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Mid-Life Career Changes

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I come to you today with a bit of an announcement…..though nothing has actually changed yet, so it’s more of an announcement of things to come (not of things that have already transpired).

I’m sure it’s pretty evident that I’ve been overwhelmed with work lately. I haven’t been able to blog nearly as frequently as I’d like; I’ve sometimes written reactionary/overwhelmed posts (like this one); you all know the vast amount of time that it takes to deal with my Dad’s stuff; finding “balance” has been a reoccurring theme in my blog posts, etc. etc. etc.

It’s something I’ve been talking about with hubs quite a bit over the past several months (I just want to note that this is not another reactionary thing – it’s been on our minds for a long time).

So here’s the deal….I want hubs to quit his job.

Hubs is a flooring contractor. He has a couple of crews of people who work for him but he, himself, also goes out and installs floors all day every day. He’s quite good at it and takes a great deal of pride in his workmanship. But for some reason, we have been unable to grow this business. He’s done it for nearly 7 years here in Tucson (with lots of experience prior to living here, both in Florida and Texas on high-end homes). But every time he starts to expand his operations, we’re hit with HUGE blows. Typically he has someone from an install crew make some mistake and he’s left having to cover the costs to rectify the situation. I think, at most, he was once hit with a $15,000 repair. But he’s had several jobs over the years that have cost him $5,000 here or there. I’ve gotten away from giving our monthly budgets (just due to time constraints as those are one of the most time-intensive posts to write), but when I reported our income monthly I’d sometimes talk about how he had a no-income month or a negative-income month. Yes, these things tend to even out (there are super high income months, too). But, on the whole, things just don’t seem to be progressing. We feel stagnant. And unable to gain traction.

And aside from that, hubs isn’t getting any younger. Let’s face it – his job is manual labor. He’s going to need knee replacements at probably a very young age. His back aches daily and even now (at 34 years old), it takes him a couple minutes just to get up and start moving around some days. He has to stretch to make sure his knees don’t buckle beneath him.

We’ve always known this job wouldn’t last forever. But we’d hoped he would transition away from doing physical install work and toward just managing at some point. Unfortunately, we’ve been trying to do this “transition” thing for nearly 4 years now and every time he gets close, he’s hit with these huge expenses and forced to go back to working, himself. It’s just not a sustainable business strategy long-term.

Looking at the past couple of years’ taxes, we know that I make roughly the same from my part-time job that hubs makes from his full-time job. I say this not to shame him, but just to state a fact

(As a side-note, I want to mention that hubs was the sole income earner in our family for a very long time. I’m blessed beyond belief to have a work-horse as a husband! I’ve seen friends with lazy husbands who drag their feet applying for jobs or just basically refusing to work and in no way can I relate. Even when we first moved to Tucson and hubs had no official employment, he was buying and selling things on Craigslist and trying literally anything to make some extra money for our family. The man is one of the hardest workers I know).

But when I’m literally talking about quitting my part-time job because I can’t keep up with it, yet it only takes me about 15 hours per week and is bringing in the same income as hubs’ 40 hour/week job…..it just doesn’t make sense for me to be the one to let my job go.

When I first broached the subject with hubs, he was vehemently against it. Again – the man is a work-horse. He’s considered it and come to the conclusion that he would not be happy or personally fulfilled to be Mr. Mom. He wants to work. He yearns to work and provide for our family.

But then we started considering some other options. Instead of quitting work and becoming Mr. Mom/Homemaker, what if hubs throws his time into securing a new career. We’ve looked into it and he can take college classes at the university where I’m employed for literally $25/class. Yes – twenty five dollars per class. So, what if he takes a few years “off” of work, during which time he helps out more around the house and with the kids to afford me the time to dedicate to work, and simultaneously goes back to school himself so he can change career trajectories???

Hubs has “some college”, but never finished an actual degree. One field we’ve talked about, specifically, is engineering. It doesn’t require a crazy amount of school (typically the four year degree is all that’s necessary), and you come out on the other end pretty employable (unlike many fields that require different advanced degrees just to be competitive on the job market).

The big drawback to this is age. If we do this, he likely won’t be graduating until he’s 38 or 39 years old. Is that “too old” to make such a major switch in careers???

Like I said, nothing has happened yet. IF we do this (still a big “if”), we’ve talked about doing it as a slow transition. He would ramp down his business across the course of the next few months. He’d likely keep at least one crew working under his business license for the time being (he has one crew that is totally self-sufficient and does great work, so he could continue drawing a small income from the profits on their job). Then he’d look into some college courses for this coming Spring semester (starting in January).

It’s just scary to make such a major life decision. It would obviously affect our debt payoff at least a bit, but the way things are operating currently are just not sustainable. I’m talking about having to quit my (very lucrative) part-time job, which would be a big blow to our income. Losing hubs’ income would also be a big blow, but when looking at it from a perspective of time versus money, it just makes more sense to keep my part-time job and give up his full-time one given that it’s basically the same amount of money either way. To test the waters, he’s already been ramping up his help around the house. He basically does 90% of the laundry at this point, 75% of the general cleaning, and significantly more childcare (he picks up and drops off at preschool much more regularly than he used to last academic year & always takes them somewhere once every weekend so I have a few hours of dedicated work-time on Saturday or Sunday).

It’s just hard. There’s no guarantee on the other side that he’ll 100% for sure be able to go into this completely different career field. And we know that this can not be a long-term plan because, like I said, he would not find it to be a personally fulfilling lifestyle (which is very important, even though I’m sensitive to the fact that many would bend over backward to be in the position to quit their job and not have to worry about the financial implications).

So I’m just kind of laying it out there for you. I’d love to hear if you have stories of mid-life major career changes (into a totally different field all together). Do you know any books on the topic that might be helpful to read as we consider this type of major life transition? Do you have any suggestions of things we might want to research or take into consideration? For the record, yes, it will have an impact on our budget and debt payments. But, as I’ve mentioned, that’s likely to happen anyway (since the alternative is that I quit my part-time job and at some point down the road we would still need to figure out an alternative plan for hubs because he cannot physically stay in his current career forever).

In addition to constructive criticism, advice, and suggestions, I also welcome happy thoughts and prayers for clarity while we try to figure out what the best move is for our family in the coming years.

As always, thanks for your unwavering support! : )

 

Ashley

Texan at heart; Arizonan on paper. Lover of running, cheese, camping, and family (fur-family included!). Blogger, motivated to get out of debt YESTERDAY! Follow along with my journey!

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42 Comments

  • Reply sheila |

    I am going to share a little of my story because it is similar. 6 years ago my husband became unemployed, at that point in our lives we had a 9 month old, 23 month old and a 4 year old in addition to my two older daughter one in college and one in high school. It was a mutual decision that I go back to work. It has not been a easy thing but it is very doable. My husband continues to run a small website design business on the side but in reality we live on my income. Over the years, things have progressed and now we are both 100% sure that this is where God intended us to be. Talk to your husband and if you both agree, then go forward and enjoy some “extra” time with the girls because you are not so stress or spending every minute of every day trying to catch up.

  • Reply SB |

    I think this sounds like a good plan, just bake in how much time his homework will take as well. That can be a lot in college and you want to balance that with the double goal of you being able to work more and him being able to get a degree.

  • Reply Marie |

    My husband quit his full time job to go to school full time and it took a long time for him to be ok with it. But honestly at the time it was the best decision ever for our family. I would say his family was the one with the biggest issue with it. But I refused to take 8-10 years for a 4 year degree.

    In Tucson there is a large defense contractor that is hiring. If things stay the same as they are now – they will hire ever 60+ year old engineers. So if Engineering is something he likes doing and he can get a security clearance that would be a very lucrative position and fairly easy to obtain as long as his GPA is over 3.0. So I do not think he is too old to switch careers. And 9/80s are a nice work life.

  • Reply Isabella |

    I don’t have too much to say about this except sometimes families just need to take the most expedient route, forget about gender roles, and weigh the pros and cons of everything. To me, it seems to make the most sense for you, Ashley, to keep the part-time job and your husband to ease out of his business. Keep in mind that these changes are sometimes just for a season and are not set in stone for years. Look on it as a partnership as your provide for your family. If your husband gets his degree, then he can once again enter with workforce when the girls are a bit older.

  • Reply MB |

    I work in IT. When we met, Hubby was an HVAC technician. He took classes through the 90’s and got his associates degree while working full time. He had moved from residential HVAC to building maintenance to drafter at an engineering company. Our boys were born in 1995 & 1999. IN 2002 he went back to school full time in engineering. We took school loans for tuition and books and we mostly kept our expenses down and payable with my income. He took 5 qtrs and graduated in Dec 2005. He was 36. Since then his income has increased geometrically. I say, it is not too late. Go for it. It was well worth it for my family.

  • Reply Sarah |

    Is it too late? No way! I have spent my career in the newspaper business (though I just freelance now) – a business which has been dying for years now. Former colleagues saw their jobs eliminated well into their 40s and 50s. Every single one is now happily employed – many in unrelated fields. One friend in particular took his severance pay and got a master’s in school counseling – something he had been dreaming about since college. He is now a high school counselor and happier than he’s ever been. He is 53 years old and only 4 years into his second career. In your 30s, you still have more working years ahead of you than you do behind you. It sounds like a fantastic option for your family. Best of luck making the decision.

  • Reply Val |

    It’s never too late. I have worked in the accounting field for years, but is brings no joy. For the past 14 years I’ve worked my small business in bookkeeping and tax and been a stay at home mom to 2, then 5, and sometimes 6 or 7 kids – we foster and have adopted 3 over the years. In the last 3 years I have been slowly but steadily building a business in a field completely unrelated to anything I have ever done. In an industry that I never really thought I would like, and that I didn’t understand at all. It is a business that requires no formal schooling and which is unlimited in potential for someone who is willing to put in the effort. If you can swing it financially why not move on to something bigger and better ,life’s too short to wonder what if 🙂

  • Reply Chris |

    I would definitely consider it. In my view, he should try to find some people that have jobs in engineering and take them out to lunch and/or shadow them for a day to ask about the pros and cons of their work. Generally if you can get an introduction, I have found people to be very willing to share the best and worst about their job. What you don’t want, is him to invest all that time and find out he doesn’t like the day or day of engineering (or working in an office or whatever). Given the variety of engineering fields it would be worth it to try and talk to 4 or 5 different types to see if there is a clearer direction or fit.

  • Reply freebird |

    I finished college and grad school in engineering and worked three decades at various tech companies. I think engineering is a great career choice for some– but it’s not for everyone. So my advice would be to find out exactly what’s involved in the program you’re looking at. Hopefully you can find people who have already made the kind of transition you envision– and get the inside scoop from their stories.

    Top rated engineering schools are intensely competitive and maintain rigorous standards so the wash out rate can be pretty severe. Workload from courses and projects and level of difficulty are usually very high. I taught 2nd year courses as a grad student so I have an idea who made the grade. If he isn’t at the level of the top quartile of high school grads, it may be an uphill climb.

    For those who aren’t particularly strong in math and science but who have mechanical, spatial, or diagnostic aptitude, a good alternative could be a program in Engineering Technology. It’s less of the math and ‘theoretical’ and more of the hands-on practical side of engineering. Many of these have an option for a 2-year associates degree in addition to the 4-year bachelors. My father was a professor of Electrical Engineering Technology and his students went on to careers in various local industries.

  • Reply Stephanie |

    It’s a slam dunk great idea. With two young children, if he thinks he staying home means sitting around all day watching soaps, boy will he be in for an awakening. LOL! He’ll drop the gender stereotype quickly!

    My husband used to be in the military, and I ran across a few “stay at home dads.” In my experience they are actually better SAHP, on average, than the moms. If it makes sense for the dad to stay at home DO IT!

    If your husband wants to get a degree, great, but you are probably on the track to early retirement. Check out blogs like mrmoneymustache.com, and gocurrycracker.com. By the time he is ready to work, you might be nearing a possible retirement.

  • Reply M in TX |

    Hubby was in sales for over a decade and came home one day to say he didn’t want to do that for the rest of his life…said he always wanted to be a helicopter pilot. Pregnant with our first child, I said go for it. He worked full time and went to school mostly full time until we were pregnant with our second child. He finally quit his sales job and finished training. I solely supported the family for almost 3 years. He was 34 when we made that decision and we wouldn’t change a thing. It took him almost a decade to match his pay to his sales job because he was starting over. In a job where there are so many younger employees, his employers have appreciated the maturity and work ethic that an older, wiser employee tends to bring to an organization. It was rough, but none of that matters. He does what he loves every. Single. day. GO FOR IT!!!!

  • Reply debtor |

    I don’t think it’s too late. currently 31 in school to switch degrees and lots of folks like me. and engineering is skills based so if that is where he goes he should be fine.

    I know you have probably done this but one thing i would caution is to have really really honest discussions with yourselves about how this could play out long term. My experience has been someone who defines themselves by providing can have a really hard time when that switches. so make sure you are totally on the same page – talk about what could make him feel insecure and how you want to handle certain things. I think your plan makes sense but you definitely have to hash out the emotional part of it as much as you can.

    I’m sure, as a mom, you can relate to the fact that losing some of what you consider your core identity can be very off-putting for most.

    Best of luck!!! I’m sure your kids will be happy to have more daddy at home too!

  • Reply Kili |

    Some things are Just Not Worth it. And From What youve shared, it Sounds like hubs’ Job might be One of These things. From What youve shared it Sounds like He has been Working incredibly hard – for Way too Little.
    There is No use in Holding on to things that are Just demanding Way too much effort and offering Way too Little in Return.
    Sounds like a Great Idea for him to Take The Chance and pursuing a new path while helping at Home and with The Girls

  • Reply Christine |

    I think this sounds like a fantastic idea. At $25/class, you aren’t going into further debt for him to get the degree, so why not? If it works out, it will impact your family for decades to come in such a great way! And if it doesn’t work out, he will still have a college degree, without debt for getting it, he has his skills to fall back on and managerial experience with running his business, so he is definitely employable, even if it’s not exactly in the type of job you are thinking of right now. Plus while the girls are still young, he has some flexibility to be able to help more with the household/childcare. By the time he finishes, you will have more time in at your job, so hopefully with that comes some more flexibility, the girls will be in school and you guys will be debt free!

    Good luck and I think it’s a A+++ idea!!!

  • Reply Shauna |

    It’s definitely not too late for another career. And with classes at only $25 a piece, that sounds like a great opportunity. I’m guessing you guys have reviewed what of his previous courses can transfer, and what the graduation requirements are for a new degree. Even if he takes one or two classes at a time while keeping one crew going, and helping extra with the girls that would be great. And soon enough the girls will be in school full time which will give both of you more “free time” during the school year.

  • Reply Adinda |

    I don’t normally have much to say so I usually just read because it helps me with perspective but no, nope, not at all is he too old to switch careers! I’d say 100% go for it! I know a lady who was in her 40s and switched careers completely to a nursing degree. She became a nurse in her 40s so yeah, it’s NEVER too late to do that! Also, from a personal perspective, I was an insurance agent for 11 years. Pretty much right out of college because my I couldn’t find work in my degree at the time I graduated (computer graphic design). I didn’t live in a major metro area for me to find a job so I took a job with a small insurance agency who sent me to school to become an insurance agent. I did that job until I was 32 almost 33 years old. Last July I started working with a company as a Marketing Manager. It was a entire career change. It was scary I won’t lie but has been the best thing I’ve ever done for myself and for our family. I’m doing work that I went to school with and I just in general feel like I actually am doing something that I really love! Not that I didn’t love doing the insurance agent role but I went to college for this stuff so obviously it’s been a passion of mine for a long time! So no, never ever ever too late to do something new! Good luck to your husband!

  • Reply Dana |

    I’m currently in my last semester as a Civil Engineering student. I’d tell him to go for it! If he’s got the tenacity to go through the math courses, he can make a happy living managing construction projects, designing roadways/bridges, or working for the state. I’m a younger female, so I don’t typically “fit the mold” either but he can still be available for internships in the summer and gain some experience and income that will most likely lead to a fulfilling career. Many of the men in my class are older (post-army career path) so he wouldn’t be the odd man out. If its something he feels good about, he should try. Worst case scenario? You’re out the very minimal tuition cost and there may be some good tax breaks with him back in school!

  • Reply Pam E-P |

    When my marriage broke up, I went from being a SAHM to working for minimum wage. It was hard, but I had the great good fortune to land a job at a small, private university that offered 100% tuition remission as a benefit. It took me 8 years to get my BS, but 4 of those years I was a single mother, working full-time and taking literally one course at a time. I was 39 years old when I graduated and ready to start a new career and had several interviews in my desired area. I was offered another (administrative assistant position-with much higher pay) and ended up staying at the university, where my son also attended for free. I guess my point is that it’s not too late! I would recommend looking into CLEP credit to minimize the time he needs to spend in school. If he needs gen ed credits, it’s a good way to get them without spending time in the classroom. I didn’t take CLEP tests, but my son got credit for at least 3 courses that way. He also took summer classes and graduated in 2 1/2 years with a double major. There are ways to speed it up, if your husband is frustrated with the idea of how long it might take. Good luck!

  • Reply Jen From Boston |

    My mother switched careers in her 40’s. After high school she got an associate’s degree and planned on being a housewife – it was the early 60’s and she grew thinking that’s what women did. It’s what her mother did, and it’s what her friends’ mothers did. They were housewives – no bachelor’s degree needed. Mom got married to my dad, and that lasted roughly 10 years. Back then alimony to the wife was routine, and in her case it made sense as my brother and I were still pretty young. Eventually, she remarried, but her second husband didn’t earn as much as my dad, and of course she no longer received alimony. After several years of working in retail and waitressing Mom realized that in order to put two kids through college and keep a roof over our heads and food on the table she needed to earn more. So, she went back to school to become a CPA.

    This was the mid-80’s, before you had online classes. She started out at the local community college and then transferred to the closest four year college, which was about an hour’s drive away. To this day I don’t know how she did it – a full class load and a house to run. She doesn’t know how she did it, but she did, and she is much better off for it. If she hadn’t gotten her bachelor’s in accounting and then become a CPA her financial prospects now would be much, much different.

    Do it. Go back to school. Get a job a that won’t wear down your body. It might seem like a long haul, but the sooner you start the sooner you’ll be done.

    Plus, $25 per class?!?!?!?!?!?!? ZOMG!!! I’d be taking classes just for fun!!!

  • Reply Shirley |

    Hubs should consider a new career. This is becoming the normal for people to have different careers over their working lives. I completed my undergraduate st 40 to support children as a single parent then did the graduate degree at 50. Continued on and now in my 60s I’m keeping advanced certificates current in my field. I have no plans to retire as I love what I do. I consider my education much like an insurance policy you can fall back on when you need it. It will help open the right doors to help you when needed.
    You have a great partnership and will balance this out together. I really admire your hard work and commitments.

  • Reply Jasmine |

    It’s not a midlife career change, but my husband is currently looking at changing careers as well. He’s in sales which takes a huge toll on our relationship (as in, we never see each other) and is exhausting. The pay’s good because he hustles like no other, but it’s not worth DH”s mental health. I think if the pros outweigh the cons (which it seems like it), then you all should go for it.

  • Reply Katie |

    At $25/class, I wouldn’t hesitate. Your body wears out, but your education you carry with you forever. I know too many guys in their 50’s who worked in construction and carpentry and they are physically broken. These years with your kids while they’re young really zip by. If he can capture some more time with them, you’ll all benefit. Additionally, I’m sure you’ve realized that it’s really hard to have two parents that have full-time+ jobs and juggle everything. Having a parent with flexibility is really a stress reliever for everyone. That means all the sick days and teacher work days and school breaks don’t become a huge juggling act. I’ve been home with my kids for 4 years, and although I’m ready to go back to full-time work, I know that it will upend all of our lives, and not for the better. Good luck, but I’m happy that you have this option, I think in the long-run you’re putting yourselves on a great path.

  • Reply Victoria |

    This sounds like a much more thought out plan for your family. You’ve been able to properly assess the pros and cons, putting aside what you were thinking previously were givens.

  • Reply Angie |

    I like that you’re thinking outside the box! But I’d be sure you think engineering is a good fit. I’m an engineer and its okay. Its great to have steady hours but I hate sitting under fluorescent lights without a window for 9 hours a day! I’d argue sitting and being inside for that long isn’t great on your body and mindset either although its different stresses than a job of manual labor. Your husband sounds like he might make a great foreman or project manager for construction or project sites. A lot of engineering is sitting behind a desk which doesn’t sound to go too along with his personality. Maybe look into any project management focused degrees so he can have a job out in the field directing others.

    • Reply Shirley |

      I agree… As a project manager for an engineering firm our field is wide open. It isn’t just technology that needs managing but construction, and civil engineering projects including many that are outside in the field….

    • Reply hp |

      I was also going to say this. Make sure engineering is a good fit–yes, it can pay well, but if it isn’t a good fit, the money isn’t worth it. I teach future engineers ALL day long and I want to shake some of them. Project management, building construction, and more “hands-on” jobs might be better. Also, look into the job outlook in your area/desired area–some engineers are hands-on but unless you can find a job in that particular branch, it won’t be worth it. Also–he may want to review his mathematics prior to starting. If he places in a lower math, it can be quite a task to get through since math is a pre-req for everything. A review so that he places in an appropriate math can save lots of time.

  • Reply Maureen |

    I think it is not too late for a second career, especially at that tuition rate!!! Just make sure what he chooses is a good fit for him and it’s okay to switch directions if he gets into it and doesn’t like it. I started law school at 29 and had classmates starting in their 40s.

  • Reply Janie B. Norberg |

    This situation reminds me of an “Ann Landers” (or was it “Dear Abby?”!!) letter some years ago. A woman wrote in to ask if she should go to medical school; after all, in it would take her 7 years, and she would be 43 by then!!

    So, Ann Landers (or her twin sister, Abby) replied, “And how old will you be in 7 years if you *don’t* go to medical school . . . ?”

    So, yes; age, per se, shouldn’t be a factor here.

    HOWEVER, as you so forthrightly say, it is *YOU* who wants this to happen–and to happen in just this way! College is difficult enough when one really, really wants to be there. I’d be careful about pressuring your DH into doing something in which he can’t really put his “whole heart.”

    Finally, how does this effect your house-hunting/buying? I would assume that the decisions that have been made heretofore were based on including your husband’s income. Will this keep you from being approved for as large of a loan as you would need?

    J.

    • Reply Walnut |

      You know, at $25 per class, your husband should just pick up a class here or there that sounds interesting to him to get started. No need to focus on figuring out a major at this point. Back in undergrad I picked up horticulture and landscaping classes to fill most of my science credits. They had nothing to do with my major, but I did thoroughly enjoy the content and still find it useful in every day life.

    • Reply CanadianKate |

      You saved me having to make this post! It was one answer that has stuck with me all my life.

      Seven years ago, I was being pushed to take the long road into ministry. I chose to focus on lay leadership instead and do pulpit supply but not ministry/ordination. Money wasn’t a factor (good thing, pulpit supply pays peanuts) but I had to decide on my passion. I’m happy with the decision but for someone else, the other decision would have been right. I had a friend ordained at age 63 (retirement is forced at 71 for our denomination.)

      Focus on passion and then look for the opportunities. Don’t let the physical number hold you back or push you forward.

  • Reply Jay |

    Just as a counterpoint I notice that you have a lot of comments from women. As a man, I would just encourage you to make really sure that this is something he is comfortable with and that he feels like is HIS decision. Sounds like he didn’t like the thought of it at first so that should be a red flag. Many men have a need to be financial providers for their family, but I see this work many times, just make sure it will work for you AND your husband. Also, don’t limit him to just the 2 options – quit or go back to school. Maybe there are a lot of other jobs that don’t pay as well, but fit into your schedule, aren’t as physical, etc. Has he ever expressed a desire to go back to school? If not then maybe its the tail wagging the dog – he is going because its cheap and not because that is something he has always wanted. Again, red flag. When you suggested this, I might have expected to hear – yahoo, I get to go back to school to do what I’ve always wanted to do! Not, no way. Just from my own experience, my wife has tried to get me to do a career change, but if its not my idea then it seems like she’s pushing it on me. Maybe a character flaw on my part, but there it is. Maybe you should start the conversation like this – Honey, what is it you would like to do if you could do anything? And let it flow from there. Just seems like you are trying to arrange his career to fit around your two jobs and that’s a recipe for trouble. Finances are only one part of life. Good luck.

    • Reply Angie |

      On this same note, Its not all about who makes the most money. Just because your part time job earns more with less hours does not mean its “better” or “higher priority” than DH’s job. If that was the case every breadwinner would max out every hour of the day contracting while their lower income spouse quit and tookover house and childcare.That sounds like a poor quality of life for the one who has to work non-stop! I mean, can YOU sustain the PT job and FT job indefinitely without going crazy?? Be honest. You don’t have to hold all the weight just because you make a higher effective hourly wage.

  • Reply barbolarb |

    Hi Ashley, long time reader, but don’t frequently comment. I wanted to weigh in on this one because our family has some relevant experience. My husband is a SAHD, and it’s been great for our family (three kids, 5 and under). The girls get a whole different experience with their dad than they would have with me- they go fishing, canoeing, disc golfing, lots of walks in the woods and digging for worms. It’s awesome! However, they probably eat more hot dogs that I would let them get away with, but it’s a trade off 🙂 A couple thoughts- we thought about this for a while before we pulled the trigger, and one of the things we did was live on my income for 3 months before he quit. It gave us a realistic idea of what to expect the impact on our budget to look like, and we banked his income to give us a bigger savings cushion, so win-win. I would caution you to carefully explore the impact to your relationship if he’s not bringing in income. For some people it is not an issue, but base on the way you’ve described him and your financial relationship (http://www.bloggingawaydebt.com/2014/04/our-financial-relationship/) I’m not sure that would be the case for him. In particular, I remember a comment you made about how he likes to keep his own income separate so he can buy himself lunch or new shoes without having to ask your permission. This would be a dramatic change, and would certainly impact those dynamics. Not an insurmountable problem, but something you need to work through before and during the transition. Best wishes as you sort this all out!

  • Reply Mrs. H. |

    I think it’s a great idea! I switched careers in my 30s…gave up a six-figure income to become a teacher. Best thing I ever did even though I had to spend more than $40,000 for the teaching degree.

    Your situation seems like this is a no-brainer. He needs a change, you need more time to focus on career, he has an opportunity to get a degree for very little expense…I see no downside. Yes, there is no guarantee he will find a job in his new field, but if he’s going to have to change careers anyway, it’s certainly better to do so with a degree.

    Go for it!

  • Reply Nicole |

    Love your outside the box thinking; this seems like a great idea for your family. As always, so much great advice from the commenters. I agree with those who say it’s critical that this be something your husband truly wants. Also agree with those who said to investigate further what engineering jobs are really like. With your husband used to being on the move all the time, he may not be able to tolerate sitting at a desk all day. It also would make maintaining his awesome weight loss much more difficult.

    Whether engineering or any other field, if your husband is at all interested in more schooling he should do it! You can’t pass up that bargain. And for better or worse, many hiring decision makers still look at a degree as essential. I once wanted to hire a consultant whose experience was leaps and bounds ahead of all other applicants, but the powers-that-be at my company would not allow it because he didn’t have a degree. Based on his age at the time, he would have gotten that degree 20 years prior…hardly relevant anymore when weighed against his experience.

    Another future career option could be managing or sales in the flooring business. A friend of mine is actually high up in management/sales for a large local flooring company and has a very lucrative career.

    Finally, as your husband considers transitioning out of his business, he may want to consider hanging on to the essential tools that would allow him to do side jobs in the future. A friend’s father is retired from concrete construction but still takes jobs that pop up, providing a very good side income.

  • Reply Carrie |

    I would suggest for you to have hubs go through career counseling at your school. They generally have one take a series of tests and then they will sit down with him to go over the results. It should give him some career choices. You and him could go over the choices and figure out if there is one that works for him and your family. I would do this before he starts taking any classes.

  • Reply CanadianKate |

    I have a male friend. Owned his own business (window treatment) but it wasn’t growing. His family was so he went to work for a big box home improvement store and did very well.

    My suggestion might be to have your dh look into job possibilities at the big-box stores overseeing installations (not doing the work himself but ensuring quality control. Major builders might have a similar possible as well.

  • Reply Katie |

    I would totally encourage your husband to go back to school, but be sure you have looked into the possible tax consequences of the $25/class benefit. This might be relevant: https://www.irs.gov/publications/p970/ch11.html I’m not sure whether this applies to you, but when I took classes at a reduced rate at my university, I did owe tax on the portion of tuition they “paid” for me beyond $5250. So even though my classes were free, I still owed about $11,000 more in taxes that year than I would have otherwise.

  • Reply Ally - What If The Blog |

    I’d agree with everyone who’s said that it’s not too late to switch careers, but that that’s not even the biggest reason to do it now – it’s the fact that he has the chance to get a university degree for what, a thousand dollars? That’s incredible! My two-year MA was $45,000. Even if – and I find this highly unlikely, I’ve never heard of an unemployed engineer – he doesn’t get into the engineering field per se, he’ll still have a degree in a respectable STEM field and will be much better off in the long run, no matter his career trajectory.

  • Reply Sean Vangill |

    The internet has created a lot of alternative job options. Think about it, 20 years ago for a kid to make as much as an adult they would have to be a child star. Nowadays if they have a blog that enough people engage in or a popular youtube channel they can make a living out of it. What’s great about these types of positions is that you can bring in expertise from previous jobs e.g. a cook might writer about recipes or do DIY meal videos. There are even simpler methods with passive income. I saw a recent article on ways to make money online that your husband should check out if he is looking for something new. http://fitsmallbusiness.com/how-to-make-money-online/

So, what do you think ?