Keep a job that pays more, or take the lower paying offer that comes with full benefits?

EDIT: Wow! Thank you so much to everyone who has offered advice. You are all really knowledgeable and kind; thank you for taking the time to help guide me. While I haven’t yet responded to every post, I have certainly read each one a few times. As an update… I accepted the new job!

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Hi. I am at a crossroads and despite all my research, I am finding myself confused. Hoping for some guidance…

I currently make $27.50/hour at my job, which is private sector and offers healthcare (Anthem PPO). I also receive paid holidays, paid sick, and paid vacation time (though it accrues slowly). There is no retirement, 401k, etc.

I was offered a government job that begins at $25.50, and after 6 months will be stepped up to $26.50 (provided I pass probation and do well). This job comes with full benefits; Medical, Dental and Vision Insurance, Pension Trust Retirement Fund, Paid Personal, Sick and Vacation Days, Paid Holidays, Employee Assistance Program, Education Allowance, even things like a discounted membership at a local gym.

I am stressing out about the large hourly pay cut, but wondering if this is best due to the benefits and potential for growth. At my current job, I’ve hit the ceiling on pay. They’re a non profit and, likely, I won’t ever make more than what I am currently making. I am unsure if there are any offers for retirement plans on the horizon, but I would bet not. In addition, I have heard whispers that funding is severely diminished.

The government job offers a lot of possible room for growth, both professionally and financially. And also, just feels like it might have more stability in the sense that its government.

The other pros of my job now are that while it has its moments of high stress, it is relatively relaxed (plenty of Reddit time). The schedule is also very relaxed (aka, work life balance is prime), and I can take time — albeit unpaid, since the PTO is slow to accrue — anytime I want.

What’s the best decision, financially speaking?

Thank you in advance.

Edit to add: I have no college degree. I’ve worked my way up to a management position at my current company, and would be starting at square one at the new job.

Also, TL;DR: Current job pays $2/hour more and offers great work/life balance, but limited benefits. Possible new job offers full benefits, possible room for growth, and most likely, a much stricter work schedule. What do I do?

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