Thanks for the advice Alexa. I’m sure it would be tough to leave the baby when he is so young. I think I will probably take some time off too when my wife goes to work.

      Reply
    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      Thanks Joe! We have some time to figure it out. I might take a little bit of time off since I only took off about a week and a half after the birth. My friend pays his mother-in-law (she left her job) to take care of his son…I might work out a similar arrangement. But I only have a one bedroom apartment so that might be problematic. We’ll see how it goes. My wife and I definitely aren’t too keen on leaving him at daycare at this age though.

      Reply
  6. WalletEngineers

    My wife and I are expecting our first child this coming February and deciding what to do about work/daycare has been a major concern of ours for a long time. My wife dearly wants to be a stay at home mom but has heard many other mommies complain about little to no adult interaction. Luckily in our situation my wife works at a hospital where she can work 5 days every 2 weeks, keep her benefits and one of us will be home with the baby almost every day with most of her work days falling on weekends when I can be home.

    Although our overall monthly income will be dropping the joy of being able to spend more time with our baby will be well worth it.

    Good informative post, in the long run what works for one family may not work for yours.

    Reply
    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      Yea I can see how have little to no adult interaction can drive you a little crazy. My wife wanted to stay home while the baby was young, but she did want to go back to work at some point. That’s great that your wife can work out a flexible schedule. I definitely agree that being able to spend more time with the baby is well worth it. Congrats to you and your wife! Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  7. Anthony @ Thrifty Dad

    Congrats to the Mrs! And to your family! I think that’s great news! It’s always a tough choice. But also, I think passion isn’t only about the work you do. But having a great work/life balance affects how passionate you are about your work – how much you enjoy or don’t enjoy your job. It’s nice that she’s close to home and health benefits are important, especially so, when you’re starting a little family. I think there’s many pluses :)
    Anthony @ Thrifty Dad recently posted…Ways to uncover your hidden moneyMy Profile

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    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      Thanks Anthony! It was a tough choice and even harder because it was so rushed. You’re right that work/life balance is very important and that there are many pluses for this job.

      Reply
    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      Thanks Charles…not sure if we can live the same and bank 100% of it though that would be nice. There’s daycare which would definitely be costly since originally my wife would stay at home. And then there are costs associated with working like commuting to work, work clothes, etc.

      Reply
  8. CashRebel

    Wow, that sounds like a major life decision. The great part is that she can always quit if she finds she doesn’t have enough time for baby lrc. It’s great to have a parent around all the time, but the power of a dual income family sounds pretty attractive. It will put you that much closer to financial freedom.

    Reply
    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      You’re right…I was thinking just that about getting that much closer to financial freedom. I’m gping to have to update the game plan and hope to reach financial freedom earlier.

      Reply
  9. Matt Becker

    Congrats to your wife! I know it’s not an easy decision, and there really is no right one. It sounds like your wife liked the idea of having this job, and in that case it seems like it makes sense to try it out. She’s not signing on for life, so if it doesn’t work it doesn’t work. But it’s better to live without regrets, so if she felt like taking the job was the right move then she’s probably better off for doing it. Good luck with the transition.
    Matt Becker recently posted…Taking the Scenic RouteMy Profile

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    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      Thanks Matt! Yes it was a tough decision. It was a pretty tough decision for my wife, but you’re right not it makes sense to try it out and it’s not signing on for life!

      Reply
  10. Pretired Nick

    This is one of those things where there is no right or wrong answer. For us, since I didn’t really need a job to pay my portion of the bills, it made sense for me to stay home. We didn’t want to have someone else raising our kid. On the other hand, we wonder sometimes if it would have been better to have someone else take care of the feeding and watching him sleep and accelerate our full pretirement so we could both be home with him when he really needs more active involvement. There’s no way to know which decision will be better for him, but we opted for me to stay home and since I was sick of working anyway, it’s worked out well so far!
    Pretired Nick recently posted…Dryer heats up but won’t spin? Here’s how to fix it for $5My Profile

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    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      It is definitely great that you guys had the option. Technically we could have managed as well but it would difficult to get to pretirement for us on just one income. And if my wife had said no, that opportunity may not arise again. As others have said…it things don’t work out, we can always reconsider.

      Reply
  11. Financial Samurai

    Great stuff! Happy wife and more money is a good thing for family long term I think. She’ll look back and be happy she went for it and can always quit in the future.

    Sam

    Reply
    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      Thanks Sam! Happy wife means a happy life right. Yea it’s definitely better to look back and say that you tried rather than regret what could have been.

      Reply
  12. Greg @ Thriftgenuity.com

    I think you really hit it with the part about no regrets. She will get to see what the job is like. Plus, if it doesn’t work out and you go back to the stay at home parent plan, she will still have the experience on the resume. Once the kids are in school all day, she may want to go back full time then, and this experience could be helpful for that process.

    In situations like these, I use a quote that my dad made. “Whatever decision we make is the right one, because it is our decision.” Bottom line, you know what is right for you.
    Greg @ Thriftgenuity.com recently posted…Combatting Lifestyle InflationMy Profile

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    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      Great quote from your dad, he sounds like a smart man. I’ll have to put that all the wall on my desk to keep me from doubting my decisions all the time.

      Reply
  13. KK @ Student Debt Survivor

    Sometimes when an opportunity like that comes up you just have to jump on it and see where it takes you. In a worst case scenerio if your wife ends up hating the job she can just resign and go with the original plan. I too would love to be able to stay home with our (future) kids, but I’m not sure if that will be financially possible in a city with such a high cost of living, we’ll see when the time comes I guess. Congrats to you wife!
    KK @ Student Debt Survivor recently posted…“Green” Cleaning Products-Worth the Money or a Waste of Green?My Profile

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    1. livingrichcheaply@gmail.com Post author

      Thanks KK. Yes, NYC is definitely a tough place to make it with one income, but I think it’s doable.

      Reply

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