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work-life balance

The Work-life balance: How much money is too much?

Authored by Phil Meekin

Phil Meekin

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Approximate read time: 4 minutes

Have you ever dreamed of earning considerably more money than you do? In today’s society of relatively low disposable income levels, it is reasonable to assume that most would answer this question with a resounding ‘YES!’

However, dreams of multiplying one’s income to the level of our dreams can often clash with the reality of how this is achieved. Is the extra work and responsibility associated with a higher income always worth it? Or does this reach a point where the freedom of a few extra quid in the bank is outweighed by the strenuous nature of the job behind it?

Is earning more money always worth the extra work?

Is there such a thing as earning too much money when you consider the sacrifices required to achieve this? Thanks to recent research carried out by dairy brand, Anchor Cheddar, it seems there is. Their research findings suggest a figure of £37,000 per annum to be the tipping point for high earning individuals. This is the point which sacrifices required to earn a specific salary overwhelm the benefits of having additional income. All this creates an imbalanced lifestyle that can potentially threaten your health and personal relationships.

The study investigated money as the primary motivation to work, seeking to explore factors that alter our perception of earnings. According to Lucie Illingworth, Senior Brand Manager for Anchor Cheddar, there is a limit on the sacrifices we will make for an income. She said; “While money is one of the main reasons we go to work, it seems there is a limit on how much we are prepared to earn if it is going to affect our lives in other ways”.

This may surprise those with lower incomes, while high earners usually understand the demands and responsibilities of vast paycheques. In fact, almost two-thirds of survey respondents admitted considering a pay cut or demotion to enjoy a more fulfilling home life. While only one in ten claimed that money could buy them happiness.

Beyond the Tipping point: How to achieve the ideal work-life balance

The survey reaffirms an age-old lesson to strike a balance between career progression and enjoying a rich, diverse life. Although fine in theory, the key is to determine practical steps to achieve that delicate and precarious balance. Using the salary of £37,000 as a reference, is it possible to manage professional careers optimising earning potential without destabilising our personal lives?

Here are three tips that may help: –

  1. Reduce your Expenditure
    A good practice to develop when attempting to make your salary go further is to reduce unnecessary expenditure, therefore freeing up as much disposable income as possible. Targeting ‘optional’ expenses such as entertainment, eating out, luxury products, and exploring alternative providers for services such as broadband, phone, and insurance, are popular ways of reducing expenditure where it isn’t strictly necessary. Avoiding some of these luxuries, without compromising too much on the quality of your personal life, can also be a good tool for managing your credit card expenditure.
  2. Create a working schedule that suits your lifestyle
    The British Government will make final amendments to its flexible working directive in 2017. This will compel employers to consider all requests for flexible working hours. This is a huge breakthrough for the modern employee, who can now create a working schedule for a productive work-life balance. This will enable you to tailor your schedule to meet your needs, without sacrificing your salary.
  3. Market your skills as a freelancer
    From the perspective of career progression, it may be worth considering becoming a freelancer. Marketable skills, like content creation and website development, are in high demand in the freelance market, offering a unique opportunity to work independently. On average, freelancers are paid more per hour than nine-to-five employees, making it possible to earn greater levels of income while maintaining a desirable work-life balance.

In Summary

Many of us see higher income as the main goal in our working lives. However, we don’t often consider the sacrifices we have to make to our personal lives, when considering the demands of higher-income roles.

Research recently carried out by dairy brand Anchor Cheddar suggests a figure of £37,000 per annum before the demands of the job outweigh the value of a pay-rise. But perhaps the focus should rather be on tactics to free up income. Tactically shopping, comparing premiums when choosing insurance, telephone and energy tariffs. Try exploring the possibility of flexible working, or marketing your skills as a freelancer, finding more hours in the day for yourself.

So, consider this: Is the financial freedom of extra disposable income always worth the sacrifices to your lifestyle? Is earning more the only way to feel satisfied by your career, or can you, by making active changes to your spending/work-life-balance, increase this satisfaction more effectively?

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