People have wondered for decades whether it's more worthwhile to have a high-paying, stressful job or a more peaceful job with a smaller paycheck. One gives you better resources but less time or energy to enjoy them. The other offers you time to enjoy your hobbies but less capital to invest in them or in luxury. As a 20-something, which one would you choose?
1. Consider the Cost of Living
When you're making a difficult choice that would affect you long-term, consider other factors like the cost of living. For instance, will the lower-paying job still allow you to live comfortably, or will you be existing paycheck to paycheck? And beyond that: if you take a higher salary, will you be required to move somewhere with a much higher cost of living, which will essentially keep you paycheck to paycheck? It's important to ask those questions before you move across the country for a glamorous job that still barely pays the bills.
The key takeaway is that not all high incomes are beneficial, particularly when residing in a costly city like New York. Therefore, before accepting a new job, conducting some investigation is essential. Determine the typical expenses for housing, as well as basic items like food and attire, to make a more knowledgeable decision.
2. Stress-Free Salary
One user stated, “I've been working for 30-40% less than everyone else my entire career just so I can have a stress-free life with more time for family and have my weekends for me. Sure, I don't have a million-dollar nest egg or drive fancy cars and have a big house, but I'm [really] happy.”
Another person replied, “I used to work doubles all the time because I thought I needed to keep making money to finally get out of restaurant work. Did this throughout my entire 20s, I also had depression for 15 years. Found a restaurant where I can make a living only working 4 days a week, 25ish hours a week when I was 33. I'm almost 35 now, but my depression is gone, I have more time for my hobbies, and I'm happier than I've ever been. I cannot begin to stress how important a work-life balance is. I don't think I can ever go back to 5 days a week.”
Another commenter added, “This x100. All my friends that work a lot and make a lot of money have nothing to talk about when we hang out aside from how much they work.”
3. Prioritize Your Health
It’s true when they say, “Health is wealth.” Give it the priority, whether it’s about your physical or mental health. After all, you can’t enjoy all the money you’ve earned when you’re sick.
One person shared, “Your health and happiness is more important than money. You have all your life to work, OP. Don't listen to the ghouls, money will come and go, but your time is irreplaceable. Go and find happiness.”
4. Minimize Your Stress
For some people, money is everything. They'll do anything—even if it will cost their mental health—to build wealth as soon as possible. However, some people are against it.
One user said, “I had the most stressful job of my entire life at age 20. The lesson I learned from that is to aim for the least possible stress in any scenario that results with me getting what I want. From choosing the least stressful routes for my daily commute (as opposed to the fastest or shortest) to taking the jobs that would be easiest on my mental well-being and my family's health. I actively seek to put myself in less stressful situations. I'm 40 now, healthy, well-off, and with a happy family. Your mileage may vary.”
5. Cultural Environment Matters
Choosing between a high-salary job and a low-stress environment is not always enough. Sometimes, it's good to check on the culture of the place you're considering moving to. Are you moving from one large city to another? There may be a small change. Then again, if you're going from the East or West Coast to a large city in the Midwest, there may be some culture shock.
“I think quality of life matters a lot, but I would offer that culture is important as well. If you are going from Philly to Austin, ok, sure not a huge change. If you are going from NYC to Selma, Alabama you might notice your life is very different. The money is one factor, and lower stress is almost always good, but what you do every day with that free time is worth considering,” one commenter said.
6. Pay Cuts May Be Worth It
When you hear the word “pay cut,” people are usually reluctant to consider the job further. However, some people are giving up their current jobs with high paychecks for another job with 20-40% less than what they receive.
“I took a 45% pay cut at 31 from a 90-100k a year job to a 50k a year, and it was the best decision of my life. The work-life balance is much better. It's not commission-based, so the stress is so much lower. And with COVID happening, my position is now also 100% WFH,” one user stated.
7. Don’t Fall for Big Money
One user shared, “A lot of people fall into the trap of $$$ is what makes the job attractive. That shouldn’t be the case. For example, I work for a very popular entertainment company and could make anywhere from 25%-30% more at a different company. Though my quality of life would take a massive hit, the extra money is not worth it. I am currently on paternity leave at full salary for 6 months. That is huge. Not only that, but I get: Weekends off (rare in the entertainment world), unlimited vacation, work from home, learning or promotional opportunities, and great company culture. Those are priceless.”
Don’t just consider the large dollar signs; look at the other benefits as well. Your high salary may not be worth it if it takes a toll on your mental health.
8. Earn While You Can
While this might be a different take, some people would choose a high-paying job and hold on it to build wealth for retirement. Building wealth early means that you can take advantage of the power of compounding.
One person commented, “Nah lol. Get paid while you can, man. $30,000 today, minus 17% taxes, call it $25,000. You’re 27. Not that you’ll invest it, but let’s say you did. Expect 8% return on investments… round that down to 7.2%, where your money will double every 10 years. 40 years from now you’ll be at the retirement age. So double that $25,000 four times. 25… 50… 100… 200… $400,000. Every $30,000 you don’t make today is $400,000 you don’t have 40 years from now. Seems crazy, but that’s the math.”
9. Don't Jump at Every Glowing Offer
One person stated, “I will not tell you either way, but I will say that on the other side, a 15 to 30% raise for a stressful, high pressure, long hours job wouldn't get me to quit my current job of 14 years that has excellent life-work balance, decent benefits, I get to WFH and I get treated well and with respect and my input to the company matters. I don't get paid the very best, but I can afford my life, I have saving and retirement, and my stress in life isn't from work. I actually had to battle with this question when I got offered a job that was a pretty good pay raise but the reviews on the company really sounded like they ran you in to the ground and have a very high turnover. I opted to stay with my current company for less money but for more flexibility, respect, and job security.”
10. Acknowledge Your Own Burnout
Someone stated, “I burnt out at 26 and had to take a one-year hiatus where I moved back in with my parents and didn't work at all. The lesson I learned was that if you feel you might be burning out, then take the hit and recover before you have to take an even bigger hit.”
If you think you’ve been burned out from your previous job, take a rest. Spend more time by yourself and do your thing until you recover.
11. Life is Greater Than Money
One user shared, “Older guy here. I realized that more money doesn’t equate to my happiness when it comes to increased work demands. I could have moved up several notches at my job over the last 5 years and just chose not to. More responsibility and working longer hours will not make me happy. Life is short, man. Enjoy the ride.”
These 7 Celebrities are Genuinely Good People
We've all heard the famous adage that “no publicity is bad publicity,” and while it tends to be accurate, there are certainly exceptions. But what about those few stars who stay out of the limelight and get along without a hint of trouble?
These 10 Activities Are an Immediate Red Flag
Have you ever known someone and thought you liked them—until you learned about their hobbies? Then you get to know them and then you’re like, “Wow, red flag.” Well, you’re not alone.
Some celebrities definitely seem to enjoy the limelight and keep working to stay in the public eye. While others quickly move out of the spotlight. Many of these actors and actresses stepped out of the spotlight to live a more private life without constant media pressures.
We've all been there – sitting through a movie that we can't help but cringe at, but somehow it still manages to hold a special place in our hearts.
25 Blockbuster Films With Behind-The-Scenes Turmoil Unknown to the Public
Several big movies with significant nightmare productions have some seriously delicious tea. After a recent poll on the internet, here are twenty-five films with disasters that made filming difficult.