Finances and Work-Family Balance

work-family balance

Work-family balance is an important thing. Most people need to work to be able to support their families. Many people enjoy working and thrive through their work. However, work can take too much time and energy away from the family. Striking a balance is challenging.

Work-Family Balance and Quality of Life

One 2002 study found that people who spend more time on family than work report having a higher quality of life than those others. People who spent about equal time on family and work had a higher life quality than people who spent more time on work than family. Therefore, the perfect work-family balance may be one that leans more heavily on the family side than the work side.

Women and the Struggle with Work-Family Balance

Women, particularly mothers, have struggled significantly with the work-family balance issue. Research shows that 7 out of 10 women with children under 18 also work for pay. However, they earn less than their male counterparts. Plus, they often don’t return to full-time work quickly after the birth of children. One study found that it takes over a decade for the number of women to return to full-time work as the number who were working full-time within one year prior to the birth of their first child.

About 2/5 of mothers wait until their children are older to resume full-time work. Another 1/5 never resume full-time work. This impacts women and their families in a number of ways. In terms of career, many women struggle to get back on track in terms of professional status. We’ve all heard about the lawyers who get put on the “mommy track” and struggle to make partner at a firm after having kids. Recently new information shows that mothers who are scientists have a hard time getting grants and publications in comparison to their single and/or male counterparts.

This Issue Impact All Types of Families

Although women have been uniquely impacted by the work-family balance, it’s an issue that affects all different configurations of family. In the two-parent “mom and dad” family, both partners often struggle with the financial impact of trying to achieve work-family balance. Men increasingly give more time to family than they historically did. That’s a great thing for many reasons. However, it also means that dads are feeling more of the stress in the struggle to achieve work-family balance. The two parents may fight frequently over finances, as well as over division of labor at home.

Single parents, same-sex parents, and people in other family configurations (multi-generational, polyamorous, etc.) also have to grapple with this issue. Who will work? How much will each person work? What adaptations and sacrifices will the family have to make in order for one or more parents to not only earn money but also do a job that they enjoy? All types of families have to answer these questions. There is no right answer and no easy answer. Most people just do the best that they can and adapt as their financial, employment, and family situations change.

Communication is Key

Each individual, and each family, must figure out what works for them. There are many different ways to earn a living. How much money one needs varies widely. People must look at what they are willing to sacrifice in terms of family time in order to work at a certain job. They must look at what they are willing to sacrifice career-wise in order to have more family time. In order to figure this out, people must learn to communicate.

It’s not easy to talk about money. Financial stress makes it even more challenging in families. However, learning how to communicate openly, authentically, and honestly about your work-family balance needs will go a long way towards achieving the right balance in your family.

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What You Need To Know Before Selling Your Home

Selling your home requires some research and time.

Selling your home requires some research and time.

Selling your home can be both exciting and stressful. It’s typically a sign of a new adventure ahead, whether it is moving to a new area for a job or even downsizing to start a new milestone in your life.

With the real estate market flourishing right now, depending on where you live, you may have an easier time putting your house on the market now than you did in previous years. However, regardless of how well the market is doing, you still need to be aware of some do’s and don’ts of real estate. Here is what you need to know before selling your home:

Speak with a professional.

Even if you are selling your home on your own, hiring a real estate attorney will be helpful to have some legal eyes look over your contracts and paperwork. Catching any flaws before any sales are finalized can help to save you money in the future.

Put it online.

Online house listings make your home even more visible to the public along with providing quick updates regularly to browsers.

Hire an inspector.

You’ll save yourself so much time and energy by having a qualified individual come in and inspect your home. You should consider doing this before you even put your house on any listings or begin showing it so that you can strengthen your sale price by making any repairs or updates as needed.

Focus on curb appeal.

Take some time to improve the curb appeal of your home in order to attract more buyers. Invest in some simple landscaping and keep your lawn tidy (if applicable), raking leaves in the fall and clearing your sidewalks of snow in the winter. Think about what attracts you to a new property and apply this concept to your own home.

Price your home in line with both the area and market.

As tempting as it may be to price your home that extra 100 grand you feel it is worth, doing so may turn off potential buyers. You can attempt to go a little above market price, but talk with a trusted professional on what they would advise.  If you are in a location that has many individuals selling their home, you will have a hard time attracting a buyer if your price is out of range.

Have your paperwork ready.

Being as prepared as possible will help keep things flowing as best as possible when you are ready to put your house on the market. You’ll be able to answer any questions about taxes, the property and the like with ease by having any and all documents associated with the house on hand. Different questions may arise not only from the potential buyer but also from your listing agent or attorney. It may require filing a quit claim deed.

Get rid of the clutter.

Before you even start showing your house, clear out your closets, get rid of clutter and make it look even extra homey by adding in some house plants in various rooms. The key is to show space to those coming to consider buying your home. If they can not only imagine themselves living there but see how much space is available, you will be helping to boost the sales process along so that you can move on with your new adventure.

Hire your own real estate agent.

Although an added cost, having your own agent is a great way to obtain the price negotiations that are favorable to you. Agents representing buyers have more of a loyalty to their client instead of helping you sell your home, so they will be trying to get the best deal for their customer. Thus, if you have your own agent, you’ll be able to counteract professionally with rates that are close in alignment to your selling goals.


Selling your home can be intimidating (and nerve-wrecking), but by following the above tips and doing your research, you will gain a much better handle on the process. Just keep these in mind with each real estate sale.

A Personal Finance Checklist To Kick Off Your 30’s

A personal finance checklist can help you achieve financial goals.

A personal finance checklist can help you achieve future goals.

A personal finance checklist can be useful to ensure you are on well on your way to achieving financial success (or even simply evaluating where you stand).

Your 20’s are a great time to figure your life (and yourself) out. By the time you are 30, though, you should ideally have much of your life in order. Today’s millennials do tend to take longer to get married and start their lives, as recent reports show, but in order to set yourself up for your later years, you should analyze and improve your finances now.

I just celebrated my 29th birthday at the end of April, which encouraged me to reflect on my life experiences thus far and consider the future. The last decade was focused on enhancing and nurturing my career and my personal life along with developing myself as a full-blown adult. Basically, I spent the last 10 years getting my life in order.

As I prepare for a new decade, it’s time to take the next steps for my future. One of the first steps includes using my own personal financial checklist to accomplish over the next year in order to achieve more of my financial goals. With each milestone, my monetary ambitions change, and yours should too. I’ve already accomplished some of these topics and others still need improvement. As you begin to map out your own, this personal finance checklist will hopefully help you in more ways than one as well:

Budgeting 

  • If you have not already created a budget for yourself, you should do this first and foremost. Tracking your income and expenses is definitely not fun, but it does help to keep you in check and help you build wealth.

Reduce your debt 

  • By the time I was 27, I had paid off my car and two credit cards. My credit score not only went up significantly following these achievements, but I was able to use the money I was using toward this debt to increase my savings account. While I still have my student loan debt I am working on, my credit cards were my top priority to pay off as their interest rates tend to be higher than student loans. I’ve been able to pay more than the minimum amount each month over the last few years with less debt hanging over my shoulders though.

Save for retirement 

  • If you have not been lucky enough to have a 401(k) or similar retirement plan with your job, it’s time to open your own Roth IRA or another retirement savings account option. If you do have a 401(k) with your employer, start contributing more toward this fund. Ask your employer about a match program they may offer and do what you need to do in order to take advantage of this benefit. If you can swing it, you could invest in a separate plan as well as following one with work.
    • How much should you put toward retirement? A common recommendation is a minimum of 10% of your income. If that does not seem feasible at this time, especially with other savings plans you may be contributing to, such as an emergency fund, shoot for 2-5% and work your way up to the 10% goal.

Diversify your financial portfolio

  • As you reach your 30’s, this becomes important to include on your finance checklist. Mix up your investments through stocks, bonds and the like. Before going into such a venture blindly, be sure to do your research and even consult with a financial adviser or stock broker.  Buying stocks is pretty easy – you just need a brokerage account.

Plan for the future

  • No one ever wants to really think about dying or life emergencies, but the fact of the matter is, anything can happen to any of us at any time. As you begin to build financial stability, consider starting a family and reach more life milestones, you will want to contemplate the following:
    • Life insurance. Having a life insurance plan for you (and your spouse, regardless of whether or not he or she works) will be imperative in making any hurdles life throws your or your family’s way a little easier to deal with.
    • Naming beneficiaries on your accounts. Appointing your assets to various people in the event of your passing may not seem necessary at this point in your life, but you need to be prepared for anything. If you are not married and do not have a family of your own, you will want to consider leaving your financial accounts and any assets to your parents or siblings. Your beneficiaries will most likely change and need updated multiple times throughout your life, but get it started now so that it is not a worry later.
    • Estate planning. You do not need to be wealthy in order to start your estate planning. Get a power of attorney and a health care proxy to act on your behalf should you become debilitated and/or lose the ability to make your own decisions. Doing this will ensure you still have a full say in what happens particularly to you and your family.
    • Disability insurance. Regardless of age, you should be prepared for any event in life. If something happens that causes you to no longer be capable of working, disability insurance will provide you with a source of income.

Have a financial plan with your significant other

  • Married or not, live-in couples and relationships that openly discuss finances tend to have a higher success rate in surviving the partnership. Talk to your significant other about a financial plan and goals and compromise when needed.
    • Not married or living with a significant other? Create your own financial plan and be as specific with it as possible.

While a personal finance checklist may seem a bit daunting, it does not have to be all work and no play. It is still important to remember to splurge on yourself from time to time. As you become more financially responsible (and stable), you will find this much easier to do without placing much stress on your bank account.

Start a new decade off right with this personal finance checklist as a beginning point. If you are already in your 30’s and have yet to incorporate any of the above items, take some time to begin including these in your life goals and plan.

What would you add to the list?