Author Topic: Contemplating Mini-RE - Looking for input  (Read 4094 times)

ChasingFire

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Contemplating Mini-RE - Looking for input
« on: April 15, 2015, 10:46:38 AM »
Hi All!

I've been lurking for about 9 months.  I didn't realize that retiring early was an actual thing until finding this blog - and I'm so glad I did!  I'm hoping for some constructive input on how to go about a 3-6 month mini-retirement, without derailing my entire FIRE plan.  Not even sure it's possible - but I also know that I'm ready for a break, so I hope you all have some good suggestiong

Here are some particulars:
  • Only debt is a $7,000 car loan at 1.9%
  • Savings rate of 60%
  • On track to fully fund 401k and Roth IRA
  • 13 months of expenses saved up
  • Still approx 10 years away from FIRE
  • Single, no kids

I'm at a point where I'm completely burned out at work.  I got a promotion about 6 months ago, and my position hasn't been back-filled so I'm besically doing two jobs.  The hours and stress are becoming unmanageable.  Also, my landlord is selling the condo I live in around June, so I need to move somewhere new no matter what.  I've been contemplating moving closer to my family (about 8 hours away) for a long time, but there has never been a good time to make the change.  It seems like the stars are aligning - I need to find a new place to live, and my job isn't that great; so maybe now is the time?

At the same time, I've never taken an extended break from work.  I'm pretty much a rule-follower, and it seems somewhat irresponsible to take time off work for "no good reason"; but after reading about mini-retirements that others have taken, I feel like this might be a good time to take a few months off.  I'm just struggling to actually do it.


So, here are my questions for all of you wise mustachians:
  • Am I being a quitter for wanting to resign from my job?
  • How do I go about calculating the opportunity cost for this mini-RE (loss of income, loss of 401k, paying for insurance, etc)?
  • What other key points have others considered in similar situations?
  • How will this employment gap look to future employers?
  • How do I know that I'm making the right decision?

Looking forward to hearing your feedback!  Thanks in advance!

CheapskateWife

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Re: Contemplating Mini-RE - Looking for input
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2015, 11:00:41 AM »
•Am I being a quitter for wanting to resign from my job? 

No!  You are ready to move on and have made really good decisions leading up to this point...and 10 years to permanent RE...go on and find you something that makes you happy!

•How do I go about calculating the opportunity cost for this mini-RE (loss of income, loss of 401k, paying for insurance, etc)?

Well, it depends on a myriad of factors, but really you haven't lost the 401K..you are simply stopping your contributions, and you might even feel like leaving makes it a good time to roll it over to a lower management fee IRA.

•What other key points have others considered in similar situations?  Its not all about what you are currently earning, your life is a whole that should be examined.  I gave up an 85K job because it make me commute crazy distances, spend weekends away from my sweet babies, etc.  Life was so much better when I quit and we lived off just one income.  You have significant savings to draw on, and you might be able to stretch that further depending on the living situation you move into.

•How will this employment gap look to future employers?  Life happens and most good Hiring managers understand that.  I have freaked myself out pretty good about looking on paper like I had career ADHD, but in reality, life is complicated, and you make the best decisions you can for that time in your life.  Most decent managers understand that.

•How do I know that I'm making the right decision?  You will be able to sleep at night ;-)

Retire-Canada

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Re: Contemplating Mini-RE - Looking for input
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2015, 11:06:30 AM »

  • How will this employment gap look to future employers?

That's entirely up to you.

If you tell them you burnt out, lost your mind and spent 6 months trying to find your marbles from under the couch they might not be happy.

If you tell them you decided to move closer to your aging parents so you could take care of them and that you wanted to switch careers so you took some time off to move and to research what your next career would be....they'll probably be fine with it.

Just sell it the right way.

-- Vik
« Last Edit: April 15, 2015, 11:32:57 AM by Vikb »

Bicycle_B

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Re: Contemplating Mini-RE - Looking for input
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2015, 11:31:39 AM »
You can add strength to Vik's suggestion by preparing a lot of questions for you to ask your future employers.  It won't be just that they're interviewing you, you're interviewing them.  They have to meet your standards!

So you can ask anything from their policies on flex time, to career opportunities, to work environment, to whether they assist financially in paying for any certifications that you intend to renew or obtain.  Regarding your past employer being not so hot, there is a sweet spot where you can inquire about those problem areas (once burned, twice cautious) without becoming a complainypants do-not-hire; you can be someone who learned from experience, is talented and in control of their life, and is responsibly choosing to provide their valuable services only to quality employers.  Asking these types of questions positions you during the interview as someone who is coming from a strong position, not a weak one - you're not rushed, just self-respecting enough to do a quality job in your own job search. 

Take charge of your own life and you will prosper!

Tulip

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Re: Contemplating Mini-RE - Looking for input
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2015, 11:58:15 AM »
I've been seriously considering something similar (though for a little longer, like a year). I'm very interested to see what advice and comments you receive. I'm glad you posted this! I'll be following along. :)

CheapskateWife

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Re: Contemplating Mini-RE - Looking for input
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2015, 12:04:01 PM »

 you burnt out, lost your mind and spent 6 months trying to find your marbles from under the couch


Vik is spot on!  I did lose my marbles, but could frame it in a completely appropriate way...Blamed it on the husband :)

Kind of kidding, but with him being active duty military, moves happen alot.  That I left the job because of the commute and the strain it put on my family to have me on the road, and that my co-workers were crazy, and my boss absent, was none of their business.

Retired To Win

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Re: Contemplating Mini-RE - Looking for input
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2015, 12:06:56 PM »
I did this.  Twice.  But neither time did I have a set length of time for my "sabbatical."  I just did it because, like you, I was burned out and bummed out.  And I did it until I figured out what I wanted to do next with my life and then went off and did it.

But... NO lollygagging, okay?  I had a job during my sabbaticals: figuring out what to do next.  And I spent hours every day looking into myself, thinking things through and looking for my answers.

Good luck.

HenryDavid

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Re: Contemplating Mini-RE - Looking for input
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2015, 12:20:05 PM »
OK I did exactly this after the first 5 years in my "dream job." Found it was less of a dream that I thought, was burnt out after working like a bastard to get there, and planned to simply quit.

A wise person counselled me to try a year's leave without pay. I negotiated that and left: friends though I'd gone nuts.

It was the best decision EVER. Learned a ton, got relaxed, rediscovered why I liked the "dream job," and went back to it full of energy.
Also began living more or less in the way described on this blog, but based on the book "Your Money or Your Life."

Life since then has been 100% better, more purposeful, more "on my terms." Do it. Take the time.
Something is telling you it's the right idea. So listen.


ohana

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Re: Contemplating Mini-RE - Looking for input
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2015, 12:35:16 PM »
You also could just go to your boss and say "I can't do two jobs.  I need my old position to be replaced, or I will leave."

Then if they hire a replacement, it won't be so stressful (you could leave anyways if it still was).  And if they don't, you're free.

bacchi

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Re: Contemplating Mini-RE - Looking for input
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2015, 01:19:45 PM »
Do it. I was laid off early in my career and decided to just take off for a year and make it a sabbatical (and jobs were hard to find in my field, too). It was f'ing awesome.

A line on my resume is "Travel." Rarely is it mentioned.

deborah

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Re: Contemplating Mini-RE - Looking for input
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2015, 02:30:22 PM »
But... NO lollygagging, okay?  I had a job during my sabbaticals: figuring out what to do next.  And I spent hours every day looking into myself, thinking things through and looking for my answers.

Good luck.
Yes! I did this and spent the time off as a job of working on me, and getting rid of stuff that was reducing my effectiveness. I got fit, worked out how to relax (classes)... Even worked out the best way to go to work. These stood me in good stead and increased my productivity.  It's no good just having a good time - that only lasts for the sabbatical.

mozar

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Re: Contemplating Mini-RE - Looking for input
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2015, 08:57:52 PM »
I don't see anything wrong with being a quitter.

ChasingFire

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Re: Contemplating Mini-RE - Looking for input
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2015, 09:40:38 PM »
Wow, I really appreciate each of your responses!  Thank you for being so encouraging.  I was expecting to hear a lot of criticism and questioning of my judgement for thinking about taking a sabbatical.  But then again, this forum values the choices/freedom that come along with financial responsibility and mustachian spending...it's just so different from the people in my real life.  Another reason I'm so glad to have found this community!

CheapskateWife  - Thank you for your detailed responses to my questions - I have definitely reached a point where it's time to step back and re-evaluate my life and figure out how the next stage is going to look.  You also gave me some additional things to consider...rolling over my 401k, and that it's not necessarily a right or wrong situation, that I need to figure out what's best for me right now and then move forward on that path.

Vikb and BarrettSun - You gave me some great ideas about how to respond to future employers about an employment gap.  I also tend to sell myself short in the interviewing process, so some time away to think and figure out what I'm willing to accept or not accept in a future job is a must in my next job hunt!  The key is to wordsmith it to avoid sounding like a complainypants

Tulip - I hope that you can also utilize some of these mustachians' great advice in figuring out your plan for a mini-retirement!

Retired To Win - Thank you for the reality-check - I really like the word sabbatical - it seems more structured, like it's purposeful.  And you're right, I can't just sit around doing nothing, it will be critical to put together a structured plan to keep myself from wasting this precious window of time.  Your insight is invaluable - my sister said that I could stay with her and watch her kids for the summer in exchange for free rent, and now I'm debating whether or not I should do that because maybe I really need to spend some quality "me" time working on myself, figuring out what I really want, learning about a new field, and getting back in shape.  You gave me some great food for thought.

HenryDavid - Your response is really reassuring, that after some time off you were able to remember why you liked your job, but now you are doing it in a way that is more on your terms.  Thanks for the encouragement to take the leap...it's really scary and so against the grain - my coworkers and boss are going to think that I've gone crazy, but I'm really starting to think that it's the best path for me right now.

ohana - That's something to consider...although I feel like I may be past the point of being willing to negotiate.  They are planning to hire someone, but it will take more time to hire and train them.  Your suggestion helped me to realize that I'm leaning more and more towards taking the time off, so thank you for that!

bacchi - It's good to hear that you enjoyed your time off without regrets.  great resume insight - thanks!

deborah - thanks for sharing your experience.  I'm glad to hear that Retired to Win's advice resonates with you and mirrors how you spent your time off.  I need to remember that it's not a several-month vacation, that I need to use this time wisely, and work on improving myself while I'm on sabbatical.

Thank you all for taking the time to respond...you have given me lots to think about.  I'm hoping/planning to make my decision by the end of the month so I'll check back in then and give you an update.

Daisy

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Re: Contemplating Mini-RE - Looking for input
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2015, 09:43:39 PM »
I'm at a point where I'm completely burned out at work.  I got a promotion about 6 months ago, and my position hasn't been back-filled so I'm besically doing two jobs.  The hours and stress are becoming unmanageable.  Also, my landlord is selling the condo I live in around June, so I need to move somewhere new no matter what.  I've been contemplating moving closer to my family (about 8 hours away) for a long time, but there has never been a good time to make the change.  It seems like the stars are aligning - I need to find a new place to live, and my job isn't that great; so maybe now is the time?

  • How do I know that I'm making the right decision?

I think you have answered your own question. It's not always about the financials. It sounds like you are ready for a change and all of the signs in your life are pointing you towards that change. Just do it!

I've worked continuously from the age of 14 to 46. I did have layoff a few years ago and took the opportunity to not look for work for about 4 months to have some downtime. I loved it! I was able to relax, catch up at home, and take some art classes that I had always wanted to take. My mini-FIRE was a huge success and now I'm almost ready for permanent FIRE. I think you need this break.

markbrynn

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Re: Contemplating Mini-RE - Looking for input
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2015, 02:20:54 AM »
It depends on how "burnt out" you are, but if you're only sick of your job to the extent that you'll be feeling great a week or two after you quit (or even a few hours later), then I recommend looking to do something with your time off. The suggestions to work or work on yourself are good ideas. Personally, I would suggest to use the time to do something you really want to do but don't have the time to do when you're working. For me, that was the ever-so-popular TRAVELING.

I wasn't burned out, but wanted to take a long trip, planned for it, quit my job and did it. Was off work for a year and traveled for about 8 months. I didn't know about early retirement when I did it, so it wasn't that kind of choice for me. However, every time I think about how work is going and how long I have until FIRE, I still feel happy that I fulfilled one of my dreams. Also, no employer cared about my gap in employment (though I was late 30s when I did this, so lots of previous experience and I don't live in the US).

So, I would make a list of your dreams and see if you could do a couple of them. If you have no inspiration, I would think about whether 4-6 months off to sit at home and play video games is worth it. In that case I would quit your job, move to where you want to be and find a new job. More than likely you'll have a couple of months off just in the transition.

Good luck with whatever you choose.