Will I Ever Need to Work Again?

It seems kind of crazy to think that I haven’t driven to an office in over a year and a half. In November of 2011 I held my newborn son and simultaneously waited for my severance check to arrive. My unexpected layoff and associated severance package was a blessing, but I still wasn’t prepared for life without work.

I interviewed and accepted a new job just weeks after learning about the elimination of my position. I’ve received steady paychecks since the age of 15 and couldn’t imagine a life without them. I worked out a deal to begin the new position six months after the birth of my son, but from the moment I accepted the offer I struggled with my desire to stay home full time. A month or so before the new job was set to begin I reversed my decision.

I know I made the right choice. The past year and a half has been a magical journey and I feel both fortunate and grateful for the opportunity to stay home with my son.

But now that I’ve been home for so long I wonder if I shouldn’t make a plan to return to work. Initially I planned to stay home for six months, which quickly turned into a year and a half. It’s been nearly eighteen months since my son arrived and I am still home with him. Now I wonder how much longer I’ll be here.

My son was born in October and in our state he can’t start kindergarten until after he turns five. If I wait until he’s school age I’ll be out of the workforce for almost six years.

I started thinking about this while I was walking around the neighborhood. Pushing the stroller on a beautiful spring day I thought, “six years seems like an unbelievably long time to be out of work,” so I asked my husband for his opinion and was quite surprised by his response. He said, “I assumed you would never go back to work.”

I can tell you that I never considered a future in which I would not return to work. So after I stopped laughing at his response I asked him if he was serious. When he said he most definitely was I asked him for more details.

Here are his thoughts:

  • My son won’t start kindergarten for another four and a half years.
  • If I got pregnant with another child, (the jury is still out on that decision), and I decide to stay home until he or she starts school you can easily add on another couple of years.
  • In a little over nine years we will own both of our homes outright.
  • If we include additional principal payments we could pay off our primary home within seven and a half years.
  • Once our primary home is paid off we could apply the money we previously spent on our mortgage to pay off principal on our beach home. That would decrease the life of that mortgage by at least one year.
  • By the time both of our houses are paid off our monthly expenses, (due to the lack of mortgage payments), will drop dramatically.
  • Without a mortgage our rental home would finally return a profit or at least break even.
  • If all goes well, the market remains high, my husband’s business flourishes and our investments continue to do well we will have a healthy sum of money in our bank accounts.

I certainly never considered a future in which I didn’t need to work, but now that my husband mentioned it my mind is swimming with possibilities. Rather than searching for a high paying job in a very lonely cubicle I could find a position that I really enjoy. If things move according to plan I could do just about anything.

I’m not sure how we will proceed as the years pass by. I always question prepaying mortgages during a time with low interest rates and you never know how the market will perform as time progresses, but I must say it’s nice to think about a life in which I don’t need to work anymore.

12 thoughts on “Will I Ever Need to Work Again?”

  1. That’s a lovely option! Though I understand that it sounds awful to not ever work again.

    You could do ANYthing! šŸ™‚ Start your own business, get a part-time job when your kid(s) are in school, whatever you want!

    My mom went back to work when we were in our teens and old enough to look after ourselves between the school bus dropping us off and her return home at 5:30. Her income went directly to save up for college costs.

    • I’d actually love to find a job at the University near my home. Then my sons tuition would be covered and I’d be close to home if he needs me šŸ™‚

  2. Stop saying you don’t “work!” You may not be engaged in paid employment, but you’re working! Ask yourself if it makes sense to pay someone else to do for you what you’re doing now so you can go off and make the money to pay them. Someone will raise your kids. It makes sense to me that it would be you! Even after they start school, there will still be plenty left to do. My daughter is 17 and I swear, she needs me more now than when she was 10. Part-time employment would be ideal, but I had to go back to work when my husband left me with 2 small children. As it happens, I got a job at a university that has given my son a free degree, and will soon give my daughter one. I lucked out there!

    • Thanks Pam E-P for reminding me that I do work. I just don’t work in an office outside of the home. This is definitely the hardest job I’ve ever had! A lot of people tell me children need their parents more as they get older, so I’d love to find a job that is close to home so I can be home to help when necessary.

      Interesting comment about the university. I actually have a university very close to my home and I’d love to find a job there that would help with my son’s tuition.

      Thanks for the comment!

  3. Wow, so what constitutes ‘kindergarten’ vs school in your state? In my country kids start school at 5 or 6, and can start kindy from age 2, I think.

    I think my partner has a little bit of the old school mentality as he’s mentioned in the past that it would be nice if I never had to work. But like you, I’ve worked since my teens and really like my career, so I have trouble imagining a future in not working.

    Sounds like you guys are in an AWESOME position, with your house on track to be paid off in particular. Having the option to pick and choose a job you love is great šŸ™‚

    • A child can’t start school until they turn 5. Since school starts in September and my son was born in October, he cannot start school until he is nearly 6. It’s a ridiculous rule and I wish it was based on ability, not an arbitrary age.

  4. You might consider homeschooling your child(ren). Its flexible, a lot of fun, and it, too, is a “job”. I came from the corporate realm working about 60-70 hrs/week. When I became pregnant with my first child, I started looking into homeschooling after I met someone who did it. Its not denim jumpers and 8 kids. I know what my children are learning and I can show them the world. Its not ALL fun, but it definitely has given us some great memories and its amazing to see how their minds work. I try to seek out their interests and supply what they need to pursue them.It can be an amazing journey and I have no regrets.

    • A few of our neighbors homeschool their children. I am not certain it would be the right path for me, but I wouldn’t rule it out at this point either. Thanks for the comment!

  5. Thanks for this article and affirmation that even though we are used to one way of life, another better , albeit different way of life is out there.
    I just retired from my position in my company that I was at for 23 years. I was in senior management and had a big paycheck and the headaches and heartaches to match it. I finallly said enough is enough. My hubby is totally supportive and we have found that alot of what were were spending $$ on was because were were both so busy and didn’t want to bother. Now, I love searching for the best deals and having the option to do what I love. My girls (5 & 10) are loving the fact that I walk them to school, pick them up in the afternoon, fix them snacks and can volunteer at the school!

    I honestly don’t know if I could ever go back to work at a traditional insurance job (my career field). When my youngest graduates from HS I will be 56 and my husband will be 62. At that point our house will be hopefully paid off and our investments solid. We have always taken full advantage of our companies 401K plans and I had a very generous employer who contributed 15% of my compensation package into our 401K plan as a ‘pension’.

    At the end of the day though, you can’t take it with you and I’d rather create family memories than die with regrets and a truckload of money.

    • I feel every part of this response. Particularly dying with a life full of regrets but a truckload of money! Thank you for the response.


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