Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

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CactusGuy
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Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by CactusGuy »

Hi,

My wife and I are both in our mid-30s, we have a $2.5M net worth (including paid off home), and we make about $750K of combined annual income. Our children are both under 10 and we have a full time nanny that handles a lot of house work. The nanny has also been helping our kids with virtual learning since the onset of COVID.

We have two life situations that have suddenly arisen that are causing us to consider my wife, who earns $250K, to leave the workforce. First, my wife will lose one of her parents due to a terminal illness in the next 6-18 months, and this is taking a heavy emotional toll on her. Second, our nanny just informed us that she would like to stop working. Our nanny's timeframe is flexible, but she would like to move on ideally by end of the calendar year.

With all of this in mind, we are trying to weigh the pros and cons of my wife leaving the workforce. Although I'll certainly support whichever direction she wants to take, I want to make sure we are looking at this from all angles.

We currently spend about $150K per year before the cost of the nanny. My rough calculations shows that we will go from saving/investing about $300K annually to about $100-150K with this move. Additionally, I am concerned that she may regret leaving the workforce, and may not like being a full-time stay at home mom. She could probably secure similar employment in a year or so if she felt she made the wrong move so not sure how real that risk is.

One alternative that I am considering is to ask our nanny to stay on to help with learning until the kids go back to school live, and then look for a part time nanny to help with light chores, transportation from school, and some homework once things get back to normal after COVID. My wife could work with her employer (big corporate) to use leave, PTO, and their generous 1 month of paid time per year to care for sick family member. We think there is a reasonable chance that her manager would let her spend a few hours a day with her mother during work hours as well.

What would you do in this situation? Any advice on things to consider?
MotoTrojan
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by MotoTrojan »

This isn't a financial decision in your case.

Sorry to hear about her imminent loss.
flaccidsteele
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by flaccidsteele »

Sorry to hear the news about your wife’s parents

Personally I would support her spending her time with her family right now
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Topic Author
CactusGuy
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by CactusGuy »

flaccidsteele wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:53 pm Sorry to hear the news about your wife’s parents

Personally I would support her spending her time with her family right now
I absolutely do support her spending time with her family. That said, I am not sure that anyone can spend more than a few hours a day with a sick parent. It is fairly depressing to spend full day after full day with someone who is in such a terrible condition. Also, I am suggesting that we can do this without her leaving her job.
fortunefavored
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by fortunefavored »

Women, especially in senior positions or leadership have a LOT of leverage right now in the corporate world.. I would write down your "best case" scenario ("6 months off completely, 6 months part time, then we'll consider returning to full time") - or whatever scenario seems ideal, and take that to her employer.

You may be pleasantly shocked by how far they are willing to go to keep her around.
bugleheadd
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by bugleheadd »

is there any part time job she can find? that might allow her to care for kids and terminally ill family.

ideally work with her company first to see how much time off she can get, even a leave of absence if possible.
Dennisl
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by Dennisl »

Sounds like a really tough situation. I agree with above posters that sometimes it's helpful for her to work to help get her mind off of things, but she may be distracted. Esp a 250k job is probably fairly demanding. I would just let her make that call. I personally would just work harder/more hours if my wife chose not to work and we needed the income in that scenario. If she wants to work part time, maybe consider another nanny, at least part time, if the current can't stay. She can go back to work if she wants to in the future. Given your financial situation, should be fine even with a significant income cut for the rest of your lives.
lostinjersey
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by lostinjersey »

You have plenty of money. Let your wife decide what she wants to do. It doesn’t have to be forever, and she’s the one losing the parent.
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Does her job qualify for FMLA? If so, do that.

Hire a new, full time Nanny.

Question: If your wife leaves her job and the family member dies, then what? Would she just stay home or would she go back to work. With that huge salary, it would be financially easy to simply find a new Nanny.
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JHU ALmuni
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by JHU ALmuni »

Instead of quitting her job right away, have you considered family/medical leave? This way she can try things out for few months and probably make a better decision if staying at home is really what she wants and can go back to her job at any time if she would rather work.
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Artful Dodger
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by Artful Dodger »

We married late, and had kids in our mid 30s. In her mid 40s when the kids were 10 and 8, my wife was burned out with her job and really wanted more involvement with the kids and her mother who had moved to be closer to us. We had nowhere near the net worth you have now, and back then, around 25 years ago, it was probably around a half million. I made two to two and a half times what she earned, but she had a good job with a pension. I was worried but supported her in her decision. It was tough financially, and three years later I was RIFed, and went into business for myself, and it continued to be tough financially. But, in the long run it all worked out. We've saved enough to be secure, put one daughter through college, and hopefully will get our other daughter on track. Once she left her job, she never had any desire to go back or seek other employment. In many ways for me, it was easier to excel in my own career as I knew she was there for the kids, her mom, and my parents as well when my dad was diagnosed with cancer and mom had Alzheimer's in a local nursing home for three years. I could work, travel as needed, and she was there holding down the home front.

I don't know your wife's circumstances. She may really want to continue to work in her profession, and this is just a short term change. But, I would support her. While your finances may not grow as quickly as they have, you may find your quality of life better in the long run.
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Watty
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by Watty »

CactusGuy wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:46 pm Any advice on things to consider?
Be sure to read up and understand the details of FMLA, Family Medical Leave Act, which will allow your wife to take up to 12 unpaid weeks off without any risk of losing her job or facing retribution. Be sure to document everything and let the HR department know that she knows her rights under FMLA.

https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/fmla

It will not always happen but I had to use FLMA once when I had a sick family member and the person I was dealing with in the HR department was surprisingly helpful and made sure that I had everything in order and knew what all my option were. It turned out that she had been through a similar situation a few years before and had a lot of compassion about the situation, at least as long as what I was doing was under the FMLA rules. My manager was similarly understanding because he had also gone through the loss of a parent a few years before. If she has been a good employee there is a very good chance that the company will be more understanding than they are required to be.

One thing about the "12 weeks" is that it may not need to be consecutive weeks. I don't know if it was required but my employer allowed be to set up a schedule of part time work so that it was really more like 60 days of leave than 12 weeks. That might allow her to schedule something like taking a day off each week(or two half days) for the next year.

I don't recall the details of how that worked but I think that was also related to normal vacation and sick time so you need to figure out how those work together.

The big question is what your wife wants to do and she may not even really know that right now. She could start with the FMLA time and see how that works then decide what to do later on.

Your plans will need to be really flexible since there is no way of telling how this will play out. You have lots of income, lots of money, and that can buy you a lot of flexibility. That is what money is for, don't be afraid to use it.

Even if she does not plan on using the FMLA she should still file the paperwork for it since that will give her all sorts of protections and her situation could change quickly. For example if she gets a call tonight that her mom is doing poorly and she needs to be by her side right away so already having the FMLA paperwork in place would make it that easier and you would not need to deal with the paperwork later on when it is a bad time.

Also it is not impossible to lay off someone that is on FLMA but most companies would be very reluctant to do that since there is so much chance of a lawsuit.
CactusGuy wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:46 pm One alternative that I am considering is to ask our nanny to stay on to help with learning until the kids go back to school live, and then look for a part time nanny to help with light chores, transportation from school, and some homework once things get back to normal after COVID.
It does not sound like that is really an option since the nanny has already basically given her notice that she wants to move on by the end of the year. If you push too hard then eventually the nanny will eventually give two weeks notice and leave.

You may be in a bit of denile right now. Your nanny has given her notice and will be leaving in the near future. Unless you can work out some deal with her like a 12 month contract then you need to plan on her not being there in a few months.

Even if your wife leaves her job to take care of her mom she will not be available to take care of the kids all day long. I think you need to start looking for a new nanny since that would also allow your wife to respond quickly in case she gets a call that her mom needs her.
Last edited by Watty on Thu Sep 24, 2020 4:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Katietsu
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by Katietsu »

CactusGuy wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:55 pm
I absolutely do support her spending time with her family. That said, I am not sure that anyone can spend more than a few hours a day with a sick parent. It is fairly depressing to spend full day after full day with someone who is in such a terrible condition. Also, I am suggesting that we can do this without her leaving her job.
I am in no way suggesting that I know the best choice for your family. You certainly have the finances to allow your wife to take time off, be it temporarily or permanently, should the two of you make that choice.

I responded to this post because I want to alert you to my emotional response to this post. It can be overwhelming to help with a parent who has a terminal illness, especially while raising two young children and working a full time job. When I read the above, as someone who has been through a terminal illness with a parent, I felt that I had been punched in the gut. I also felt that you may not be aware of the type of support your wife may wish to provide to her parents while remaining present for her children. Just please do not use that line from above when talking to your wife. And, given your financials, please consider not making this about money.


I also wonder if the effect on your savings rate will be as significant as your estimate. I think you took her income and subtracted taxes and nanny pay. Then assumed that difference would be the change in savings. But, there are often more savings than that when a spouse stays home. She may have work related expenses that will go away. Overworked people with a high income usually spend more on life than families with a stay at home spouse.

I like the suggestion to try to take advantage of PTO time and the like first while you all work through what this will look like. But, it would be reasonable, from my perspective, if she would still find juggling the job with all these other responsibilities to be one thing too many.
Colorado Guy
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by Colorado Guy »

CactusGuy wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:55 pm I absolutely do support her spending time with her family. That said, I am not sure that anyone can spend more than a few hours a day with a sick parent. It is fairly depressing to spend full day after full day with someone who is in such a terrible condition. Also, I am suggesting that we can do this without her leaving her job.
Sorry to hear about this and wishing the best to your families. These situations are always tough, with unexpected and far reaching impacts. She may have other options, depending upon her management's direction and the work she is doing. I have granted sabbaticals before to key employees of various length, one for personal/fun reason (recognition for past contributions and hard work), some for medical reasons. It is possible they could grant either a longer time off, or half time / work from home option, particularly if an alternative person is not readily available. Won't know until the questions are asked.
Reamus294
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by Reamus294 »

Sorry to hear about the family member.

Similar age here. The heavy emotional toll will only become heavier. Probably like most people, I regret not spending more time with my dad in the period after he was diagnosed and before he passed. I missed out on some quality time while he was still relatively healthy because I was saving time to be there when I would be needed more. Work became an outlet at some point, but overall the toll would have been lighter if I didn't have to worry about work.

Because of your high salary and the possibility of her re-entering the work force with relative ease, don't be afraid to leap. It looks like you both have worked hard to make it so you have options in scenarios like this. Not sure what your financial goals are, but as long as you both are ok with the expected spending/saving that surrounds the decision, I would go with the gut on this one. In your scenario, my gut would have said to leave work, exhausting the maximum amount of time that allows her to leave on good terms. These types of scenarios are so specific to feelings, family (ailing parent, other parent, siblings, your children), etc, that only you will know what is best for your family.
Zombies
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by Zombies »

Having gone through the terminal illness situation with a parent recently, I wish I had taken more time off and spent more time with them. I hear what you’re saying about “there’s a limit,” but even so (and while they were often not even aware I was there), despite the extensive time I took off work I really wish I had taken more. My workplace was very supportive and I didn’t feel pressured to return at all, but I thought “engrossing myself in work” would help. It didn’t, and I regret that.
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by flaccidsteele »

CactusGuy wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:55 pm
flaccidsteele wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:53 pm Sorry to hear the news about your wife’s parents

Personally I would support her spending her time with her family right now
I absolutely do support her spending time with her family. That said, I am not sure that anyone can spend more than a few hours a day with a sick parent. It is fairly depressing to spend full day after full day with someone who is in such a terrible condition. Also, I am suggesting that we can do this without her leaving her job.
It’s worth having more time than less at this point imo
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corp_sharecropper
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by corp_sharecropper »

You've got a huge nest egg, you've been saving in excess of what you spend (unless you have the highest paid nanny on earth), and it really seems like you'd at least be saving 100% of your yearly spend even if your wife quits. Unless you had grand plans to suddenly indulge in a much more extravagant lifestyle you have less than nothing to worry about financially. 99.X % of people would love to be in your financial situation at some point in their entire lives, much less at your age.

This really boils down to whether your wife really wants to stop working, her options should she regret that decision 1/2/3/5/10 years down the road, or whether she really would prefer just a break (full time break or reduced hours) temporarily. Just remember, she may say she wants to stop working now, but how's she going to feel after her mother passed? Personally I'd try to work out something temporary, and then commit to working/quitting after her mother's passing when she might be better able to evaluate what SHE wants for HERSELF. She might be able to better evaluate that after her mother has passed and she's through the immediate grief of that. I wouldn't dare attempt to leave my job temporarily due to idiosyncratic risk of my employment situation, for my wife it's different, she could likely take a year or two off and still get back to a similar place in her industry.
OnTrack2020
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by OnTrack2020 »

CactusGuy wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:46 pm Hi,

My wife and I are both in our mid-30s, we have a $2.5M net worth (including paid off home), and we make about $750K of combined annual income. Our children are both under 10 and we have a full time nanny that handles a lot of house work. The nanny has also been helping our kids with virtual learning since the onset of COVID.

We have two life situations that have suddenly arisen that are causing us to consider my wife, who earns $250K, to leave the workforce. First, my wife will lose one of her parents due to a terminal illness in the next 6-18 months, and this is taking a heavy emotional toll on her. Second, our nanny just informed us that she would like to stop working. Our nanny's timeframe is flexible, but she would like to move on ideally by end of the calendar year.

With all of this in mind, we are trying to weigh the pros and cons of my wife leaving the workforce. Although I'll certainly support whichever direction she wants to take, I want to make sure we are looking at this from all angles.

We currently spend about $150K per year before the cost of the nanny. My rough calculations shows that we will go from saving/investing about $300K annually to about $100-150K with this move. Additionally, I am concerned that she may regret leaving the workforce, and may not like being a full-time stay at home mom. She could probably secure similar employment in a year or so if she felt she made the wrong move so not sure how real that risk is.

One alternative that I am considering is to ask our nanny to stay on to help with learning until the kids go back to school live, and then look for a part time nanny to help with light chores, transportation from school, and some homework once things get back to normal after COVID. My wife could work with her employer (big corporate) to use leave, PTO, and their generous 1 month of paid time per year to care for sick family member. We think there is a reasonable chance that her manager would let her spend a few hours a day with her mother during work hours as well.

What would you do in this situation? Any advice on things to consider?
I would see what arrangements could be made with the employer and, if none of them works out for your wife, I would quit. When my mother was dying, we had two toddlers--I stayed at home. Will the parent be living with you at all during this time period? Caregiving or being there for an ill parent can be exhausting. There are still doctor appointments, handling their affairs, visiting with the parent, etc. Let the nanny leave on her schedule. I like the idea of a part-time nanny.

Let your wife make the decision on this.
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Abe
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by Abe »

CactusGuy wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:46 pm My wife and I are both in our mid-30s, we have a $2.5M net worth (including paid off home), and we make about $750K of combined annual income.

wife, earns $250K

We currently spend about $150K per year before the cost of the nanny. My rough calculations shows that we will go from saving/investing about $300K annually to about $100-150K with this move.

What would you do in this situation? Any advice on things to consider?
She can work or not work. Either way you're probably going to have more money than you can spend in a few years.
Slow and steady wins the race.
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mrspock
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by mrspock »

Nobody’s mentioned this yet, but another consideration: how solid is the marriage? I’d want it to be rock solid to consider this. You are essentially signing up to potentially support your wife for the rest of her life no matter what (married or not), since she is giving up her career for the family. If you ever get divorced, do not ever whine when they saddle you with spousal support, it’s decisions like this is where the obligation stems from.

If the marriage is a rock, then it’s irrelevant.

As for the death situation, honestly this isn’t sufficient in my mind. Parents pass away, this is apart of life, you shouldn’t need to quit your job over something like that. Frankly I don’t see how not having a job makes the pain of losing a parent somehow better. Perhaps take time to morn, but not giving up a career.

As for the nanny... lifestyle call plus assumption of a lifetime responsibility for your wife's standard of living.
Tingting1013
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by Tingting1013 »

I read the OP twice and did not see him mention anywhere that he was concerned about the financial implications of this move. So let’s give him some credit for his self-awareness.
Trader Joe
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by Trader Joe »

"What would you do in this situation? "

I would support my wife 100% in everything that she wants to do.
veindoc
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by veindoc »

mrspock wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 5:55 pm Nobody’s mentioned this yet, but another consideration: how solid is the marriage? I’d want it to be rock solid to consider this. You are essentially signing up to potentially support your wife for the rest of her life no matter what (married or not), since she is giving up her career for the family. If you ever get divorced, do not ever whine when they saddle you with spousal support, it’s decisions like this is where the obligation stems from.

If the marriage is a rock, then it’s irrelevant.

As for the death situation, honestly this isn’t sufficient in my mind. Parents pass away, this is apart of life, you shouldn’t need to quit your job over something like that. Frankly I don’t see how not having a job makes the pain of losing a parent somehow better. Perhaps take time to morn, but not giving up a career.

As for the nanny... lifestyle call plus assumption of a lifetime responsibility for your wife's standard of living.
Obviously you have not had a situation where someone you loved was suffering from a terminal illness.
Other than wanting to spend time with them before they go, terminally ill people often have multiple doc appointments a week if not daily for which they need transport. They often can not cook for themselves or do their laundry or clean their homes. They sometimes get confused or weak or both. They often need help with medications and treatments.
And terminally ill people do not just up and die. Many live this way, in this manner, for months to years.


Sure, you could hire someone to do those things for them but many times you want to be that person who does.
BradJ
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by BradJ »

We were in a similar situation a year ago. The world dropped out on us when we learned our 1 year old son was diagnosed with cancer. My wife just finished her masters and accepted her first job with new diploma three days before diagnosis (not to mention working 40 hours a week and going to night school for 2 years). We already made life style adjustments to pay her loans off ASAP and remain debt free, and honestly her new offer wasn’t a high earning one, but still a tough choice to stay home.
Like everyone has said, support your wife and walk with her through this hard journey. Use FMLA and look for part time day cares for the kids. If she never wanted to stay home, I’ll tell you being home with those kids will be tough (my wife struggled with it).
I honestly think her quitting/FMLA sabbatical will be better for her, mostly because I have seen all star employees turn into low achieving workers after a parent died. If she takes time off and helps her parents and grieves on her own time, her return to work will be a successful one.
We often think being an adult is a monotonically increasing linear path, but for some of us that just wasn’t the plan. I will pray for your family, very tough choices. Try to be confident in your choice, there aren’t life manuals for these type of decisions.
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by Wanderingwheelz »

I would allow my wife the space to make whatever decision she needs to to make her life optional. And then I’d support her 100%.

Your family can flourish financially regardless of whether or not you have a second income so to be money is basically irrelevant in the decision making process.

At your ages you shouldn’t be working to be the richest people in the graveyard. Work because you want to.
delamer
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by delamer »

Your wife really needs to think through — wiith your help — how she would simultaneously manage helping her mother and taking care of your children. If the kids aren’t in school physically, then she’d need to be at home with them during school hours and would not be available to her mother then. And even if the kids are physically in school most of the day, thar’s a limited number of hours that she can focus on her mother. This is assuming that you’d have a nanny for the kids in the after-school hours in either case.

I sympathize with your wife and had a parent who was terminally ill while I was working full-time and had young kids. I agree with the other suggestions that your wife should explore FMLA or other employer accommodations before taking the more distract step of quitting work altogether. The latter is making a likely permanent change (or at least semi-permanent) based on a short-term situation, which is generally not a good idea.

Best of luck in a tough situation. You can handle the financial part, but your wife’s priorities will be more difficult to balance.
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mrspock
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by mrspock »

veindoc wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 6:49 pm
mrspock wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 5:55 pm Nobody’s mentioned this yet, but another consideration: how solid is the marriage? I’d want it to be rock solid to consider this. You are essentially signing up to potentially support your wife for the rest of her life no matter what (married or not), since she is giving up her career for the family. If you ever get divorced, do not ever whine when they saddle you with spousal support, it’s decisions like this is where the obligation stems from.

If the marriage is a rock, then it’s irrelevant.

As for the death situation, honestly this isn’t sufficient in my mind. Parents pass away, this is apart of life, you shouldn’t need to quit your job over something like that. Frankly I don’t see how not having a job makes the pain of losing a parent somehow better. Perhaps take time to morn, but not giving up a career.

As for the nanny... lifestyle call plus assumption of a lifetime responsibility for your wife's standard of living.
Obviously you have not had a situation where someone you loved was suffering from a terminal illness.
Other than wanting to spend time with them before they go, terminally ill people often have multiple doc appointments a week if not daily for which they need transport. They often can not cook for themselves or do their laundry or clean their homes. They sometimes get confused or weak or both. They often need help with medications and treatments.
And terminally ill people do not just up and die. Many live this way, in this manner, for months to years.


Sure, you could hire someone to do those things for them but many times you want to be that person who does.
I think in my mind it was months not years. If it’s years of care which are required, and that is something she wants to do, then it changes the decision of giving up a career.

I would be very crystal clear though: is this something she wants to do, or feels obligated to do? Is it something she is mentally/physical capable of or up for doing? Very different paths to what might end up being the same choice, but obligation can sprout into all sorts of other bad situations/emotions.

If my partner is rock solid mentally, I might be supportive, if they struggle with life’s challenges without the terminal illness in the mix, I’d think hard. I wouldn’t want my partner potentially destroying themselves for another, especially if we have kids to raise.

And no I haven’t.
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Eagle33
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by Eagle33 »

Interesting the comments about the wife not working. Actually it is uncompensated, but still work.

Wife needs to make the decision, husband needs to support that decision.
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by Kenkat »

Financially, you are in the enviable position of being able to do what you want, so make the decision together as a couple that you feel will be best for your family.

One thing I will mention about terminal illnesses - nobody really knows how much time you have. My father in law had a similar diagnosis - 9 to 18 months if I remember correctly. My wife and her sister really focused on making that last year great, but apparently no one told dad as he kept on truckin’ for over 5 years from that diagnosis before finally passing at 89. No regrets as it brought my wife even closer to her father but just a caution that it may be an extended tour.
TimeTheMarket
Posts: 170
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by TimeTheMarket »

No brainer. Have her take time off, spend with the kids and her parents, and she can "She could probably secure similar employment in a year or so if she felt she made the wrong move so not sure how real that risk is."

if needed.

Your net worth is ridiculous as it is. Your wife could spend the rest of her life on the couch reading and you guys are already set on your 500k income.
Username is not serious :)
FoolStreet
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by FoolStreet »

fortunefavored wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:58 pm Women, especially in senior positions or leadership have a LOT of leverage right now in the corporate world.. I would write down your "best case" scenario ("6 months off completely, 6 months part time, then we'll consider returning to full time") - or whatever scenario seems ideal, and take that to her employer.

You may be pleasantly shocked by how far they are willing to go to keep her around.
Can you elaborate on this leverage? I hear that many women are disproportionately bearing the brunt of child duties during COVID. (Statistically speaking, although their partners should be stepping up imo). So giving more concrete examples could help many women. I assume half of Bogleheads might fit that description, so the advice could be helpful.
Count of Notre Dame
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by Count of Notre Dame »

I've been pushed more and more into the stay at home parent role as my wife makes significantly more money than me. With that said, it can occassionally cause resentment if that is not what your spouse actually wants. I would take baby steps, maybe having her take a short leave of absence, go back to work and then consider part time first.
stoptothink
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by stoptothink »

FoolStreet wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 9:24 am
fortunefavored wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:58 pm Women, especially in senior positions or leadership have a LOT of leverage right now in the corporate world.. I would write down your "best case" scenario ("6 months off completely, 6 months part time, then we'll consider returning to full time") - or whatever scenario seems ideal, and take that to her employer.

You may be pleasantly shocked by how far they are willing to go to keep her around.
Can you elaborate on this leverage? I hear that many women are disproportionately bearing the brunt of child duties during COVID. (Statistically speaking, although their partners should be stepping up imo). So giving more concrete examples could help many women. I assume half of Bogleheads might fit that description, so the advice could be helpful.
I am seeing the exact same thing in my corporate environment (and my wife in her's) as fortunefavored is. I've had to bend-over-backwards for two employees recently (at the behest of HR), for no other reason than they were female (a male employee did not get the same treatment/leeway in the exact same situation). Elaborating would get this thread shut down. I am also a man who handles a disproportionate amount of child duties (because my wife is also a pretty highly-compensated corporate employee and a full-time student).
rich126
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by rich126 »

Reading this you get the impression the husband's view is not the same as the wife's and that will likely cause problems now or down the road.

My GF supported and helped both of her parents until their death. The mother just passed away a few months ago. She kept her job since the family had little money and w/o her job they wouldn't have survived. Evenings, weekends, etc. she was there to help them out. I think she was able to get a caretaker that the state paid for due to the parents lack of income.

With her mother (the father had passed away several years ago) she and her 2 brothers alternated weeks to give everyone a break since they all were working full time jobs (caretaker during the day, the family for evenings and weekends). It was stressful but they wouldn't have done it any other way.

Without being too rude, it just seems like the OP is not quite on board with the wife.

Certainly not an easy thing to deal with for anyone. However the money shouldn't really be a factor here but it seems like it is.
Afty
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by Afty »

I agree with the recommendation to take FMLA (if possible) rather than leaving the workforce. I agonized over the decision to take FMLA when my parent was approaching the end and eventually decided to do it. In retrospect, it was clearly the right decision, and I would deeply regret it if I hadn't spent that time focused on my parent.
aristotelian
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by aristotelian »

I think you will be fine on 500k income.
fortunefavored
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by fortunefavored »

stoptothink wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 10:00 am
FoolStreet wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 9:24 am
fortunefavored wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:58 pm Women, especially in senior positions or leadership have a LOT of leverage right now in the corporate world.. I would write down your "best case" scenario ("6 months off completely, 6 months part time, then we'll consider returning to full time") - or whatever scenario seems ideal, and take that to her employer.

You may be pleasantly shocked by how far they are willing to go to keep her around.
Can you elaborate on this leverage? I hear that many women are disproportionately bearing the brunt of child duties during COVID. (Statistically speaking, although their partners should be stepping up imo). So giving more concrete examples could help many women. I assume half of Bogleheads might fit that description, so the advice could be helpful.
I am seeing the exact same thing in my corporate environment (and my wife in her's) as fortunefavored is. I've had to bend-over-backwards for two employees recently (at the behest of HR), for no other reason than they were female (a male employee did not get the same treatment/leeway in the exact same situation). Elaborating would get this thread shut down. I am also a man who handles a disproportionate amount of child duties (because my wife is also a pretty highly-compensated corporate employee and a full-time student).
Yes, I'm not sure what else to add either - corporations are desperate to address their diversity issues and will go to extraordinary means to retain senior women talent. There are not enough women candidates available to "fix" their numbers, so losing any women is very bad. I have one mid-level leader who has not been in the office for 2+ years, and may never return.. but still collecting full pay and benefits. Just ask for the situation you want and see what they will come up with.

My first advice to (mid-senior level) women I mentor is "immediately go apply to other jobs and ask for twice as much money" because they can get it, even if not particularly qualified. The situation may not last, take advantage while you can!
Isabelle77
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by Isabelle77 »

Trader Joe wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 6:33 pm "What would you do in this situation? "

I would support my wife 100% in everything that she wants to do.
This.
clip651
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by clip651 »

CactusGuy wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:55 pm
flaccidsteele wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:53 pm Sorry to hear the news about your wife’s parents

Personally I would support her spending her time with her family right now
I absolutely do support her spending time with her family. That said, I am not sure that anyone can spend more than a few hours a day with a sick parent. It is fairly depressing to spend full day after full day with someone who is in such a terrible condition. Also, I am suggesting that we can do this without her leaving her job.
I don't know your wife or her parents, so I have no opinion on how she may want to handle this. You as a family have my sympathy for the situation. To understate things, it is always sad to face a terminal illness. And it is always sad to lose a loved parent.

But yes, someone can absolutely spend more than a few hours a day with a sick parent. I've been doing it 24/7 for several years (with chronic, very slowly terminal disease for my parent) with much less financial stability than your family has, and therefore fewer options. And this is parent #2 for me, for a while I was caring for both when both needed a lot of help, now only one remains.

I'm guessing your wife would "just" be visiting, not providing care, since most gravely ill people need more than a couple hours of care per day. Many families provide the care as well, from doctors visits to diaper changes and beyond. Many people all over the country do the same. It is depressing, tiring, frustrating, and much more. But also very rewarding and I would not want to be anywhere else, and cannot imagine being anywhere else while I am still needed here. The days and hours remaining are the only ones I have left with my loved one, sad and depressing or not. Once they are gone, they are gone.

When you talk to your wife, see what she wants for this time, and realize that what she wants may change over time. The stresses of work may not be what she wants to add to the stresses of watching a parent face the end of their life, whether she spends one hour a week with the parent, or 2 hours a day, or 24/7 for some part of the time. Or she may want work to help keep her sanity. Or whatever.

And your family is certainly in a financial position to allow her to spend as much time as she likes with her ailing parent. Whether that is splitting time between the parent and the kid care, or spending more time with the parent and finding a new nanny to continue to help with kid care, or splitting time between work, kids, and parent, or varying that over the coming weeks and months. Be thankful for the options your family has. And please don't make this about the money. Look after the money, yes, but finances in no way limit your wife's options for this time. People first. Then money.

best wishes,
cj
Cruise
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by Cruise »

OP:

You and your wife have two independent issues here:

1. You need to find a replacement for the nanny. You could replace her with a typical replacement for about the same compensation, or you could replace her with a (formerly) $250k/year mother.

2. Your wife needs time to be with her parent. She could quit her job, take indefinite leave, or work out a compromise with her employer. I know someone who was able to take off one week a month to be with a dying parent over the course of a six-month episode. That schedule provided the person with quality time with the parent, a sense of helping, but allowed the person to retain identity, salary, and sanity through that six-month ordeal. Your wife might want to try that before totally quitting.

Good luck.
Savermom
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by Savermom »

So many people would love to be in your financial position and to be able to afford to stay home with kids. Your wife cannot get this time back with her parents and your kids. If she wants to stay home, she is very fortunate that she can.

If she is not sure whether she would like it, yes, a leave of absence is an option.
Topic Author
CactusGuy
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by CactusGuy »

fortunefavored wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:58 pm Women, especially in senior positions or leadership have a LOT of leverage right now in the corporate world.. I would write down your "best case" scenario ("6 months off completely, 6 months part time, then we'll consider returning to full time") - or whatever scenario seems ideal, and take that to her employer.

You may be pleasantly shocked by how far they are willing to go to keep her around.
Thank you, this is good feedback. We looked into her HR programs and it appears that she can take off about 4months paid for this situation...
Topic Author
CactusGuy
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by CactusGuy »

Reamus294 wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 4:54 pm Sorry to hear about the family member.

Similar age here. The heavy emotional toll will only become heavier. Probably like most people, I regret not spending more time with my dad in the period after he was diagnosed and before he passed. I missed out on some quality time while he was still relatively healthy because I was saving time to be there when I would be needed more. Work became an outlet at some point, but overall the toll would have been lighter if I didn't have to worry about work.

Because of your high salary and the possibility of her re-entering the work force with relative ease, don't be afraid to leap. It looks like you both have worked hard to make it so you have options in scenarios like this. Not sure what your financial goals are, but as long as you both are ok with the expected spending/saving that surrounds the decision, I would go with the gut on this one. In your scenario, my gut would have said to leave work, exhausting the maximum amount of time that allows her to leave on good terms. These types of scenarios are so specific to feelings, family (ailing parent, other parent, siblings, your children), etc, that only you will know what is best for your family.
Thank you for your perspective and feedback!!
Topic Author
CactusGuy
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by CactusGuy »

delamer wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 7:32 pm Your wife really needs to think through — wiith your help — how she would simultaneously manage helping her mother and taking care of your children. If the kids aren’t in school physically, then she’d need to be at home with them during school hours and would not be available to her mother then. And even if the kids are physically in school most of the day, thar’s a limited number of hours that she can focus on her mother. This is assuming that you’d have a nanny for the kids in the after-school hours in either case.

I sympathize with your wife and had a parent who was terminally ill while I was working full-time and had young kids. I agree with the other suggestions that your wife should explore FMLA or other employer accommodations before taking the more distract step of quitting work altogether. The latter is making a likely permanent change (or at least semi-permanent) based on a short-term situation, which is generally not a good idea.

Best of luck in a tough situation. You can handle the financial part, but your wife’s priorities will be more difficult to balance.
Thank you!
Topic Author
CactusGuy
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by CactusGuy »

clip651 wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 12:51 pm
CactusGuy wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:55 pm
flaccidsteele wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:53 pm Sorry to hear the news about your wife’s parents

Personally I would support her spending her time with her family right now
I absolutely do support her spending time with her family. That said, I am not sure that anyone can spend more than a few hours a day with a sick parent. It is fairly depressing to spend full day after full day with someone who is in such a terrible condition. Also, I am suggesting that we can do this without her leaving her job.
I don't know your wife or her parents, so I have no opinion on how she may want to handle this. You as a family have my sympathy for the situation. To understate things, it is always sad to face a terminal illness. And it is always sad to lose a loved parent.

But yes, someone can absolutely spend more than a few hours a day with a sick parent. I've been doing it 24/7 for several years (with chronic, very slowly terminal disease for my parent) with much less financial stability than your family has, and therefore fewer options. And this is parent #2 for me, for a while I was caring for both when both needed a lot of help, now only one remains.

I'm guessing your wife would "just" be visiting, not providing care, since most gravely ill people need more than a couple hours of care per day. Many families provide the care as well, from doctors visits to diaper changes and beyond. Many people all over the country do the same. It is depressing, tiring, frustrating, and much more. But also very rewarding and I would not want to be anywhere else, and cannot imagine being anywhere else while I am still needed here. The days and hours remaining are the only ones I have left with my loved one, sad and depressing or not. Once they are gone, they are gone.

When you talk to your wife, see what she wants for this time, and realize that what she wants may change over time. The stresses of work may not be what she wants to add to the stresses of watching a parent face the end of their life, whether she spends one hour a week with the parent, or 2 hours a day, or 24/7 for some part of the time. Or she may want work to help keep her sanity. Or whatever.

And your family is certainly in a financial position to allow her to spend as much time as she likes with her ailing parent. Whether that is splitting time between the parent and the kid care, or spending more time with the parent and finding a new nanny to continue to help with kid care, or splitting time between work, kids, and parent, or varying that over the coming weeks and months. Be thankful for the options your family has. And please don't make this about the money. Look after the money, yes, but finances in no way limit your wife's options for this time. People first. Then money.

best wishes,
cj
Thank you. You are absolutely right that the demands of taking care of her parent may change over time. I would expect that when the parent needs full-time care we would not be the sole provider of that care. With that said, the time she will want will certainly be unpredictable and something to plan for in all of this.
Topic Author
CactusGuy
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by CactusGuy »

Cruise wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 1:02 pm OP:

You and your wife have two independent issues here:

1. You need to find a replacement for the nanny. You could replace her with a typical replacement for about the same compensation, or you could replace her with a (formerly) $250k/year mother.

2. Your wife needs time to be with her parent. She could quit her job, take indefinite leave, or work out a compromise with her employer. I know someone who was able to take off one week a month to be with a dying parent over the course of a six-month episode. That schedule provided the person with quality time with the parent, a sense of helping, but allowed the person to retain identity, salary, and sanity through that six-month ordeal. Your wife might want to try that before totally quitting.

Good luck.
Thank you. My wife and I were talking about this concept over the last couple of days... breaking down the “problem statement” into two separate ones as you have illustrated is how we are now thinking about this. It is certainly harder to think through the approach when lumping everything together. When splitting up the objectives, its much easier to see other alternatives (increase maid service, part-time nanny, childcare pre/post COVID and time implications, etc).
Topic Author
CactusGuy
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by CactusGuy »

Afty wrote: Fri Sep 25, 2020 11:25 am I agree with the recommendation to take FMLA (if possible) rather than leaving the workforce. I agonized over the decision to take FMLA when my parent was approaching the end and eventually decided to do it. In retrospect, it was clearly the right decision, and I would deeply regret it if I hadn't spent that time focused on my parent.
Thank you, we are looking into this option more closely.
Topic Author
CactusGuy
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by CactusGuy »

Watty wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 4:33 pm
CactusGuy wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:46 pm Any advice on things to consider?
Be sure to read up and understand the details of FMLA, Family Medical Leave Act, which will allow your wife to take up to 12 unpaid weeks off without any risk of losing her job or facing retribution. Be sure to document everything and let the HR department know that she knows her rights under FMLA.

https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/fmla

It will not always happen but I had to use FLMA once when I had a sick family member and the person I was dealing with in the HR department was surprisingly helpful and made sure that I had everything in order and knew what all my option were. It turned out that she had been through a similar situation a few years before and had a lot of compassion about the situation, at least as long as what I was doing was under the FMLA rules. My manager was similarly understanding because he had also gone through the loss of a parent a few years before. If she has been a good employee there is a very good chance that the company will be more understanding than they are required to be.

One thing about the "12 weeks" is that it may not need to be consecutive weeks. I don't know if it was required but my employer allowed be to set up a schedule of part time work so that it was really more like 60 days of leave than 12 weeks. That might allow her to schedule something like taking a day off each week(or two half days) for the next year.

I don't recall the details of how that worked but I think that was also related to normal vacation and sick time so you need to figure out how those work together.

The big question is what your wife wants to do and she may not even really know that right now. She could start with the FMLA time and see how that works then decide what to do later on.

Your plans will need to be really flexible since there is no way of telling how this will play out. You have lots of income, lots of money, and that can buy you a lot of flexibility. That is what money is for, don't be afraid to use it.

Even if she does not plan on using the FMLA she should still file the paperwork for it since that will give her all sorts of protections and her situation could change quickly. For example if she gets a call tonight that her mom is doing poorly and she needs to be by her side right away so already having the FMLA paperwork in place would make it that easier and you would not need to deal with the paperwork later on when it is a bad time.

Also it is not impossible to lay off someone that is on FLMA but most companies would be very reluctant to do that since there is so much chance of a lawsuit.
CactusGuy wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 3:46 pm One alternative that I am considering is to ask our nanny to stay on to help with learning until the kids go back to school live, and then look for a part time nanny to help with light chores, transportation from school, and some homework once things get back to normal after COVID.
It does not sound like that is really an option since the nanny has already basically given her notice that she wants to move on by the end of the year. If you push too hard then eventually the nanny will eventually give two weeks notice and leave.

You may be in a bit of denile right now. Your nanny has given her notice and will be leaving in the near future. Unless you can work out some deal with her like a 12 month contract then you need to plan on her not being there in a few months.

Even if your wife leaves her job to take care of her mom she will not be available to take care of the kids all day long. I think you need to start looking for a new nanny since that would also allow your wife to respond quickly in case she gets a call that her mom needs her.
Thank you for your detailed response. We are investigating what a leave of absence may look like after consulting with her HR programs. We did further discuss with our current nanny and we need to plan for her exit in 2020. She is not willing to stay on through COVID as you suspected.
HopeToGolf
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Re: Wife Quitting High Earning Job?

Post by HopeToGolf »

1. Support the wife with her choice.
2. Request flexibility from her employer. Without going into detail, I needed this and the employer was on board. That said, I did not pare back on responsibilities and it was stressful.
3. Hire a new nanny.

2 & 3 assume that your wife wants to continue to work now and in the future. While you don’t “need” the money, depending on your wife’s role and the job market near your home, it may not be easy to find a similarly paid job with a reasonable commute.
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