Workers Choose Family Time Over Raises

Workers Choose Family Time Over Raises

This post originally appeared on MainStreet.

December is not only the last month on the calendar; it’s also a month where many Americans reflect upon the year that’s on the way out and make some hard decisions about work, life, family and finances that they’ll put in place early next year.

The Keep Good Going Report from New York Life offers some clarity to the annual year-end soul-searching and self-reflection from Main Street Americans, and even a glimpse of how Americans “grade” themselves on key family and finance issues going into 2013.


Get started with a free financial assessment.

The study starts with a fairly startling premise–that “very few” Americans would trade time off with family for a 50% raise in annual income. The wide-ranging study of more than 2,000 Americans also says that, despite tough economic times and lots of hand-wringing over debt and income, Americans still believe they’re doing well in one critical area: their family life.

While 71% of Americans would “be happier” with more money, that doesn’t mean they’re willing to trade family time with a big raise in pay, the study says. When asked what they would exchange for a 50% pay increase, they gave responses that tell a lot about how much U.S. adults value their family life:

What percentage of Americans would take a 50% pay increase in exchange for ...

  • Time with children: 11%
  • Time with spouse or partner: 20%
  • More sleep every night: 33%
  • Vacation time: 35%
  • Activities or hobbies: 43%
  • Time with friends: 45%
  • Evenings off from work: 54%

“Despite the impact of a tough economic environment and people's conviction that life would be easier with more money, a 50% pay raise still didn’t move the needle when it came to cutting down on time spent with family – children and spouses. This is very telling about what Americans value,” says Liz McCarthy, director of corporate communications at New York Life.

The study also allows Americans to “grade” themselves on various aspects of their lives, including family, personal life, work and community. According to New York Life, Americans give themselves the equivalent of a “B-plus” across all four categories.

Relationships with their children earn the highest marks, with a B-plus from the study. But marriage health only earned a B-minus, as does “providing a good life for your family.”

Spirituality earns a D-plus from survey respondents, while “being patriotic” only garners a C-minus. Yet Americans still believe they are good to their fellow human, and that they possess healthy levels of integrity (a B-plus on both fronts).

Americans prove to be tough self-graders in two key areas–earning a D in “achieving financial success” and an F in “participating in community events.”

That may explain why so many Americans are turning to the family cocoon to gain fulfillment out of life. Increasingly, they’re not fulfilled at church, at work, at the bank or in the community.

More From MainStreet

5 Things Not to Buy for Your Kid
How to Make Moving Houses Easier On Your Family
Need a Parental Loan? Ask Dad First 


Financial planning made simple.

Get your free financial assessment.

Related Tags

Get the latest in your inbox.

Subscription failed!

You're Now Subscribed!