My husband and I have been married for about a year and a half. We always knew that I would be a stay-at-home mom once we have kids (hopefully in another year or so), but I realized this past summer that even before having kids, I would love to be home more and spend time being a homemaker. We already put all of my income in savings , have no debt except for the mortgage and have a decent amount in savings and our retirement accounts. I still wanted to bring in some income, so I talked to my husband about working part time.
We decided that I would talk to my boss about it after the first of the year
since we were on separate insurances for 2008. I am now on my husband’s health insurance and am all ready to talk to my boss about working part time.
Here comes the problem. Last week, my husband’s employer laid off a number of people and said that more lay-offs were possible. I am now worried that if I start working part time and then my husband gets laid off, we wouldn’t have access to cheap health insurance (my employer only offers health insurance to full time employees). I’m not too worried about the loss of income since my husband is a really hard worker and would be able to find something that would keep us afloat (though probably not replace his current income until the economy gets better).
My heart’s desire is to be at home more to take care of my husband and our
home. It seems irresponsible and risky right now to cut back to part time,
though. My husband is completely neutral and says he’ll support me either way.
I instinctively think that you shouldn’t drop back to part-time. But then I think that access to health insurance is incredibly important and I worry about money and security – just because your husband works hard, doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll be able to find a job quickly, nor that he’ll bring in enough money to keep you afloat.
Having said all that, if you believe that you can cope with an extended layoff and are comfortable with the risk, then go for it. Just be sure to keep up your retirement fund and maintain your savings.
It’s a tough call, but it may not be as difficult as you think if a few things work out in your favor. First, you want to find out if your husband employer offers COBRA and how much it will cost your family if you do have to use it. Make sure this is within your family’s budget and the coverage is acceptable. Second, find out from your employer how difficult it would be to switch back to full-time. My thought is that COBRA will protect your family to the end of the year, allowing you to switch back to full-time to access all the benefits in case your husband loses his job.
If you do go to part-time, your husband will become the primary provider for your family. With this in mind, you should consider adjusting his life insurance coverage to make sure your family is well covered. Additionally, you will also want to increase your emergency fund reserve; especially in this economy.
Lastly, I’d like to encourage you to think about building alternative income streams to add another layer of cushion to your finances. There are a lot of resources on the web that discuss this, but a good place to start is with my Extra Income Guide.
Good luck. And don’t be afraid to do what you feel is the right thing for your family.
I think it really boils down to the chance of your husband being laid off. I mean nobody really knows for sure, BUT I would suspect he has some level of gut feel about whether he will be impacted or not. I would do the math and make your decision based on the worst case scenario, he does in fact get laid off. Maybe he should be proactive and begin exploring the job market now to see how quickly he could find something.
I certainly don’t want to keep your from your desires, but with the current state of things, and considering you currently have no children at home, I would be a little hesitant about making a big job change like that right now. I would consider waiting until his company stabilizes and he feels more confident with his job.
There really isn’t a yes/no answer to your question as it really boils down to how important this is to you, and how big of a risk taker you and your husband are.
Best wishes to you, and let us know how things turn out for you!
Like I said, I had to make this decision 11 years ago. My husband and I were due to have a baby in February, and my husband worked at a small radio station that didn’t pay real well. The insurance situation at the radio station was up in the air.
In the end we both felt that I should be a stay at home mom, so I quit my job. Everything worked out, but it wasn’t always easy. If you feel that you can handle the risks associated with dropping to part time, go for it, and don’t look back. If you’re unsure, hang on for a while and wait to see what happens to your husband’s job.
What would you say to Becki? And if you have a question for the M-Network, feel free to contact me, and your question might be featured on my blog! Be sure to mention that your question is for the Ask the M-Network series.
Photo by stanhua.
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I'm just an average mom, trying to live a frugal life and get out of debt. I write about things that have (and haven't) worked to improve my family's financial situation. What works for me may or may not work for you, and you should always consult a financial advisor before making important financial decisions.
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