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Women, Can You Afford to Pause Your Career?

Jun 26, 2024 | Women

Women have more opportunities to excel in a workplace environment than ever before. However, the decision to pursue a career, possibly take a break, and re-enter the workforce continues to be challenging and complex. Before stepping back from your professional life, consider these factors and their possible short- and long-term implications.

Taking a Break

For many women, having a child is often the first time they need to choose between pursuing their career or stepping back. However, there are other life situations that can arise that cause you to reconsider your career. Taking time off to care for a family member, dealing with a health issue, or reassessing the type of work you’re doing may necessitate leaving the workplace behind temporarily or permanently.

Important Considerations

Before making any changes in your professional status, carefully consider the following:

Do the Math

  • If you stop working, do you have a supplemental source of income?
  • What effect will the loss of your income have on your personal or family’s budget and long-term goals?
    • Leaving the workforce means losing your salary, wage increases, 401(k) matches, retirement savings account contributions, and a portion of your future Social Security benefits.
    • Taking a break early in your career can have a drastic impact on your retirement savings because you’re not contributing to retirement savings plans or benefiting from investment growth.
    • Studies indicate that women who take a 5-year career break reduce their lifetime earnings by 19%. [1]
  • If leaving the workforce to care for your child, don’t assume that your loss in income will be offset by no longer having to pay for childcare expenses.
    • While you might forego daycare expenses when your child is young, preschool expenses (for socialization and education) are often incurred before kids enter kindergarten.
    • Use The Center for American Progress’s calculator to determine the cost of childcare vs. the long-term costs of leaving your job.
    • A mother who leaves her job can lose up to four times her annual salary each year of her career break. [2]

Future Salary Potential

If you are planning to pause work, you need to consider a number of career factors.

  • Will it be a short- or long-term break?
  • What is the likelihood that you can re-enter the field at your current level if you take 2, 5, or 10 years off?
  • What are the long-term implications for your salary and benefits potential?

A gap in your resume can raise questions for a future employer.  A cover letter can help to explain taking time off from your career.  However, employers might still debate your ability to return relative to retaining adequate and current professional knowledge, your commitment to returning to work, and other factors.

Stay Current

Re-entering the workforce will be easier if you have kept a foot in your professional field. Continue participating in professional associations, stay in touch with your colleagues, maintain necessary certifications, and stay relevant by continuing education, especially as it relates to technology. Professional social media platforms such as LinkedIn provide an opportunity for you to connect with possible mentors, job leads, and colleagues and establish yourself as a thought leader. [3]

SageVest Wealth Management appreciates the multitude of considerations women face relevant to life, career, financial choices, and planning needs. Presenting and analyzing different scenarios is part of our comprehensive true wealth management approach. Contact us today to learn how we can support you in reaching your life objectives.





Prepared by SageVest Wealth Management. Copyright .
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