Why I’ll Never Quit My Day Job

by Erika Torres

Happy young businesswoman relaxing on chairIt’s something that happens rather frequently in the personal finance blog community: Millennials quitting their jobs and pursuing their dreams of working for themselves as freelancers and entrepreneurs.

Budgeting in the Fun Stuff did it. Making Sense of Cents did it. Club Thrifty did it too. And Common Sense Millenial is the newest one to join the ranks.

They all make decent incomes on their own too. Budgeting in the Fun Stuff often reports monthly income ranging from $7,000-$13,000 (I know she’s had some higher months too). Making Sense of Cents reported almost $12k in May.

It’s wonderful to see bloggers strike it out on their own and manage to do it successfully. And when I reported my $20k+ in side hustle income last year, a frequent question was: SO when are you going to quit your job?

But the thing is, I have no intention of quitting my job to make money online. I actually plan on staying here until I retire.

I know, I know, call me stupid.

Here are some of the reasons (in no particular order) as to why I’ll never quit my day job:

Steady Paycheck

I crave stability–and it doesn’t get any more stable than having a steady (decently sized) paycheck every month. The financial fluctuations of a freelance career would drive me nuts.

It may sound lame, but I love having a biweekly paycheck, knowing exactly how much I’ll be getting every two weeks. If I were to freelance full-time, the happiness of having so much freedom would be easily overshadowed by my worries over whether I’d earn enough, if I was working hard enough, if I needed to secure more clients…

Job Security

I know that no job is ever 100% secure, but as far as job security goes, I’m in a job that’s as stable as it can get. I work for a water utility, and people will ALWAYS need water.

Furthermore, I think you could probably count on one hand the number of people that have been let go at my company since its inception… and that was most likely because they did really bad stuff.

When I worked in journalism, I was frequently worried about being laid off. Blogging and online freelancing–I don’t know how long it will last.

But hey, I know that EVERYBODY needs water.


One of the benefits of my job is a pension. Ever wonder why I rarely talk about retirement?

It’s because Eric and I have got that pretty much covered since we both have pensions.

Eric’s retirement formula is 3% at 50 and mine is 2.5% at 55. This means that for every year I work, I receive 2.5% of my annual salary (based on the amount I earn when I retire, so I’m 99% sure I’ll be earning more when I retire than what I’m making right now).

Let’s say I work 30 years, that means I can retire at 57 and I can expect 75% of my annual salary every year for the rest of my life. Plus medical.

If Eric retires at 55, he’ll also earn 75% of his salary annually.

And this doesn’t include the separate income we’re putting into 401K and Roth IRAs.

So not only do we get to retire earlier than the national average, but we’ll also be pretty set financially. Tell me a freelance career that will give you that.

Medical, Taxes, Benefits

When you combine my salary with my retirement benefits, and my medical benefits, and the taxes that would need to be taken out as a freelancer–I would have to be making serious dough every month to earn what I’m earning now.

As a freelancer, I would have to pay everything out of pocket and that could eat up a huge portion of my income.

Job Satisfaction

I’ve always said that I don’t love my job.

But you know what? I really like my job.

I have different enough assignments that it keeps me sharp and engaged. I like the human interaction (on most days). And I love having every other Friday off.

Are there other things I wish I could change? Of course.

In fact, I totally wish we had more flexibility with our work schedule and had a work-from-home option. That is one of the major benefits of being a freelancer.

But in the end, I think my reasons for sticking with my job happily outweigh the lure of being a freelancer.

For now, the side hustle will continue to be a means for us to save for our down payment.

Would you ever quit your day job?

Edited to add: I want to say that I completely admire and am completely jealous of people who are actually able to quit their jobs and work for themselves. The flexibility of it is SO enticing and I’m sure incredibly rewarding. However, I know that for me and based on my personality, all my worries would outweigh the positives. 


wealthwayonline@gmail.com July 8, 2014 - 6:10 pm

I didn’t really have a job when I started working online (nomadic traveller) but I think I could probably never go back to working for someone else. Although you have a LOT of perks, for me the freedom of being about to move around, work when I want and be directly responsible for my own income is a huge bonus… Would you still work at your job if you were earning $200k on the site?

Little House June 11, 2014 - 10:42 am

I also love my job and probably won’t quit early. I’m a teacher and also have a pension built into my career. I feel I get plenty of vacation time (I mean, come on – summers off, 3 week winter break, holidays, spring break etc.) which gives me time to work on side projects, take vacations, visit with family, etc. It’s the perfect job for me. 🙂

Amy @ Army Amy June 9, 2014 - 6:47 am

Back in January I switched from a full time job to part time, so I used the extra time I had on my hands to focus on freelancing. (My dream was that if I made enough freelancing, I could eventually quit the part time gig.) I’ve been surprised to find that I don’t love it as much as I thought I would! I’m bored and it’s kind of lonely. (Apparently even though I’m an introvert, I miss having coworkers). I also found that the effort to enjoyment ratio wasn’t what I would want for a full time career.

I also agree with you about the long-term prospects of blogging. A lot of the bloggers I read (mostly healthy living bloggers), have gone back to work (after quitting to exclusively blog) in the last year. I think there will always be money to be made online. but not necessarily as a blogger.

Lisa E. @ Lisa vs. the Loans June 6, 2014 - 12:54 pm

I see the pros and cons of both sides, which is why I’m still very much on the fence about this. Another thing I would miss if I were to step away from my job are the awesome benefits. My employer contributes free money into my HSA and would hate to see that money go away.

Tre June 6, 2014 - 9:22 am

I think there are a lot of people that prefer the stability of a job. Although it’s nice to dream about the freedom of working for yourself.

Jessica June 6, 2014 - 8:18 am

I read a lot of personal finance blogs but I have to say it is SO refreshing to hear someone say they wouldn’t leave their day job. I wouldn’t stop working in my day job either because of the same reason-stability, benefits,taxes etc. So sometimes finding all these personal finance blogs where they are freelancers I feel I can’t fully relate– glad to see it’s not the case here! lol

Tonya@Budget and the Beach June 6, 2014 - 6:55 am

That is totally valid and great reasons, and I wouldn’t have quit my full time job either back in 2008 but I was laid off and no one was hiring, so it was sink or swim. I’m actually looking for full time work. I said this before commenting on other posts like this, but the ones who are the most satisfied with their decisions to freelance have a spouse with a steady job, or some other kind of fall back plan. It’s very stressful when it’s just you and if work doesn’t come in, you have to find a way to survive. If you are content at full time work, that’s awesome!! 🙂

Crystal June 5, 2014 - 8:37 pm

You’ll never hear me saying that entrepreneurship is for everyone. If I had a job that was paying me more than $60k a year with full benefits and a pension after 20-30 years, I don’t think I would have left. But I was working for $35k a year, just okay benefits, and no pension…taking the leap when I was already making $3000+ a month online wasn’t a hard choice. 🙂 And the flexibility is awesome, BUT I don’t really get many true vacation days where I don’t have to at least check in and answer the super important stuff. We take about 20 days a year completely off (and I’m including weekends) and that’s just because internet on cruises and convention hotels is too expensive. 😉 Saturdays and Sundays are working days too for me…

Practical Cents June 5, 2014 - 1:14 pm

You have such a great deal with that pension. I would not be leaving either. It is definitely a rare thing. My husband has a pension from work and just recently they gave him a break down of what he would receive at retirement and he was shocked at how much it was. He has to stay until 65 though.

anna June 5, 2014 - 12:12 pm

I’m pretty grateful for my job for all the reasons you listed. I admire entrepreneurs and freelancers, but for me I’m pretty happy with the stability and perks of my day job.

Tanner June 5, 2014 - 11:47 am

Sure, on a bad day, or even on a less than normal day, I wish I didn’t have to spend 8hrs a day, 5 days a week for 50 weeks of the year (ignoring “working” holidays). But no, I wouldn’t quit my day job either. Not this current job, which I would leave, but wherever I end up later on. I’m in the HR business, which is a bit of a passion (what I really want to do is training and developing of employees), so I think I’d enjoy it once I get there.

Can I say I am absolutely jealous of you, though? Ha! Nobody ever hears of pensions these days. I think that’s fantastic that not only you, but you and Eric both have pension plans. That totally takes a lot of the stress out.

newlywedsonabudget June 5, 2014 - 12:07 pm

haha thank you! It is very rare to have a pension these days, especially for BOTH of us to have pensions. that DEFINITELY alleviates some of the stress, although these days you do hear of pensions disappearing and cities declaring bankruptcy. So it’s entirely possible that we may be screwed later on.

Kali @ Common Sense Millennial June 5, 2014 - 9:57 am

This is a brilliant post! Even though I’ve been actively working toward a different path — and as you said, just made the switch to self-employment — the points you covered are extremely valid. Anyone wanting to freelance or work for themselves should read this and think about everything you’ve listed out here.

Switching to my own work was a no-brainer especially after I started making significantly more on the side than I was making at my day job! I was highly motivated to work for myself because I was in a dead-end job and I needed to create my own opportunities. I know not everyone is in that (crappy) boat, so I know that doing things my way is not a blanket solution.

As Holly said, I feel like I also get the best of both worlds, and I’m lucky for that — my spouse works a “traditional” job still, where he’s bringing in a regular paycheck, he provides us both with good health insurance, and he gets the benefit of an employer match in his retirement account through work. This makes it MUCH easier for me to choose self-employment; if I were to lose every cent of my business income tomorrow, we would still be able to pay our bills with my husband’s income (and he is the type of person who is much happier working as an employee, so it works out well there too!) We wouldn’t be able to save a penny or spend a dime on anything other than the necessities, but it is reassuring to know no one would take our house away and we’d be able to buy food for ourselves and our pets.

Again, this is a great post to counter all those “whoo, freelancing IS THE BEST EVAR” posts out there, my own included 🙂 I think either path takes a lot of guts and courage. Yes, self-employment requires a certain kind of fortitude and confidence, but choosing what’s right for YOU ultimately takes far more confidence and bravery than anything else.

newlywedsonabudget June 5, 2014 - 10:05 am

Excellent point! Ultimately, people need to choose what’s right for them. I SO WISH I had the guts to go out on my own, but ultimately I know I am much more comfortable to have stability than flexibility. There may come a day when that will change, but I don’t see it happening any time soon.

Holly@ClubThrifty June 5, 2014 - 8:38 am

I had no intention of leaving my day job either until my online stuff just got out of hand. Honestly, I would’ve been fine just doing both until I had kids. But now that I work at home, I can’t imagine it any other way. I’m available to take my kids places during the workday, pick them up early, keep them home if they’re sick, etc. Having kids makes working life about a million times more complicated. I remember putting in 40-50 hour weeks and feeding my kids mac-n-cheese for dinner because I had zero time to do anything else. The weekends were spent on laundry and errands. No thank you.

I liked my job and I still miss it occasionally, but I would never go back. I love working at home too much and get to live my life the way I want to- on my terms.

I agree with the rest of what you said- health insurance and retirement take a lot more effort. Fortunately, I’m able to write off health insurance premiums and I save for retirement in a SEP IRA and Roth IRA. I also make a lot more money now than I did at my old job so it’s a lot easier to stomach =)

Truly, freelancing isn’t for everyone. I think I feel more secure than most because I am married to someone in an incredibly stable job and we save over 50% of our income in savings and investments. If things were tighter, I might feel differently.

Still, I’m not sure why you think that blogging and online freelancing could be a temporary thing. Print media is going the way of the dinosaur, yes. But the internet isn’t going anywhere! =)

newlywedsonabudget June 5, 2014 - 9:41 am

I am completely jealous and totally wish that I could have the courage to “take the plunge” but I know myself too well to know that I just would never be able to relax and would worry too much about finances to fully enjoy the freelance lifestyle.
I think the flexibility that you have with kids is what would make it SO enticing. However, we live in an expensive area and I highly doubt I could ever make enough to cover my salary and benefits. We’re saving 50% of our income now, but it’s because we’re saving for a house. When we buy, we’ll definitely be using a good chunk of that for a mortgage.
The reason I say that I’m unsure of the future for blogging and online freelancing is because Google tends to have way too much control over the income steam of sites. You would need a lot of diversification to not have Google affect your income from the internet.

Alice @Earning My Two Cents June 5, 2014 - 6:54 am

I love my job and you cannot independently work or freelance in this field, plus its stable (the government’s not going out of business). Plus I love the stability of the steady paycheck, health benefits, and pension so yeah, I wouldn’t quit my day job unless it was to freelance for a couple years then return to it. I have thought that it would be nice to have my own schedule and to work from home but I agree that the stress and taxes are high. But for now, I’m supplementing my income and that’s good (though the more I can make the better).

newlywedsonabudget June 5, 2014 - 9:32 am

Completely agree. I’d love to supplement my income for as long as possible with freelancing because I enjoy it. When I stop enjoying it is when I’ll probably stop altogether. I like that I can look at freelancing as a “hobby” right now that helps me pay off debt and save. It might take on a different meaning if it was my sole source of income.

thisris@gmail.com June 5, 2014 - 5:55 am

I don’t love my job (I’m like you–I like it ok, but it’s not my passion) but I do LOVE the stability, retirement, good healthcare, and other benefits. Maybe I won’t do this forever (there are things about freelance that really appeal to me) but right now, a steady 9-5 gig works for me!

newlywedsonabudget June 5, 2014 - 9:31 am

I’m one of the people who absolutely thinks you DON’T have to LOVE your job to be happy. I mean, if I found someone to pay me for traveling the world and taste-testing pina coladas, then yes, I would love my job…but so far, no takers 😉

emily@thethreebiterule.com June 5, 2014 - 5:29 am

I totally agree. Both the hubbie and I have hobbies that could be businesses. I think my big fear (and why I’m so relieved he isn’t quitting his day job) is that it could feel different when our livelihood depended on it. Now we can do what we want with these because it isn’t a question of if we can eat that week. I wouldn’t want to risk a loss of passion for something fun to haaave to make money doing it.

newlywedsonabudget June 5, 2014 - 9:29 am

completely agree. Right now, freelancing remains a hobby and something that I enjoy and I can do as much or as little as I want to take on. The dynamic would completely change if it was my sole business.

May 2014 Debt Repayment: Unexpected Expenses Edition - Plunged in Debt June 5, 2014 - 1:03 am

[…] writing gig, but man, I could never do it full-time. I admire those that do but not for me. Erika posted on this recently and I totally agree with […]

nd.chic@yahoo.com June 4, 2014 - 8:17 pm

No, I would never quit my day job. Like you, we both have pensions and pay $0 for our health insurance. I like going to work and having my separate life at work. Summers off to spend at the pool would be nice but I’m willing to forego that for my work benefits.

plantingourpennies@gmail.com June 4, 2014 - 6:25 pm

I’ll only quit my day job when we’re financially independent. If we ever want to start a business for fun, that’ll be one thing – but I don’t want the kind of stress of knowing that a freelance career needs to pay the mortgage when I have a stable job now.

newlywedsonabudget June 5, 2014 - 9:27 am

I agree–it’s a lot more different when you can freelance for “fun” and not because your livelihood depends on it.

E.M. June 4, 2014 - 6:09 pm

If I were in your position, I’d probably do the same. It’s smart to keep the future in mind, especially with pensions! When we moved, I decided to give freelancing a try, as I didn’t have much to lose (and I had saved up). I wasn’t making much at my previous day job, and I can probably make more freelancing. I also didn’t have crazy benefits, so I wasn’t giving much up. I am keeping my options open, though. I think a lot of those that switched to freelancing were a bit unhappy at their jobs, and it sounds like you’re content, which is great!

newlywedsonabudget June 5, 2014 - 9:26 am

Perhaps if Eric and I lived in a less expensive area, I would consider freelancing full-time since we wouldn’t need my salary and there wouldn’t be as much pressure. But we live in a pretty expensive area, so ….

Financial Samurai June 4, 2014 - 6:01 pm

I kinda think it depends on how much you make from your blog + number of time at your day job.

You might be singing another time if you started taking in $100,000+ a year and saw more potential on the horizon! 🙂

newlywedsonabudget June 5, 2014 - 9:25 am

I would have to make a lot more than $100k to make up the difference of my salary, taxes (freelancers pay more in taxes bc they cover the employer’s share), medical, retirement, and other benefits,

Catherine June 4, 2014 - 5:49 pm

I am with you 100% for these same reasons. I love my freelance side gig. I really do but making it a job would suck the fun out of it for me. I like collecting my regular pay and woukd HATE having to track down every dollar I made.

eemusings June 4, 2014 - 5:29 pm

Nope. You covered it off pretty well. And for me, now that I’ve changed career tack slightly, I think I make more than I ever could freelance. The bloggers who make huge bucks make most of it doing things other than straight writing, things that don’t interest me as much. The people in NZ I know who freelance doing the kind of stuff I would want to do don’t make a ton of money.

In my day job I get to work on stuff I really love and if I freelanced full time I know I would have to work on stuff that doesn’t excite me, but that pays the bills. (Example: a freelance thing I’m doing right now is editing a document about homeopathy, which I think is BS and also really boring. But it was a referral from another client who I like, and it’s not too onerous.)

For me the one pro of freelancing would be flexibility, and that’s outweighed by all the negatives. I actually had quite a flexible job previously, and possibly I’ll have another in the future. I’m not gonna lie, I gave up flexibility for cold hard cash.

newlywedsonabudget June 5, 2014 - 9:23 am

That’s an excellent point–the pro of flexibility is simply outweighed by all the negatives. Flexibility is HUGE–but still not enough for me to leave my job.


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