The pandemic has forced many of us to take a good, hard look at our lives and careers. And if you’re like many people, you’re re-considering working full-time until 65.
A whopping 77% of American workers have experienced burnout working a full-time job. And more than eight in 10 workers from the same study said that burnout at work negatively impacts their personal relationships. In other words, working jobs that consume our lives can have devastating impacts, both inside and outside of the office.
It’s no wonder that more and more Americans are considering part-time work.
For others, retirement just isn’t in the cards yet. As inflation eats away at our spending power, worries over how long our money and investments will last are a growing concern, especially toward the end of our careers.
If you are considering switching to a part-time job, here’s what you need to know.
Working part-time impacts Social Security
Your social security benefits could be negatively impacted by working less during your career. Currently, social security benefits can be taken at age 62.
However, working part-time instead of retiring means you’re earning more money in your career. This extra money could make it possible to delay social security payments, which increases the amount of your monthly check when you start taking benefits.
Talk to a financial planner if you are unsure how part-time work will affect your social security.
Note that your benefits won’t increase beyond age 70, so it’s wise to begin taking your benefits before that time.
Can you afford to work part-time?
Obviously, working part-time means you are no longer earning a full-time income. In addition, depending on how many hours you work, part-time workers often do not receive benefits like health insurance. Ask yourself this straightforward question: Can I afford to pay my monthly bills if my salary was cut in half and I lost health benefits?
Note that under the Affordable Care Act, most U.S. companies must offer health benefits if you work more than 30-hours a week.
If you’re not sure, run an experiment. For at least two months, try living on half of your income. This will likely include drastically cutting back expenses unless your lifestyle is already frugal. Running this experiment while you still have a full-time job allows you to delay the switch until you’re more comfortable with the reduction in income.
Will you save money by working less?
Switching to part-time might help you to save substantially on lifestyle costs.
For instance, if working less means saving money on expensive childcare, reducing hours could be worth it. Most families that pay for childcare spend at least 10% of their household income on nannies or after-school supervision for their kids. Childcare isn’t cheap.
But, the savings might not stop there.
Commuting costs are rising sharply along with the cost of fuel. On average, commuters drop several thousand dollars every year driving to and from work. In addition, the U.S. Census found that the average commute was nearly 28 minutes one-way. Almost an hour in a car every day is a long time to spend away from our families.
Or, maybe switching to part-time would mean more time to tackle projects around the home that you would typically hire out to contractors or maintenance crews.
Or perhaps, you could go on vacation during the week or during non-peak times and save money on accommodations and airfare.
Working part-time could help you save money. But, are the savings worth it?
Consider the opportunity costs
How much is part-time work costing you outside of salary and benefits?
For instance, will switching to part-time hurt your career prospects down the line? How would a part-time position look on your resume? In addition, will it hurt your chances of raises or promotions in the future?
Also, what about the network of professions you’re building in your career? Will your network dismiss you as a respected professional if you no longer work a full-time job as they are?
If you are closer to retirement, the opportunity costs may not be high. But the earlier you are in your career, the more critical it will be to give the non-financial implications of working part-time careful consideration before making the leap.
Will switching to part-time require changing companies?
Your existing employer may not have part-time options available. If they don’t, you’ll need to be prepared to hop to another employer. Is this something that you feel comfortable doing?
Part-time jobs can be hard to find, though most people’s side hustle potential is virtually unlimited. Side hustles mean you’re creating your own part-time opportunity by selling a product or service. This option won’t be right for everyone.
Be prepared to change companies to make the switch to part-time. Online job sites like Indeed, Monster, and ZipRecruiter are great sources to look for part-time positions. Talking to an experienced recruiter may also assist you in your hunt for this type of work.
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This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Steve Adcock is an early retiree who writes about mental toughness, financial independence and how to get the most out of your life and career. As a regular contributor to The Ladders, CBS MarketWatch and CNBC, Adcock maintains a rare and exclusive voice as a career expert, consistently offering actionable counseling to thousands of readers who want to level-up their lives, careers, and freedom. Adcock's main areas of coverage include money, personal finance, lifestyle, and digital nomad advice. Steve lives in a 100% off-grid solar home in the middle of the Arizona desert and writes on his own website at SteveAdcock.us.