Wednesday, February 17, 2010

How much is your time worth?

A lot of people talk about the value of your time when talking about things like coupon cutting or running all over time looking for deals. Over the past month my mom and I have been discussing the value of her time.

My mom is 60. She has a master's degree that she never utilized. The degree and my arrival came within a year of each other. Instead of taking pay and benefits cut to start over in the industry where she got her degree she stayed at her secure job with good benefits. She stayed there for 25 years, leaving only when my step father's transfer took them to the south. When they first moved she looked at the available jobs and decided to go into real estate.

Can you guess where this is going? After loosing money in 2008 my mom and her partner hung up their shingles. In 2009 my mom alternated between fretting about work and considering it an early retirement. As an in between she signed up with a temp agency.

For the past month she's been working as a receptionist from 8-6. The people are nice and it's only 5 minutes from her house. She's making a little less than $10/hr. There's a possibility that it could go full time, but in the interview they made it very clear that $10.00 would be the max pay. Though she'd like more that's about average for where she lives.

So is it worth it?

My step-dad is working as a contractor for his former company post retirement. His income covers the household bills and he helps his grandson pay for college. So financially speaking, my mom doesn't need to work. She just misses having her own income. Her schedule for most of the last year included going to the gym 4-6 times a week, keeping their house up to her insane standards, cooking healthy food, reading, and being there whenever I need to talk.

Since she started working she's remembered how hard it is to do all of those things with a set schedule. She's only been working out 1-2 times a week and is stressed about getting everything done. My step-dad admittedly needs to pick up a bit more slack, but he works 4 10's with a 60 mile commute each way. So it's really 12.5 hr days 4 days a week.

I think she shouldn't take the job. If anything I think she should find something part time so she still has time to take care of her (and his) health. I don't need gifts/mom sponsored visits home which accounts for 1/2 the reason she wants her own income. She transferred 1/4 of what she's made so far into one of my accounts for my birthday. I'll get something fun because it will make her happy- but I'd much rather have a healthy mom 15 yrs from now than birthday/Christmas gifts.


Ema said...

I think its going to depend on what is more important to her. Working part-time is maybe, the best compromise and offers the best of both worlds. Offering flexibility of time, variety of life and some financial independence, however minimal that income may be. On another note, if one reason she's working is so she can send you money on occasion, no matter how often you protest, it may be very difficult for her to discontinue those gifts. As you said, it makes her happy. My grandmother still sends my mother plus my aunts & uncles money and she's on a very fixed income. She values being generous, plus it is an expression of her love for her kids.

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