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Tough Choices

There are endless decisions to make when faced with the declining health of a parent or loved one.  How much care do they need?  Can they remain in their home?  Should you bring in outside help or try to do it all yourself?  If you work full-time, you may be struggling to decide if you should go part-time or even quit your job completely.  There are a number of things to consider before taking this step, including your own financial future.

The financial implications of quitting your job are far reaching.  Perhaps your family can live without your paycheck right now, but what if you are needed as a caregiver for longer than you anticipate?  It is important to consider the potential difficulty you might face re-entering the workforce down the road, as well as the hit your retirement savings will take because you (and possibly your company) are no longer contributing to your 401k.

There are personal considerations to take into account as well.  You may feel that it is your duty or obligation to stay home and care for your loved one.  But will you be able to handle the emotional and physical strain of caregiving?  You might miss the challenge of your career and social interaction you had with your colleagues, and if you give it up to become a caregiver you might end up resenting your loved one.  Not everyone is cut out to be a caregiver, and it is only fair to yourself and your family to decide how much of a role you can play.

Perhaps you decide you want to be home with your loved one as much as possible, but that you will regret it (financially or otherwise) if you leave your job.  Consider negotiating a more flexible schedule where you can work from home a few days a week or even go part-time.  Bring in help from a trustworthy company for those days you cannot be there with your loved one.  Unfortunately there is no right answer for everyone, and it is best to look at your particular circumstances and choose the path that makes sense for you and your family.