Careers

Prioritizing family over your career may be good for your paycheck

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It’s the million-dollar question: How much of your personal life should you sacrifice for the sake of your salary?

Well, perhaps less than you might think, according to new research suggesting that those who prioritize their family earn more on average than those who put career front and center.

In a survey of 1,015 U.S. employees aged 13 to 73, financial advice site CreditLoan found that those who put family and children as their top priority earned on average $8,714 more per year than those who ranked their jobs first.

Across genders and age brackets, the benefits of striking that elusive balance between work and family appeared to ring true. For millennials specifically, the monetary benefits worked out as around $4,000 more per year, while for Generation Xers — those aged 38 to 53 — it was closer to $8,000.

While familial prioritization correlated with a higher salary, it is possible that some of the findings simply demonstrated that people with higher salaries felt more comfortable prioritizing family.

Still, according to CreditLoan's creative director, Corrie Colliton, who conducted the research, the findings indicate that it's possible to take a balanced approach to life's demands without damaging your career progression.

CreditLoan

"Life without balance leads to burnout. If you're living for your career alone, you miss out on fulfilling relationships and hobbies, and your health can even fall by the wayside," Colliton told CNBC Make It.

"By prioritizing your health and the people who love and support you, you may be more likely to flourish in every area of life. You may feel more refreshed, confident, and present when you're actually at work."

As could be expected given gender pay gap issues, the positive correlation between family prioritization and salary was most pronounced for men. Male respondents who said they ranked children as their top priority earned a significant $15,975 more than those who said they put their careers on top. Indeed, career ranked as the fifth most important priority for men amid a list of nine interests, including fitness, financial independence and friendship.

Meanwhile, women who said they put family first earned an average of just $1,453 more than those who said their career was their greatest priority. That reflects previous research suggesting each child a woman has takes off around 4 percent from her hourly wages.

CreditLoan

That said, CreditLoan's study also pointed to a greater willingness among women to cut their paycheck for the sake of other life interests. Female respondents said they would be willing to take a 20.1 percent pay cut for the sake of children — that compares to the 12 percent proffered by men.

Another result of the study indicated that other kinds of priorities may be tied to your salary.

Those who said they put fun at the top of their list, the study found, earned significantly less than those who chose more relationship-based alternatives. For women, preferring fun worked out as a notable $11,341 salary downgrade, while for men it was a staggering $27,159.

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