Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications, experience, or professional insurance of anyone posting on Mumsnet and cannot be held responsible for any advice given on the site. Free legal advice is available from a Citizen's Advice Bureau, and the Law Society can supply a list of local solicitors.

Should we give up a good work/life balance for better salary?

(32 Posts)
Faybells Thu 12-Jun-14 08:54:20

Hello all,

Would love some thoughts and shared experiences on a dilemma I am facing at the moment.

My partner and I have £20k debt, a mortgage, and a 2.5 year old. Partner works full time. I work part time. my family pay for our sons nursery fees. We can't afford for me not to work as we are just above the threshold for any benefits/working tax credits, and with the help from family for nursery fees, things are just about covered.

My partners job is local, has an ok salary and he's home at 4.45 every evening so we have the luxury of every evening together, can eat our meal as a family and he can help me with our son which I greatly appreciate, especially when he was small.

But we know our finances are a mess and we have to improve our situation and I'd love another child which is just not an option at the moment - so he has been looking for a better job. This would probably involve a commute to London and 12+ hr days, he wld leave before son wakes and come home after our son is in bed. I worked in London before I fell pregnant and we know what it would entail.

Basically, we don't know if it's the right thing to do. We would love to be able to manage the debt and nursery fees better. But at what cost? We know we are incredibly lucky to have a supportive family and have the evenings together as a family and we are so happy for it. Our relationship is good, our son is happy and has a great relationship with his dad. And we are scared to tip the balance and put that at jeopardy. We have friends who are on great salaries, have no financial worries but are in relationship counselling because they never see each other, the mum is exhausted looking after kids alone and the dad feeling like he dosnt know his kids cos he never sees them. It has scared us to see that.

My partner would like to continue as we are and pay off the debt over the next 3 years. It will be very tough But our son will get free childcare soon and that will mean we won't need help from family any longer which will improve things. But i can't expect them to pay for a second child so that will have to wait till debt gone which upsets me a great deal. But we will be able to manage on our salaries once the debt is gone - and my partner feels our work/life balance now is worth keeping.

But i feel a better salary would be so much better for our future - I just don't know whether to push him for it and whether it would be a huge mistake. I think there is a lot of sense in what he's saying. I just don't know what to do.

I wondered if people had been in a similar situation and had any advice.

Thank yiu in advance.

melissa83 Thu 12-Jun-14 08:57:11

I would do it in a heartbeat if I was 20k in debt. I wouldnt even consider not doing it it doesnt evrrn sound like you will be doing a great deal between the 2 of you so doubt it woulf br exhausting.

turkeyboots Thu 12-Jun-14 09:02:04

Not unless the extra money can buy an equivalent to the help you get from DH. Can it run to a cleaner plus paying off debts faster? You've a plan to pay it off in 3 years anyway so why does it need to be done faster?

The baby years are hard, and loads of people I know had baby no2 when the eldest started school. That might be an option and the time will pass faster than you might think.

redskyatnight Thu 12-Jun-14 09:09:23

Before I opened the thread I mentally answered "no, if you are comfortable on your current money - yes if you are struggling".

And you are struggling. You are in debt and reliant on family to get by. Plus you want another child. I think you need the extra money to get straight and have that 2nd child sooner rather than later.

You are correct that it will be tough (my DH did a similar job while I worked p/t with a toddler and a baby). But it is really only tough for a couple of years, it is worth getting through it for the sake of financial stability down the line.

And .. any chance of a job where DP can work at home some of the time? That wll help.

paleybirch Thu 12-Jun-14 09:11:34

I think work life balance is important and if it were me I'd probably just stick with the current job. But if you're planning a no.2 or more, then it sounds like it would be tight on your DH's salary and the impact of finances will make life much harder, especially if you needed to increase your mortgage for that. Personally I would choose to have a decent family life but to limit family size, but if you're set on having another then I'd definitely go for the better paid job.

Faybells Thu 12-Jun-14 09:24:41

Thank you for ur advice and thoughts. I do really feel like we're struggling and I worry a lot.

There's not much extra for clothes, dinners out, holidays etc. And I think it's ok, those are luxuries. But it would be nice to relax a little. And I'd so love another child. I'm nervous to wait till we're financially ready in 3 years - who knows if we'll have trouble conceiving (our son wasn't planned so know way of knowing how easy/hard that was!) And I've heard horror stories from friends about months trying to conceive and then miscarriages.

And ok, so we could manage on our salaries once debt has gone but will there be much room for expansion then even? It wouldnt take much to push our budget to the limit again.

But, he is reluctant. And I think if I push him for a new job hell resent me for ruining the good balance we have now. But at the moment...I'm scared that im beginning to resent him for the restrictions we have on our life.

I really appreciate your advice. I'll put some more thought to it and have a good chat with him.

Faybells Thu 12-Jun-14 09:25:40

Thank you for ur advice and thoughts. I do really feel like we're struggling and I worry a lot.

There's not much extra for clothes, dinners out, holidays etc. And I think it's ok, those are luxuries. But it would be nice to relax a little. And I'd so love another child. I'm nervous to wait till we're financially ready in 3 years - who knows if we'll have trouble conceiving (our son wasn't planned so know way of knowing how easy/hard that was!) And I've heard horror stories from friends about months trying to conceive and then miscarriages.

And ok, so we could manage on our salaries once debt has gone but will there be much room for expansion then even? It wouldnt take much to push our budget to the limit again.

But, he is reluctant. And I think if I push him for a new job hell resent me for ruining the good balance we have now. But at the moment...I'm scared that im beginning to resent him for the restrictions we have on our life.

I really appreciate your advice. I'll put some more thought to it and have a good chat with him.

Muddle2000 Thu 12-Jun-14 10:13:35

Nothing beats the money you earn AT YOUR STAGE OF LIFE You need to earn when you can as the older you get and the longer you stay plodding the less likely you are to earn. You can have the quiet life later when you retire and with people living a long time now it is likely to be a long retirement Do you have pension plan? I would put off the second child until he gets established in the new job

Muddle2000 Thu 12-Jun-14 10:17:21

Re the commuting My friend does it and it is exhausting but she stays overnight with a colleague Mon to Thurs saving on the fares (she pays the colleague) There is a company which provides rooms for people who want to rent Monday to Friday only At least that way he will not be too tired by the travelling and so you will still be able to have a nice weekend together

NickyEds Thu 12-Jun-14 11:20:42

Could you work full time? Or increase your hours? It's a tricky one. It depends on how tight the budget currently is-is the idea to pay the debt off quicker so you can have another baby, or it so that you are generally better off? If it's the latter it could be a very hard sell to your DH. How would you feel about not seeing your LO all week?- that must be very hard for a Dad used to seeing so much of him at the moment, especially if there is already a repayment plan in place in his mind to deal with the debt. If it's not rude to ask-how old are you? Do you have a reason to believe that fertility might be a problem-I'm 35 next week and have a 6 month old-we want another and because of my age we don't want to hang around so in your situation we would probably take the extra money.

annielostit Thu 12-Jun-14 11:20:48

Given the choice which you have, I'd stick with 1 DC, have a happy hubby and nice work/life balance.
If you have another lo, your dh gets a new job and spends to much time away you will resent him.
My dh has to travel wit his job, I don't like it, we have a teen, its like being a single parent. with two lo you will be fed up and always broke. You know kids ain't cheap!
Work through the finances and keep the lovely family as it is.

foxdongle Thu 12-Jun-14 13:05:25

Hi I have known people who have been in debt gone on to better paid jobs and have just got themselves into even more debt- just awful at managing money no matter what they earn.

If your finances are in a mess, just because you earn more might not solve anything, and just add to your stress, better to budget better and learn to live within your means.

I would choose work/life balance and be slightly poorer.
when you get that debt under control things will look so much different. If you definitely go for another lo (which I wouldn't while that debt is unpaid) when they both go to school you will be so much better off. save your dinners out/nice holidays for when the debts gone and you're in a better position.

as long as the basics are covered, keeping your good relationships within your family would be my priority.

my dh earns good money and if he went higher he'd be on really good money (and have all the stress that goes with it), but he doesn't want to, so that's it no way on earth I'd even suggest it. let the resentment go before it gets a hold-it's not worth it.

No. Mad.

So you will be pregnant and no possibility of help from dh due to work/commute.

Then newborn and with all night duties for a year approx. as he's working/commuting.

Unless he can neg to wfh a day or two a week it is not worth it. Unless you like doing everything alone.

Artandco Thu 12-Jun-14 14:49:22

Personally I would change your work to full time.

Your dh is home at 4.45pm which is very early so not full full time either. He can pick son up from nursery on way back.

I wouldn't have another child either in your cicumstances. High debt, reliance on family that won't continue, etc

Can one of you work nights for a few years to save on childcare?

ChickenFajitasAndNachos Thu 12-Jun-14 15:18:09

When our DC were babies DH did and still does the commute and long days and it worked well as he always had weekends of. Now the children are teenagers and he has a very senior position that wouldn't have happened in a local position. The salary and pension are excellent. I found I got into a lovely tea/bath time routine with the DC.
I think it would be better for your family to take the new job and become financially independent.

TalkinPeace Thu 12-Jun-14 21:15:44

When DD was a baby I was offered a job that involved
- living away 5 days a week
- 75 hour weeks
- 8 month contract, possible renewable
- that would have cleared our mortgage in a year

I turned it down

and I've never regretted the decision to have more time with my kids versus more money for an instant

your kids are only little once
debt can be chewed down once they are at school

Laquitar Thu 12-Jun-14 21:26:30

Is the money difference very big?
Will it satisfy all the things that you would like , pay the debt, a second child, holidays, meals out? Unless the ride is big you will still have to choose and to prioritirise, no?

Frontier Thu 12-Jun-14 21:46:29

Will you really be that much better off financially. I found working in London cost me loads.

There's the fares but then there are the lunchtime drinks, you can't always be the only one who doesn't go, people dress up more for work which costs, the sandwiches you buy because you have to leave too early to make them in the mornings, the take-aways you buy because you're dog tired when you get home.

And remember if he gets, say a £10k rise, you lose a good chunk of that to tax. How much will he need to cover the extra expenses and how much extra, realistically, can he earn?

TBH, looking at things from your DH's POV I think I might feel a little resentful that you were pushing me towards a much more stressful life, away from my DC while enjoying the luxury of your P-T job yourself.

arna Thu 12-Jun-14 23:04:44

I think that you know that you cannot be financially dependant on the generosity of family to fund your lifestyle choices which is essentially how I am reading your OP. Basically, you need to raise your household income and probably lower your outgoings at the same time.

How did you accumulate the £20K debt? Is money management an issue? I would be looking at increasing income so new jobs for both of you possibly. Having a 2.5 year old makes you totally mobile - to move geographically if the right opportunity came up. There's a lot to be said for career mobility - too many people restrict themselves overly much geographically too early on in their careers. Obviously, it's horses for courses - your DP may not value career progression / want to tread a particular career path over the luxury of a short working day.

Unfortunately, the realities of life is that, you need to work to pay the bills and atm, you are not managing to do that but there is at least scope to work more hours (however unpalatable it may be). Another option is to sell your home to release equity to pay off debt.

Bracquemond Fri 13-Jun-14 04:36:33

I once "took the money" but regretted it. As a society we have fallen badly on the wrong side of the work/life balance over the last 30 years or so. It may take another generation before this is fully appreciated. But I would hesitate to give absolute advice in another person's case. If you are on or near the financial edge it's a terrible dilemma.

What happened to Cameron's promise to improve the work/life balance? Was zero hour contracts the solution?

KinkyDorito Fri 13-Jun-14 07:17:41

I would stay as you are and start to look at how you spend the money you have. Money Saving Expert is a great place to post - look at the debt free wannabe thread.

I work full time and we are in debt. I couldn't go part time because of debt. It hasn't changed a thing - as someone said up thread, it's changing your attitude to money full stop. I'm working on it and it is getting better but I miss so much with my DS.

There was a reason you chose not to go back to that way of life after your child was born. If you are really happy as you are, why spoil it? The debt will go and you might be able to make savings in other areas.

Also, look at extra ways to make money. We have market research groups around here that pay about £40 for 1-2 hours.

Paq Fri 13-Jun-14 23:00:25

I could not in any conscience have another child while being financially supported by others and carrying a £20 k debt. To me that is the definition of 'entitled'.

redskyatnight Sat 14-Jun-14 10:19:15

OP - what would you have done if you hadn't been fortunate to have family who are prepared to give you money each month? I think that would be an interesting discussion to have with DH.

Paq Sat 14-Jun-14 11:37:34

Sorry for wading in again but this isn't a work life balance question, it's a "how long can we freeload off the oldies and how far can we push it?" question.

Scotmum83 Sat 14-Jun-14 15:49:34

I'd go for work life balance if you can. I have been in a job working ridiculous hours and two hours in the car every day before and became so stressed and miserable it wasn't worth the extra money. I took a pay cut to do what I'm doing now but I'm home before 5 at night and can actually have a life.

Can you spread paying your debt over a longer period of time to get your payments down. It could be a short term solution while your working part time and would give you a bit more cash on a monthly basis. Obviously would cost more long term. Baby number two should wait until you feel more comfortable financially. Has your hubby/partner talked to his work about promotion/ pay rise opportunities? Maybe worth a try if he is less keen to move from his current job there maybe something available internally that he could apply for.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now