Government Job vs. Private Sector: Weighing the Options!

  • This topic is empty.
Viewing 26 posts - 1 through 26 (of 26 total)
  • Author
  • #92482 Reply

      I’ve just received an offer for a government job. The pay is, however, significantly lower than what I am making now. Should I take a pay cut for stability?

      I’m a scientist with a Master’s degree, working in an industrial R&D lab. I make about $95k per year and spouse makes $80k per year. We moved to our current HCOL area and bought a home last year, mortgage balance is $710k, so we pay about $5500 per month (property tax included). $500 per month for 1 child’s after school care. No other debts. We are very new to FI so we only knew to put in the up-to-match amount in our 401(k) (14 years for me, 6 for spouse as his first few employee didn’t offered 401(k)) and max out our Roth IRAs for the past 3 years. I have $120k in retirement and he has $75k, so very little for our age (40 and 42). We have $80k in a HYSA and I was planning to take $30k out to invest in a brokerage account at the end of this month.

      My company has been laying off people every quarter in the last year. Company is mainly sustaining, not growing. With the current job market, I’m scared I won’t be able to land another job quickly if I got laid off to afford our current mortgage.

      The government job offers $76k per year. A $20k pay cut would not allow us to save any extra money for retirement after paying the bills. I believe CalPERS offers “2% at 62” but I’ve never had a government job to know what other benefits to take into consideration.

      What would you do? Thank you in advance for your thoughts and advice.

      #92483 Reply

        Consider selling the house, you shouldn’t spend more than 2-2.5X gross income (175k X 2). I would seriously consider selling and down sizing.

        #92484 Reply

          I mean this in the nicest way, but you cannot afford the home you live in.

          Can you sell and then rent? Downsize to something smaller? Move to a different, lower cost neighborhood?

          #92485 Reply

            Scientist with MS in industry should be making more than 95k with 15+ YoE, especially if in HCOL. Time to hop friend. Good luck!

            #92486 Reply

              When people ask if they should do option a or b, they tend to forget about the rest of the alphabet. Why not choose a job with better pay AND stability?

              #92487 Reply

                I really don’t think you can afford your home now and I would be very concerned about a pay decrease with your current housing costs.

                Though, I do think considering the job change is beneficial for security.

                But only if you are able to get out from under that mortgage.

                Also, check out: MFT Masters Debt: Keep job, cut expenses, optimize aid for better future?

                #92488 Reply

                  Your mortgage is high! Chances are that mortgage payment will go up due to taxes and insurance! Someone will need to increase their salary or take a 2nd part time job!

                  Truthfully, I’m surprised y’all were approved for that mortgage!

                  #92489 Reply

                    Don’t forget to count all your benefits from you benefit package at each job when you compare compensation rates.

                    I was once offered a job that was a 12k raise, but once I factored in benefits (I was already in a government job) it was actually a cut.

                    #92490 Reply

                      Federal, state or local gov’t? If federal, consider TSP (aka 401k) matching, job trajectory/growth potential, possibility of PSLF if you have student loans, educational opportunities if you’re interested in further education, job stability, work-life balance & amount of leave you will earn. Also personal satisfaction in knowing what you do is important & meaningful (I’m a federal employee in the Air Force & proud of what I do).

                      If you’d be working Dept of Defense and on a base or post, there are lots of neat opportunities on those facilities (library, auto shop, tickets & travel office, commissary, outdoor recreation & equipment rentals,etc).

                      #92491 Reply

                        I’d struggle taking a 20k paycut with that mortgage. I feel like you’re already stretched thin.

                        I do think it’s worth asking about the pay increases and I don’t know how state jobs worth but federal govt used to be with x amount of years in you could retire at 55 and get health benefits for life which is huge if you are able to achieve FI and not have to worry as much about medical expenses. But unless your house payment could decrease or the govt salary increases quickly I wouldn’t want to do it.

                        & Don’t miss: How long do you wait to job hop seeking better opportunities? What do you factor in when making that decision?

                        #92492 Reply

                          Take into account the fact that after working a certain number of years you will have access to good health insurance for life, also possibly a pension. This could reduce your fi number.

                          One of my parents worked a federal job for 15 years and this boosted her retirement a lot, it is also part of her retirement that will not be affected by the economy (for better or worse) but it is nice to have that balance.

                          The stability with a federal job is huge also….

                          #92493 Reply

                            I can’t afford that mortgage and you make way less than me. That’s insane. #1— downsize home

                            #92494 Reply

                              If I knew my company is dropping folks consistently, I would jump on the Govt job, unless you are irreplaceable.

                              You are already in a tight situation and if you get laid off your situation will turn worse.

                              #92495 Reply

                                Government job has a pension, so not contributing to a retirement for a couple of years is ok. Just try and start back up when you’ve readjusted to your new salary.

                                #92496 Reply

                                  Is there an area of your house that is or could easily be converted into a granny flat? A livable basement?

                                  At least one set of parents could move in with you, possibly sell their home and contribute to your monthly housing expenses?

                                  Also, if they need to move into a care home in future, that may benefit them when it comes to Medicare looking back to sold assets.

                                  Have you seen: Accountants/CPAs: Share your experience, salary range, and job satisfaction?

                                  #92497 Reply

                                    Not to dog pile but that mortgage would keep me up at night. I don’t think you can take the pay cut and reasonably expect to pay all your living expenses.

                                    Probably just have to stick it out in your current job and start working on gaining more skills to try and increase your income.

                                    #92498 Reply

                                      I work for the Federal Government and I can tell you that the benefits are OUTSTANDING! Especially when it comes to health insurance. We get health insurance even after retirement which is unheard of and there are 30 plans to choose from!!

                                      I would easily take this job over any other for the benefits and job stability.

                                      #92499 Reply

                                        Is that mortgage a 15 year? Not sure what interest rate you have but maybe refinance to a 30 year if you don’t want to move.

                                        Any chance you could negotiate your own layoff and get a severance? Possibly that you’ll raise your hand if they need to cut more people?

                                        #92500 Reply

                                          Have you compared benefit packages? I know when I worked for the state the benefit difference alone was 20k easily.

                                          I had pension, my healthcare costs were very very low compared to comparable jobs, I got more vacation (plus sick and holiday) and flexibility with state too.

                                          Worth a look: Just started a new job and the 401k doesn’t have a small cap value fund… but I can invest in ARKK!

                                          #92501 Reply

                                            Can you rent a bedroom or covert the garage into a private room and rent it out to help with the 20K pay cut.

                                            #92502 Reply

                                              Normally govt jobs have a step pay schedule and also a general wage increase. Ask how increases are given. It’s more of a stable option. -current govt ee

                                              #92503 Reply

                                                I would go federal if you are worried about layoffs. You get step 1-10 with pay increases as well as your cost of living increases each year. If it’s a ladder opportunity you would also go up higher in pay.

                                                Plus, a retirement pension that helps a little if you stay for a long time.

                                                Would agree with others that house is too much.

                                                #92504 Reply

                                                  5500 made my stomach drop. Our mortgage is 1100 and our salaries are higher than yours. I’d move..

                                                  #92505 Reply

                                                    Is this a state government or federal government position? If federal, you can request to have your current pay taken into consideration and used to get you to a higher pay. I’d ask either way if it’s an option. You’d have to provide current pay stubs showing what you make.

                                                    #92506 Reply

                                                      I would never take a $20k pay cut. Find something else.

                                                      Secondly, save drastically now. You have $3000. That’s a lot. Live frugally- on less than $1000? Save $2000 a month as long as you have this job.

                                                      If interest rates go down, refinance your house with this savings.

                                                      Thirdly, I read about a family that did special house hacking. They rented their home out AirBnB. The family stayed in a hotel during that time. Large homes in HCOL can be $500+ a night. Stay in a hotel for the weekend and rent your home out. There are some tricks- use a major closet for personal belongings and lock it when you are gone.

                                                      #92507 Reply

                                                        You are house poor. Taking a pay cut will make you house broke.

                                                      Viewing 26 posts - 1 through 26 (of 26 total)
                                                      Reply To: Government Job vs. Private Sector: Weighing the Options!
                                                      Your information:

                                                      Spread the love