A senior mother and adult daughter posing together for a portrait A senior mother and adult daughter posing together for a portrait

Is Leaving a Job to Be a Full-Time Caregiver The Right Choice?

Emily felt like she was one of the working moms who “had it all,” skillfully juggling her demanding job in the legal department of a large corporation while raising two busy children. And then, her mother suffered a debilitating fall. Emily found herself suddenly weighing her career goals against the needs of an ailing family member. As an only child, could she keep up with her job and take care of her mother?

Unfortunately, Emily’s story is not unique. An estimated 22 to 26 million Americans provide some form of care for a loved one. And 60% of those family caregivers continue to work part-time or full-time jobs. According to the AARP, family caregivers provided 36 billion hours of (largely unpaid) care in 2021, at an estimated value of $600 billion.

Between work, caregiving, and other family duties, family caregivers can feel stretched thin. We know that providing care for a loved one is often a physically and emotionally draining task. So it’s no wonder that some caregivers might consider quitting work outside the home to become a full-time caregiver. Research tells us that as many as 8% of family caregivers who are employed drop out of the traditional labor force in their first year of caregiving.

Quitting a job to become a family caregiver can have significant long-term financial consequences. It’s essential to carefully consider these potential impacts before making the decision. Some of the key long-term financial consequences include:

Loss of income: The most immediate impact is the loss of regular income from the job. This loss can significantly affect your ability to cover daily living expenses, pay bills, and maintain your lifestyle.

Impact on retirement savings: Quitting a job means no further contributions to retirement savings accounts such as 401(k)s. Over time, this can result in a substantial reduction in retirement funds and potential long-term financial security during retirement.

Career progression: Leaving the workforce interrupts your career progression. Depending on the length of time you’re out of the job market, it may be challenging to re-enter at the same level or salary you had previously. This can limit your earning potential in the future. Even if you stay in the job, will caregiving require that you pass up opportunities for promotions?

Healthcare costs: If your job provided health insurance, quitting may mean losing that coverage. You may need to find alternative healthcare options, which can be expensive, especially if it is your spouse or a dependent that you are caring for and they have significant medical needs.

Dependence on family resources: In some cases, family caregivers may need financial support from other family members to cover their expenses. This reliance on others may cause strain in family dynamics and lead to financial instability.

Future employment opportunities: Returning to the workforce after an extended absence can be challenging. Gaps in employment history may raise concerns for potential employers, affecting job prospects and future income potential.

To mitigate the long-term financial consequences, consider exploring alternative caregiving arrangements, such as part-time work or flexible employment options that allow you to balance caregiving responsibilities and income generation. Additionally, consult with a financial advisor to discuss potential strategies to preserve your financial well-being during the caregiving period and plan for your long-term financial security.

Need help right now? Call us anytime at

(360) 392-3934

Need help right now? Call us anytime at

(360) 392-3934