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Ask Dave

Dream Job Means Pay Cut

Sean wants to get into a law enforcement career, but it will mean a steep pay cut. Should he take the leap?

QUESTION: Sean will be debt free except the house by the end of next year, and he wants to get into law enforcement. His income will go from $90,000 to about $30,000. He will also have to attend a college for up to a year to prepare for it and has 6 kids. Are there any tips or things he needs to think about to build up before this move besides getting an emergency fund?

ANSWER: I think it’s a good step and you should make it when you’re ready. You have to be able to live on $30,000, but you’re able to now that you don’t have any debt. Do some hypothetical budgets and find out if it will work. There’s no real magic to this. I think it’s smart of you to want to do some extra funding here.

The only other thing I can think of is to have some short-term or part-time career move if you get sidelined for a little while on this. If it looks like it’s going to be 6 months, then drive a truck for 6 months. You don’t want to just sit at home and wait for this job to come through. When it comes through, you can quit your part-time job and go to work on that. Have a short term job lined up if there’s a hole between graduation and hiring.