Stress Income Ratio

In personal finance, we deal with tons of ratios like debt income and price earnings. But what about stress income? Never heard of it? Let me explain.

The other day a friend of mine asked how my job was going since it’s been almost a year. I reflected. The near 25% jump in salary was terrific so I can’t complain. He continued by asking about the job stress related with the new position and environment. I paused and quickly reviewed different projects and critical junctures. My stress did go up due to a learning curve and some hairy unforeseen events, but nothing I couldn’t handle. Now that things are humming along, the day to day stress is comparable to my previous job. Although it’s difficult to put a number on it, if my stress remained the same while my income jumped 25%, I’m way ahead of the game in terms of stress income.

Another friend of mine who is wildly successful and deserves everything he gets probably has an income several times higher than my own. However, his stress level is through the roof. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t last an hour at his job. I also can’t put a value on his stress income ratio, but his stress level would crumble most people.

Final Thoughts

Since I care about his health and well being, I did remind him to take it easy and be mindful of the enormous stress he goes through. He counters by saying, “What can you do?” I am not in a position to tell him how to live his life or perform his job. However, I can continue to remind him to not let his job consume him and ask the question, “Is it all worth it if his day to day stress is somehow shortening his life and the time he gets to spend with his two adorable kids, friends, and family?”

How is your stress income ratio and what do you do to keep it in check?

Stay Inspired!

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10 Responses

  1. krantcents says:

    For the most part, I have a stress free job (teacher)) compared to my former professions (CFO, Consultant & business owner). I sometimes feel as though I am in semi retirement. Don’t misunderstand though, I do have occasional stress, but it is infrequent.

  2. I would have to say that I have always noticed this. A lot of the people I know who make really great money have some of the highest stress level jobs. From working 50-60 hours per week to flying cross country its just not for me. At least not for the long haul.

    I actually love my job so there really is not much stress but I also don’t have a top level position either. No one reports to me and I am in charge of processes. Most of which I have a strategy in place so stress is kept to a minimum.

  3. My job is occasionally stressful, but mostly it’s pretty easy. My job-related stress is actually money related. Low pay, uneven hours (60 in the summer, less than 10 in the winter). So my stress income ratio is actually rather high. Luckily, I’ve gotten pretty good at handling my stress.

    • Buck Inspire says:

      Great you recognize and can deal with your high stress, but would it be better to explore other options? I know jobs are hard to come by, but you owe it to yourself if you feel your stress ratio could be better. Good luck!

  4. Moneycone says:

    Very interesting post Buck! More than work pressure, what matters is how you react to it. If, the minute you walk out of your workplace, you can forget about work, and if you can make this a habit, you are well on your way to conquering stress.

    • Buck Inspire says:

      Great advice MC! When I leave the office I’m thinking of the next blog post or Baby Buck. Most days I’m in good shape. Just concerned about my friend and others out there who are consumed by their work. How is it on your end?

  5. I like this post, but I will leave one word of caution: many people assume that stress and income have a direct relationship (e.g. higher income jobs necessitate higher stress). I don’t believe that’s true.

    Some extremely stressful jobs, like working at the drive-thru of a McDonalds, also carry low pay. And some high-income jobs are relatively stress free (it sounds like you’re fortunate enough to have a job like that!)

    So … there’s no correlation. But that said, its important to evaluate every opportunity on a case-by-case basis.

    • Buck Inspire says:

      Excellent point Paula! I was wrapped up with my own situation and my friend’s. It truly depends on where you are in life and what you want. If the McDonald’s job or the high income job isn’t fulfilling and making you happy, you owe it to yourself to get into a better situation.

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