Rachel is 28 years old and just gave birth to her first child. Rachel’s maternity leave just expired and she has the baby attending daycare that is quite expensive. After she returns to work...

Rachel is 28 years old and just gave birth to her first child. Rachel’s maternity leave just expired and she has the baby attending daycare that is quite expensive. After she returns to work after maternity leave, Bill, her husband, is laid off from his job. Rachel and Bill recently bought a house and have a mortgage in addition to student loans and other household expenses.

Identify Rachel and Bill’s short term objective(s) or goal(s).

What are the different options Rachel and Bill have to achieve or meet these objectives?

What are Rachel and Bill’s (likely) long-term goals?

What are the different options Rachel and Bill have to achieve or meet these objectives?

How do your suggestions compare to other responses? Do you suggest the goals change or the behavior of the individuals change? Which and why?

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
  1. In the short term, Rachel and Bill’s goal is to make enough money to pay their mortgage, their student loans, their household expenses, and perhaps their daughter’s daycare expenses. 
  2. Their options in the short term (depending on how short the short term is) are A) to have Rachel continue working and to have Bill stay home, potentially making it so they do not have to pay for daycare and B) having Bill go back to work as soon as possible in whatever job he can find.  If they choose the second option, Bill may have to take a job that is less than ideal for him.
  3. Though we do not have any real evidence about their long term goals, we can guess at those goals.  We can assume that they want to raise their daughter as well as they can, giving her as many life chances as possible.  We can also assume that they want to achieve financial stability so they do not have to worry about making ends meet.
  4. In the long term, people tend to have many more choices than in the short term.  Rachel and Bill have many different options in the long term.  The two general paths they can take are A) reducing costs and B) increasing revenue.  If the two of them want to reduce costs, they might simplify their lives.  If their house is expensive, they might try to sell and move to a cheaper home.  They might try to have one of them stay home and care for their daughter at least part-time to reduce daycare costs.  If their jobs permit, they might move from an expensive city (if they are living in one at the moment) to a place with a lower cost of living.  They might work to reduce household expenses, perhaps by eating out less or not spending as much on entertainment.

If, on the other hand, they decide to try to make as much money as possible, they will both need to throw themselves into their work.  They will need to take jobs that pay well and they will need to try their hardest to move up in their jobs so as to make more money.  They will need to work longer hours.  They will need, in general, to prioritize making money over other things like spending time with their family.

Of course, they can also try to achieve some blend of these two general objectives.  They can try to pare down their costs to some degree while making a moderate effort to make more money (without dedicating themselves completely to their jobs).

  1. My own choice would be (and has been in my real life) Choice A.  I would try to reduce my costs and prioritize my family life.  I think that very few people, when their children are grown, wish they could trade any of their memories for more money.  To me, money is much less important than spending time with my children, watching them grow, and doing my best to raise them in a way that will give them the best possible start in life.  Of course, my way is not compatible with everyone’s situation and everyone’s personality, but it is what I have chosen and what I would choose for Bill and Rachel.