Author Topic: Reader Case Study (Light): Crossroads...why am I still working?  (Read 7526 times)

randomAustinGuy

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Reader Case Study (Light): Crossroads...why am I still working?
« on: January 30, 2015, 03:11:16 PM »
I call this a "light" case study because I'm not going to get super-detailed on my expenses.  All figures annual.

Income:
 $180,000 salary
  ~20,000 bonus
   30,000 dividends
---------
$~230,000 total


Current expenses:
$16,900 mortgage P&I
 11,500 property tax
  1,000 hazard insurance
 10,000 play money
 20,000 other fixed expenses
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$59,400 total


Expected ER expenses: 
$ 6,000 property tax
  1,000 hazard insurance
  5,000 (or less) health insurance (high deductible)
 10,000 play money
 20,000 fixed expenses
-------
$42,000 total


Assets:
$1,500,000 taxable investments (Vanguard)
   605,000 primary residence
    43,000 taxable investments (Schwab)
   212,000 401(k)
    45,000 Roth IRA (Schwab)
    21,000 Roth IRA (Vanguard)
   560,000 private stock in employer's company
    30,000 vested options in employer's company
    22,000 vehicles (mini pickup and subcompact car)
    30,000 cash (checking)
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$3,068,000


I also have about $110,000 in unvested options I would lose immediately if I leave the company.  Excluding the stock and options in my employer's company, I have at 80/20 split in investments between stocks and bonds.  I have followed all of Vanguard's recommendations on which types of asset classes to hold in my various accounts.  My total portfolio expenses are around 0.16%, maybe a bit less.

Liabilities:
$304,000 @ 3.875% mortgage on primary residence (358 payments to go)
--------
$304,000 total


So, I'm 45 years old and have a net worth of $2,764,000 which is 46 times current expenses and 65 times projected ER expenses.  I don't particularly enjoy my job and, in all honesty, my employer would be better off with a more motivated person.  I used to enjoy my job quite a bit, but as the company has grown from a startup into a $200M/yr company, my enthusiasm and ability to deal with corporate politics has run out.  As it is, my boss lets me get away with murder because I was salaried employee #2 (not including the actual founders).  I'm only required to be in the office a few days per week and "work from home" the rest of the time.  I live 2 miles from work which makes it easy.

My plan for ER is to sell my current home and move to a similar home in a much less expensive neighborhood.  I believe I can accomplish this by simply rolling the sale proceeds into a cash purchase thus leaving me completely debt free. 

My biggest fear is that I wouldn't be retiring to do anything in particular.  My only hobbies are Coursera, cycling, videogames, and watching sports.  I'm amicably divorced and at this point I'm not at all interested in dating...maybe later.  I love being in exotic locations (for a while), but I abhor air travel, so I don't really travel much now or plan to travel much in the future, except perhaps road trips around North America.

Specific questions:
Am I an idiot to keep working?
How hard is it to sell a house and move to a new house?  I've only moved into a house once.

Thanks for reading!





chops

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Re: Reader Case Study (Light): Crossroads...why am I still working?
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2015, 04:26:15 PM »
I know this is only a "light" case study, but if you are serious about RE you really need to scrub your expected expenses and get those down to the dollar.  A lot of times when you do a high-level back of the envelope expense calc. you could be missing some major shit.  My recommendation is to use Mint or Personal Capital to get a handle on it all most easily.  We here on the MMM boards will be more than happy to help you with "facepunches" as necessary to ensure you're thinking of everything (possibly increased insurance costs once you RE, etc.)

On a "light" level, though, if you really don't enjoy your job, are a multi-millionaire worth $2.8M, really will only spend $42k/year on yourself (which is not even close to mustachian, but you are a big spendypants spender now) and are even considering moving to a tropical place with a much lower cost of living, you should give it a try.  Selling your house is not that bad now!  Especially in Austin.  I did it when the market was bad in my area, took my ugly 10% loss on the chin, took my 6% RE commission below the belt, and moved on.  If I could have waited until now to sell, I would have been closer along to FIRE.  Hit the go button on that shit.  Maybe even sell it yourself to save the below the belt sucker punch once you're retired. 

You say you love being in exotic locations, but don't like air travel - check out http://brownvagabonder.com/category/the-big-trip/ for details how the blog author Boom (yes, she has a badass name) DROVE from Canada down to Panama in a '98 Civic, stopping for sometimes several weeks in awesome locations to have the trip of a lifetime.  She and her bf also did it frugally - you would have a little more flexibility, but Boom's blog is a great example of how others already did what you are dreaming of, without $2.8M in the hole.  She's got detailed entries on how they did it.  Disclaimer: they are pretty mustachian.  You are not yet as a big spendypants spender. 

Good luck - you're in a great position, and can pull this off if your expected expenses are accurate and you can execute on them.

 - Chops
« Last Edit: January 30, 2015, 04:56:33 PM by chops »

randomAustinGuy

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Re: Reader Case Study (Light): Crossroads...why am I still working?
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2015, 05:23:29 PM »
OK Chops, thanks for your reply.  Since you called me on it I'll expose my actual spending budgets.  I already track spending using Mint and do my budgeting in a spreadsheet.  I also use Quicken to aggregate everything.

My current monthly budget for fixed spending:

$2,443 mortgage (PITI)
   519 food & beer
   229 AT&T u-verse (Internet & TV)
   173 special needs cat, 17 years old
   163 water, sewer, electric, solid waste (City of Austin)
   134 lawn service (would discontinue in retirement)
   133 house, household, & sundries
    82 car insurance & umbrella (Amica)
    54 gasoline
    40 pest control (Terminix)
    34 natural gas
    11 car registration
     9 Amazon prime
     9 Netflix
     5 XBOX Live
     5 car inspections
------
$4,038 total

I currently have an employer-provided cell phone so I'd need to add back a cheap cell plan.  As you can see that leaves some headroom under my current $59,400 annual spend.  Out of that extra buffer I pay for doctor visits, dental, vision, going out--everything else.  These numbers aren't just made up, I've been tracking my expenses this way since 1996 when my net worth was about $3,000 and I decided I was tired of being broke all the time.

I also want to point out that these are budgets and I usually spend less.  For example, my non-income-tax spending to date for January is $3,514 according to Mint & Quicken.  Take the mortgage PI off and I'm down to $2,100.  I have to admit that one of my prime motivators for considering early retirement--other than lack of job satisfaction and the desire for more free time--is income taxes.  I've paid $6,500 in federal withholding, FICA, and Medicare taxes this month (three paycheck month due to biweekly pay).  When taxes are 2/3rds of your total spend, it's pretty annoying...why work to earn that money that you never see?

If I get the mortgage out of the way by relocating to a less expensive house my monthly spend would only be $1,595.  Of course I'd have to add back in around 5-6K for property tax and hazard insurance (as well as health insurance once retired).

I plan to sell my mini pickup leaving me with just my 2015 Honda Fit and my crosstrail bike for transport.

I know these numbers aren't at the true Mustachian level, but I feel that other than my fancy-pants house I'm not doing too badly.  Please point out where I'm wrong.  I know I have the easy targets of pay-TV at around $150/mo and my insane pet budget.  What else is screwed up?  Even if it's not Mustachian, it seems sustainable indefinitely (at least I think so).

caliq

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Re: Reader Case Study (Light): Crossroads...why am I still working?
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2015, 05:49:48 PM »
Even for a super deluxe TV/internet/home phone package that seems high, you can probably lower it without giving much up in terms of channels or internet speeds just by doing some investigating.  That's painless savings. 

MDM

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Re: Reader Case Study (Light): Crossroads...why am I still working?
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2015, 06:28:33 PM »
So, I'm 45 years old and have a net worth of $2,764,000 which is 46 times current expenses and 65 times projected ER expenses.  I don't particularly enjoy my job...my boss lets me get away with murder because I was salaried employee #2 (not including the actual founders).
...
My biggest fear is that I wouldn't be retiring to do anything in particular.
...
Specific questions:
Am I an idiot to keep working?
How hard is it to sell a house and move to a new house?  I've only moved into a house once.

There's the financial part and the non-financial part.  Yes, you have enough money to retire.  In our experience, the hardest part about selling is getting and keeping the house in "showable" condition.  If you choose to move in off-peak (i.e., when school-related moves aren't occurring) the cost should be reasonable.

The non-financial part: you stay or you go.  With either choice, you need to find a way to be happy.  Reading between the lines, it seems you could enjoy the work if not for the politics.  Well...politics can be a source of amusement if you aren't concerned with how they affect your opportunities in the company.  You have the luxury of saying "I'm done" any time you want, so...?  Or invent a job description, go to your boss and say "How about if I do ____?  We both know I'm loafing now, but _______ is something I could be passionate about."  Meanwhile, start developing those outside-of-work interests.

firewalker

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Re: Reader Case Study (Light): Crossroads...why am I still working?
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2015, 06:48:00 PM »
Your question is actually the same for everyone on this forum: If money is taken out of the equation, what is my "purpose" in life? Everything absorbing our time from birth is preparing to earn money and then being good at earning money. But what happens if I don't actually need to earn any more money? What is my purpose? It isn't a question of what I want to do with my time. It's a question of purpose. Now THAT'S a question for consideration.

Daisy

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Re: Reader Case Study (Light): Crossroads...why am I still working?
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2015, 07:00:11 PM »
It sounds like you've got the financial part down. Your work situation doesn't seem too bad, other than it seems to be a shackle keeping you where you're at without much motiviation or energy to change.

If you FIRE now, just have some detox time, get into your hobbies, create new ones, and see what happens. Maybe after doing that some ideas will pop into your head, you'll make new friends in your new interests, and then you will be having so much fun you won't even remember what that job was all about.

pdxvandal

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Re: Reader Case Study (Light): Crossroads...why am I still working?
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2015, 07:36:18 PM »
Fucking retire already.

chops

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Re: Reader Case Study (Light): Crossroads...why am I still working?
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2015, 07:51:35 PM »
Austin,

Thanks for posting your details.  Sounds like it was a lot more than a back of the envelope calculation after all. 

As the others have said, reduce your internet/cable bill first off.  In fact, you may want to kill them both completely - you'll find that they are both major time sucks in ER and I find the internet (already killed cable after I got my own apt ~11 years ago) impacts my life mostly negatively even though I'm still working.  Personally, I would also reduce your food bill, I think $520/month on food just for yourself is excessive, but overall your financials are pretty sharp with $2.8M as a nest egg.

Now go forth and enjoy the rest of your life, maybe starting with an adventure through Central America (and even South America) following Boom's advice except doing it with your Honda Fit!  It sounds like it could be right up your alley.

After 6 months living your life on a (mustachian) vacation through exotic locales on budget, get into the other interests you've always wanted to explore but never had the time to.  Maybe you'll even make some $$ from them too.  After all, MMM realized he loved carpentry only after years of being an IT programmer.

And guess what, if you're still really bored you can go back and get a random PT job to remind you how much work politics sucks.  That will remind you of how precious your time is, and it will help you focus on what it is you want to do for the rest of your life. 

Now go cash your golden ticket!  (And let us know how your adventures work out!)

Best of luck,

 - Chops

DCJrMustachian

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Re: Reader Case Study (Light): Crossroads...why am I still working?
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2015, 07:58:10 PM »
Quote
I love being in exotic locations (for a while), but I abhor air travel

So scout out and move to the exotic paradise of your choice.  An affordable California beach town, Florida, or Colorado mountain town await you.  Or you could move to another country.  Many allow foreigners to move there if they are financially secure.

I do see how you might be hesitant to quit your job.  It seems like a very good situation. 

What would you do afterwards?  Why not take the trip of a lifetime, and then decide?  When you come back you could figure out if you want to start your own business, explore a new hobby, take some classes, or do charity work.

rothnroll

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Re: Reader Case Study (Light): Crossroads...why am I still working?
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2015, 08:06:00 PM »
229 for Uverse? Cut that cord!

Ricky

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Re: Reader Case Study (Light): Crossroads...why am I still working?
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2015, 08:10:14 PM »
I don't have much advice but it's definitely motivating reading predicaments like these. The world is your oyster at this point and you could afford to live anywhere.

I'd set my retirement goal at 50 and as a reward spend the first year or two slow traveling (avoiding the air) in places you've always wanted to go. I mean you could definitely do that now with no problem because I foresee you saving plenty of money even in retirement. I think most of us see that income and wonder how anyone could give it up but its all relative!

Not many here would spend over $100 on TV + Internet but if you enjoy it enough you should keep it because it's really not hurting you. That said, I'm sure there are some efficiencies to be had by dropping channels and maybe even speed that you don't really need. You can stream movies starting at like 3Mbps so anything over 6 is fine.

Why is your property tax going to decrease so much in retirement?
« Last Edit: January 30, 2015, 08:13:16 PM by Ricky »

Indio

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Re: Reader Case Study (Light): Crossroads...why am I still working?
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2015, 08:26:10 PM »
How about asking for a 6 month sabbatical to see if you like not working? This could be a test run.
The first month might be tricky learning to disconnect but it could get tun after that. Since you like sports, how about setting a goal to visit all of the baseball stadiums on west coast or whatever your favorite sport is. Put your bike on the roof rack, cat in the car and roadtrip whereever you want to go.

fartface

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Re: Reader Case Study (Light): Crossroads...why am I still working?
« Reply #13 on: February 14, 2015, 06:45:29 PM »
What is your end game here?

Sounds to me like you need to define your purpose, and then you can move forward.

Clearly, you have your financial house in order -- that's not your problem. My initial guess is that you fear what's on the other side of FIRE, as most people do.

My husband FIRE'd at age 43. It took some getting used to -- getting his ass up for work before dawn every day for over 30 years is a hard habit to break...but now he's adjusted. :)

I'm sure you will too. Oh, and as far as finding your purpose...you're likely stifled right now due to your soul crushing employment. When you ditch that, you'll probably gain enlightenment. 

Good luck!

~Fartface

GuitarBrian

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Re: Reader Case Study (Light): Crossroads...why am I still working?
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2015, 01:10:52 AM »
Quit working already! You are set financially, and you don't like you job. No down side there really.

I have no idea how hard it will be for you to move house. That depends on how much stuff you have and how far you are going.

You have a good handle on your finances and spending. Everyone can make cuts, and everyone can spend more.

I have spent my life traveling North America by road. Driven to Panama 2 times. Mexico many more. 1 trip to El Salvador, and the following year Costa Rica. Been to all the lower 48 save Maine. In the US I travel around and play music. During the winter I head south and see where I end up. I am in Panama now.

I am going to offer my suggestion. This is my opinion based on my experience and observations.

If you like doing physical activities I would urge you to get out now while you are still in your 40's.

My first recommendation is to get an RV. Not an expensive one. In fact you can get a small trailer and pull it with your truck, or get a slide in camper. They make them for Tacoma size trucks and up. There is such an overwhelming array of stuff available, for all levels of comfort, affordability, utility.

I recommend this because you like traveling and exploring, but don't like flying. This is a very reasonable way to travel (minimal to no camping/hotel fees) and you get to bring your toys. You can spend summers in the Rocky Mountains biking, hiking, exploring. There are huge tracts of public land.

Then drive to La Ventana, Baja C.S. Mexico from November to April. Bring a mountain bike. You get to live on the beach ($200 a month for water/bathrooms), the weather is warm all winter, but not hot. Good restaurants with a social scene and live music most every night. It is not a "tourist trap" where it is all about money grubbing. It revolves around people from their 20's to 60's and the wide variety of activities for free, since you can bring your own equipment.

Wind Sports
Mountain Biking
Hiking
Fishing
Diving
Spearfishing
Back Country stuff like motorcycles/ATV
Small game hunting
Plus more...

If you don't get into the wind sports (Kiteboarding/Wind Surfing - Kiting is relatively easy) there are several 100s of miles of trails and backroads for biking (you can go solo or there are groups 3+ times a week, from easy pace to non stop exertion). Similarly there are many possible hiking trips. If you are into fishing, bring a boat and there is a free ramp you can launch from (a large boat would not be ideal, most are 15-25hp). Same with diving/freediving/spearfishing... bring a boat, you can access many diving spots. If you are into motor sports bring an ATV/motorcycle. Firearms aren't allowed but air rifles are and there are rabbits, quail, etc for small game hunting.

Once you get a little ways from the town, all the land is open and you can use it for recreation.

To sum it up, most places cater to a "retirement" age crowd. This place is based on a younger group and not about spending money, but getting out and doing things. Plus Mexico has great beer :)

Anyway good luck! I hope to see you around sometime.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Reader Case Study (Light): Crossroads...why am I still working?
« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2015, 08:56:46 AM »
My biggest fear is that I wouldn't be retiring to do anything in particular.  My only hobbies are Coursera, cycling, videogames, and watching sports.  I'm amicably divorced and at this point I'm not at all interested in dating...maybe later.  I love being in exotic locations (for a while), but I abhor air travel, so I don't really travel much now or plan to travel much in the future, except perhaps road trips around North America.

Specific questions:
Am I an idiot to keep working?
How hard is it to sell a house and move to a new house?  I've only moved into a house once.

Thanks for reading!

1. Stop working right now.

2. Spend some time relaxing and looking at where you want to move to.

3. Spend some time finding a real estate agent and sell the house/move if you want to.

4. Go on a road trip to see some sights/places that interest you. Use the time to consider what you'd like to do with your freedom.

5. Even if you think of nothing you can then find a job doing something you enjoy part-time or full-time. I bet you'll think of something to do.

Congrats on savings/investing so much!

-- Vik

Guizmo

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Re: Reader Case Study (Light): Crossroads...why am I still working?
« Reply #16 on: February 15, 2015, 09:15:49 AM »
I would take some time off or start working part time to discover what you really like to do.

You can always go back to work.


clarkfan1979

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Re: Reader Case Study (Light): Crossroads...why am I still working?
« Reply #17 on: February 15, 2015, 10:44:15 AM »
My only advice would be to make sure that you sell the house before you retire. Selling a 600K house might be more difficult than you think because the number of buyers that can afford a 600K house is not that large. Right now the economy is doing well, so I would think now would be the time to sell. If things slow down in a couple years, I think selling a 600K could be difficult, unless you don't mind having a fire sale.

Do some slow travel before figuring out your next phase. Slow travel would be more cost effective if you can dump the huge expensive house before you leave town.

GoCubsGo

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Re: Reader Case Study (Light): Crossroads...why am I still working?
« Reply #18 on: February 15, 2015, 11:33:49 AM »
I would take a 3-6 month sabbatical and see if that focuses your priorities.  I took one in my mid thirties and realized I liked to work and have challenges (I went back to work 2 months into a 4 month sabbatical).  You may gain a different perspective on your current company or working in general.  Use that sabbatical to test out a few locales and see what type of activities/locals/food etc. appeal to you.  I personally don't think your spending is all that bad based on your income so I would focus on cutting things that really don't have much impact on your daily life.  You've worked hard at your corporate life, now work hard planning your post-work life and you should have a great retirement.

Guitar Brian-  I'm looking up La Ventana now. It  sounds pretty amazing and your enjoying it at the age of 26.  Nice job!

Retire-Canada

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Re: Reader Case Study (Light): Crossroads...why am I still working?
« Reply #19 on: February 15, 2015, 11:55:20 AM »

Then drive to La Ventana, Baja C.S. Mexico from November to April.

I've spent probably 9-10 months combined in La Ventana over 5-6 winters and been to Baja 75% of my winters for the last couple decades.

It's an amazing and amazingly easy place to visit. A small RV or better a travel van if you are solo is a good choice.

La Ventana is windy [hence the kiteboard and windsurfer scene] so unless you love wind I'd explore all over Baja. Consider the first winter down there as a sampler platter and then each successive winter go explore specific areas that interested you from previous trips.

Here are some La Ventana pics:https://www.flickr.com/photos/vikapproved/sets/72157622923295200/

Here are some other Baja photos:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/vikapproved/sets/72157612656271448/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/vikapproved/sets/72157604003400655/
https://www.flickr.com/photos/vikapproved/sets/72157603997077952/

I like to camp, bike, kayak, surf and kiteboard hence the focus of my photos. If you enjoy reading and socializing or just about anything you can find like minded folks wintering in Baja to hang with.

-- Vik

Guesl982374

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Re: Reader Case Study (Light): Crossroads...why am I still working?
« Reply #20 on: February 16, 2015, 06:46:08 AM »
Your question is actually the same for everyone on this forum: If money is taken out of the equation, what is my "purpose" in life? Everything absorbing our time from birth is preparing to earn money and then being good at earning money. But what happens if I don't actually need to earn any more money? What is my purpose? It isn't a question of what I want to do with my time. It's a question of purpose. Now THAT'S a question for consideration.

+1 This is the real reason you haven't quit yet. Its psychological, not financial. I recommend livingafi.com, he has a lot of great posts about the psychology of FIRE.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2015, 10:19:10 AM by Liberty Stache »

KD

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Re: Reader Case Study (Light): Crossroads...why am I still working?
« Reply #21 on: February 16, 2015, 07:54:35 AM »
I would empty one room of my house and put ONLY the things I REALLY REALLY want to keep in it.  Once I found out how much space that would take up I would rent a storage unit, install said 'stuff' there.  Get rid of everything else that isn't needed to live temporarily and leave the house somewhat staged.  List the house for sale.  Get myself a small camper van and travel the country.  Make my way back for the house sale.  See where I wanted to land semi-permanently and rent if it's not constant travel until I was able to find a right-sized house for myself. 

On the airplane travel.  If I wasn't a huge fan of it, I'd make a long slow two flight trip to Europe.  Buy/Rent a car/camper while there and spend a few years traveling all around the region.  Sell the camper and fly myself back to where-ever the next base camp was going to be.  By this time you're either going to want to resettle in a permanent or semi-permanent home or love the travel life so much that you downsize the storage even further or ditch it all together and buy an RV and travel full or part time.

Doing camper/RV/car traveling will also allow you to more easily take kitteh along w/you!

You have options.  You might even want to keep the house if there is a market in your area for executive home rental and either manage it yourself or hire a prop manager.

Why ARE you still working?

Edited to add:  You could also sell your home and buy a condo to have as home base and then travel out from there.  Leaving your 'stuff' in the condo instead of a storage unit.  This is by far more expensive but depending on what your real travel times will be, it's still a good option.  Understand any specific condo association laws FULLY b4 buying in - try attending a few HOA meetings if you can pre-purchase.  Even if you do go condo, you can POSSIBLY do a sub-let if you are going on an extended trip or even do some executive level weekly/monthly rent outs for shorter hauls.  Of course, before you buy with that intent you must know if these are an option in the condo you are attempting to buy.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2015, 09:14:26 AM by KD »

JoJo

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Re: Reader Case Study (Light): Crossroads...why am I still working?
« Reply #22 on: February 16, 2015, 11:32:20 AM »
If you're really averse to air travel another way is to take trains to a port city and then a one way repositioning cruise.  You can often go from east coast to europe, west cost to australia or asia, florida to south america.  If you can find a companion this can be a slow & cheap way to get around  (I have found these for as low as $50 a day but remember mandatory tipping of $12.50/day).  Assuming you don't drink alot of alcohol, this will cover daily activities & all of your food.  Expect aobut 14 days from US to europe. 

I'm counting down to my ER... about 14 more months.  I probably have enough now but I'm building that extra cushion so I can splurge on travel.

YTProphet

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Re: Reader Case Study (Light): Crossroads...why am I still working?
« Reply #23 on: February 16, 2015, 02:22:31 PM »
You sound like a prime candidate for a negotiated severance. You should go over to Financial Samurai and read his ebook on getting paid to quit.

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Re: Reader Case Study (Light): Crossroads...why am I still working?
« Reply #24 on: February 16, 2015, 02:49:17 PM »
You're still working because of inertia. Go for the ER! You'll find plenty to do. And if you got bored, it's likely you could take on contract work consulting or something.

boarder42

  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Reader Case Study (Light): Crossroads...why am I still working?
« Reply #25 on: February 16, 2015, 02:56:27 PM »
why are you guys trying to cut his expenses.  he can very easily live exactly as he is now forever.  and not work 1 more day again. 

Austin

Retire already.