(Long) FTM debating leave of absence, insurance and pay — The Bump
Stay at Home Moms

(Long) FTM debating leave of absence, insurance and pay

ladyteach0505ladyteach0505 member
edited January 2015 in Stay at Home Moms
I am looking for advice.

I am a FTM who is a teacher making a decent salary with excellent benefits. We live an hour from any family and the family we have is not able to be involved in childcare if we lived closer anyway.

My income matches DH's but his insurance is terribly more expensive than mine, so we've always been on mine. (Think 250 extra a month premium and 10,000 more a year for out of pocket cap.). Our salaries combined are healthy after taxes, but individually are very tight for Midwest living.

I never considered wanting to take a year leave of absence until we went through infertility and IVF but now it's a constant desire. I crunch the numbers every day to try to see if there's something I'm missing that can be cut out. The reality is this: we can pay next year's bills on EXACTLY what DH makes. Anything more will require dipping into the emergency fund.

So we've been trying to bank my paychecks and see what the day to day looks like on DH's salary. Predictably, life happened and this month we had a 900 plumbing expense- which was actually less than it would have been because DH did all the work himself. That of course came from the emergency fund.

Financially it doesn't make sense for me to quit becAuse my salary more than covers the cost of daycare. Some days I can reconcile myself to the idea of this. Other days, like when I've had spotting scares, it's all I can do to beg God to let money be the biggest of my worries and I'm right back in SAHM mode.

If I take a LOA I am supposed to be guaranteed A job but not necessarily MY job. So that's another thing I've considered. But always on the flip side of that is what is staying at home worth to me to be with her next year?

If I had a local care option I could probably sub a day or two a week at a neighboring district but it would have to be free or it would negate the point of subbing at all.

I've also debated pulling money from savings to pay off the last of our student loans and free up monthly bill money but then I worry about having a depleted account in case of emergency like medical expenses.

You can probably tell from reAding this that, financially, the obvious answer is working. But my heart is just torn about finding a way to make this work.

I know it's a long post but I wanted to give enough info to hopefully paint a clear picture. Any ideas or insight?

Re: (Long) FTM debating leave of absence, insurance and pay

  • Sounds like you can't afford to stay home. Your best bet is to pay off your student loans and then stay home.
  • Does your school have any part time options? I am a teacher, and my school allowed me to go part time this year. I was able to keep my insurance. Half my take home pay goes to daycare, but it has kept my foot in the door and provided the benefits. I am in a private school that I want LO to attend when he is two. I work 12:30-3 and I get paid for one planning period at home. It has been the best of both worlds for me!
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  • That's tremendous! I student taught in a Catholic school and I sometimes kick myself for not having the wherewithal to choose a private school at the beginning of my career. Unfortunately my public district doesn't offer part time in my field- only the arts.

    I've also thought about online teaching But it seems to be becoming a glutted market.
  • edited January 2015
    Honestly, it doesn't sound like you can afford to SAH. I agree to continue to work and pay down your loans.

    When I had DD1, I really wanted to be at home, but with DH's law school loans and a mortgage that wasn't cheap, we just couldn't make it work. So, I continued to work FT. We eventually had DD2 and decided that we could make it work if we sold our house and got a house that came with a lower mortgage. It wasn't until DD2 was 9 months old that we sold our house and I became a SAHM.

    Nothing says that in a year or two you might be able to make it work, but for the short term I agree to maybe pay off some loans and re evaluate after a year or so. It just sounds too risky if DHs salary would be enough to just cover basic bills IMO
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  • ladyteach0505ladyteach0505 member
    edited January 2015
    Good points. :(

    I suppose I know I'll probably never be able to fully quit, so I was thinking about doing a LOA since it'll probably be the only time I can walk away from work and go back to a job. Teaching is so hard to leave and come back to in terms of being hired.

    I keep debating if paying off the loans will free up enough to make it feel less tight. That would be the last of our debt, which would be awesome.

  • IMO - financially banking your income, paying off any/all debts, and using it only for emergencies and some day to day living expenses/incidentals is just simply good for your long-term financial management so that you can do things like go to Disney or family vacations of your choosing when you have breaks, that you can afford the Prom Dress/tux, but also retirement(!!!) that you can afford the life you want for the long-term instead of narrowly scraping by.  Emergencies happen - especially when kids are added to the dynamic.  Daycare is not the end of the world even though it's expensive, but so is raising kids in general.  I've got many friends who are teachers with kids and it's a workable partnership.  Some districts even provide a stipend to teachers to use the school's pre-school as a benefit.  Kids are expensive!  Granted, not a single person would say they aren't worth it, but it all adds up (shoes, wardrobes that can change multiple times some years because they're constantly growing, diapers, food, formula, coloring books, etc. - it nickels and dimes into a LOT!)

    IMO, you've got a wonderful career, you're in a good spot, stick with maternity leave which tends to be generous in schools, and save the LOA, but stay there teaching in the awesome position you've got because like you said, A job doesn't mean THE job you have now!

    This was our experience on the other side, DD had a teacher who took an entire year off for maternity leave (private school so a little more flexible about holding the job).  The teacher was still "checked out" to the point that she just wasn't in the classroom, she was pining to be home instead of back teaching.  We pretty much wrote off that school year for DD because she just couldn't connect (things that should have been nipped in the bud in school back then, but weren't which led to longer term problems)...  

    Ultimately, only you know your situation and all the in's and outs.  Financially speaking you've got a career that's not as easy to walk away from then years from now come back to as though nothing has changed.  While they're only little for a while, it's about quality time, not quantity. 

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  • I'm going to go against the grain a smidge here. 

    Have you considered using your savings to pay off your student loans now, while you're still working, and then aggressively saving until you "pay back" what you took out? I don't know when you're due so I don't know how much time you have or how much that monthly expense is, but it might be an option for you. 

    But only having enough money for your known expenses is not a comfortable situation to be in- like you said, life happens. 
  • I am also a teacher in the Midwest, and I took a 2 year LOA, returning to a teaching position this year. A few thoughts:

    1. You are not in a good financial spot right now. My DH makes significantly more more than I do, but even with that, we hit a couple of times during my two years when things were extra tight, and it was not fun. In fact, it was scary at times. I can't imagine going into it knowing that anything out of the ordinary would have you dipping into emergency funds. It just doesn't sound like it's the right time.

    2. I'm on mobile, so correct me if I'm wrong, but you are pregnant with your first child, right? I know the thought of finding child care is daunting and scary, and can make many women say they'd just rather stay home. But, at this point, you really don't know if you want to stay home. A lot of women think they want to, but then when they do, it is nothing like what they thought. Since you are a teacher, you are lucky to be able to try it for a few months in the summer. I personally wouldn't take a LOA right now. Have the baby, finish out the school year if you have to (don't know when you are due), enjoy the summer, and work next year knowing that if finances are right and you still really want to stay home, you can take a LOA the following year.

    FWIW, I thought I'd love staying home. And I did for awhile. But by the end of my first year home, I really missed teaching. I had some regrets about requesting the second year. I am back at work now, and I know that being a working mom is right for me at this time. You may still find that you want to stay home, but it's possible you will find that you prefer working, too. Both choices are perfectly acceptable.
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  • Do you know what your insurance payments will be during your long term leave? I took a year of unpaid leave from my teaching position for both of my daughters and I had to pay the full amount for my family plan instead of just my premium once I was past the standard FMLA time frame. So my $180 per month deduction went to $1,500 a month that we had to write a check for every single month. We could afford it so we did that (DH owns his own business so no insurance) but it was still painful to write that check every month without my income coming in.

    Definitely check into that before you go any further in the process. I thought that was standard but maybe other districts pay their share of your insurance while you are on long term leave but I wouldn't think so.
  • ladyteach0505ladyteach0505 member
    edited January 2015
    Good question. We definitely can't afford teacher insurance so we'd go on my husband's. The premium is just under 400 a month vs the 100ish we pay now. Then the big difference Is the out of pocket max on his. But still more affordable than teacher ins

    @LauraChicago‌ did you do anything else to prepare for it?
  • When is your baby due? 

    I ask because my son was born at the end of the December so I got 6 weeks paid leave w/insurance, then up to 18 weeks of my insurance for FMLA (I only had to pay what would have been taken out of my check, about 200). So I basically I only had to find new insurance for about a month of two because then I was into the summer and our new insurance begins July 1st. 

    I ended up going back that year full time after being home for about 8 months, mostly for the insurance. It went ok, it was hard but I just counted the time before the next break so it got me through. This year I fought to job share with another teacher and it is going great! I work W, TH, F and I still get my insurance (the other teacher works M,Tu, W and is on her H's). It has been such a great balance.

    It seems like financially it is tight for you without knowing the specifics of your emergency fund/savings but I totally get your reservation because at my school your LOA has to be tied to a maternity leave, so if you go back after maternity leave you can't change your mind without losing your job. Best of luck! 
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  • I'm currently in this same boat so I feel your pain. I am not a teacher, I work in human services and the insurance is not an issue for us as we use DH's but we are realizing that the cost of daycare for our toddler and this new guy is almost not worth having me work.

    It's definitely become a numbers game & we have made many a pro's & con's list to try and make this decision. For us, we know that it will not be financially possible for me not to work at all but I have a few different options that will allow for very limited hours and fill the gap of what we would lose after paying a daycare bill.

    I wish I could give more help here, it sounds like you REALLY would love to stay home so deep down inside I'm hoping you can find a way to make that happen but no decision can ever be an easy one, of course! Good luck to you!

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