When a conversation rolls around to the topics of careers, work schedules, personal finances, and parenthood, there is A LOT to talk about. This is the first article in a series called Want to Downsize Your Work Year? Links to all posts in the series are at the end of this article.
Family, career, and employment decisions can weigh heavily on your heart and mind. Such decisions are not typically made quickly. Though you may hear someone talk of being able to afford to be a stay-at-home parent, cut back on hours, or retire early, it is not just a financial decision.Money is a tool to fund the expenses of life, but paychecks are not the only ingredient of life on your terms. Click To Tweet
Whenever I develop an economic analysis at work, I include a section of non-monetary considerations to evaluate the non-financial aspects of the alternatives. Doing so allows me to identify factors that offer or lack benefits that cannot be scored with a dollar value.
The same approach can be applied to decisions in your personal life as well.
Three Warm-Up Questions
I offer a few simplified illustrations to get your brain in analysis mode:
- Health: Building A is located next to a large park where employees can run, walk, or bicycle during their lunch break. Building B is in a polluted, high-traffic downtown area with busy railroad crossings. Which provides a healthier setting?
- Safety: Neighborhood A has sidewalks, street lights, and wide streets whereas Neighborhood B lacks each of those. Which is safer for your children?
- Job description: Job A provides an incredible salary and huge bonuses but comes with a lot of pressure, travel, and stress. Job B pays considerably less, but you would be doing something you completely enjoy and you would look forward to each day. Remember, we’re going to be evaluating the non-monetary aspects in this drill. Consider the type of work, your enjoyment of it, and your passions. Which job would you pick?
The decision to reduce your work schedule, or quit entirely, involves financial and non-financial decisions. Mathematical calculations enable you to compare the benefits of salary and additional compensations to scenarios that involve reducing your number of hours worked and thus giving up your monetary gains. We can do that in another blog post.
What are some of the non-monetary factors that you should consider? The good news is this: it’s entirely up to you! It’s your life, your priorities, your decision.
Start with the list below and add other factors (not related to money) that are applicable to your situation.
- What are your goals for your life?
- If married, what do you and your spouse want for your family?
- What do you value most?
- Do you thrive on busy OR do you intentionally create down time each week?
- Do you value money?
- Do you crave fulfillment? adventure? adrenaline rushes?
- Who do you want to most influence your children each day?
- What does that look like, as in who do they spend the most time with while awake?
- If they’re old enough to be home alone after school, how will they spend their time?
- Do you eat at least one meal per day together?
- Are you constantly in a high-stress environment?
- Are you unhealthy because your schedule limits opportunities to exercise and care for yourself?
- Do you have a chronic ailment that zaps your energy?
- Are you “too busy” to visit the doctor when you know you should?
Family and household schedule:
- Do you have enough time in the evenings and on weekends for all the demands of managing a family and a household?
- Are you able to get the family to medical and dental appointments?
- Are the kids in extracurricular activities that require you to taxi them around after school? Or is your town small enough that they can walk or ride their bike to their team practice or music lesson?
- How about childcare needs during the summer months?
Freedom to pursue what you want to pursue:
- Do you have time for what you enjoy most, such as family, volunteering, exercise, travel, etc.?
The answers to these questions are very individual. Your answers will be different than my answers. The key is that the questions represent meaningful but not financial aspects of your life.
Time for You to Identify Your Non-Monetary Considerations
Take some time to sit down and identify the non-monetary considerations that apply to your situation. Start with your values and your health. Add children, parenting, and family time if you have kids. Be sure to include what you’re passionate about. Write it all down and save for when we address the monetary considerations of downsizing your work year.
Did you identify meaningful non-monetary categories for consideration? Will you share them in the comments section below?
Links to the Complete Series: Want to Downsize Your Work Year?
Article #1: This post
Article #2: Why Your Employer Might Say Yes!