Author Topic: Career Advice on Most Logical Way to FI Balancing Money/Happiness - 24 Year Old  (Read 1535 times)

Prairie Moustache

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Life Situation: 24 year old junior environmental engineer working in environmental consulting in Saskatoon Saskatchewan. I live with one roommate and travel to Edmonton to visit my girlfriend in school about once a month. She also visits Saskatoon.

Gross Salary/Wages: $55,600

Other Ordinary Income: Per diems from fieldwork: about $5000/year

Adjusted Gross Income: $66,600 ish. I don’t have an exact handle on this until I get my T4 and taly up my per diem cheques.

Taxes: Average income tax rate is 24.69%, so take home pay is about $42,000.

Current expenses:
I've attached an image of my budget spreadsheet.
A little more detail may be warranted here, but this is the bulk of it. It gets tricky accounting for per diems and expense claims using budgeting software.


Bank account: $9200

TFSA: Maxed out TFSA (current value $50,500). I have an assertive mix of bond, US, CAN and EAFE low cost ETF’s as well as a few REITS and renewable energy utilities in here and $10,000 in a High Interest Savings Account (HISA) earning about 0.75% last I checked.

RRSP: $6900. I contribute to this bi-weekly as I am paid. This is with Wealthsimple with an aggressive mix of ETF’s.

HISA: $6000 in a HISA with Wealthsimple earning about 1% interest. Not sure where to put this money yet.

Other Investments:

$6900 of Bank of Montreal shares that I have been DRIPing ($200/month) from a certificated share gifted to me.

$1200 in company shares through a purchase plan that allows you to purchase at 85% of the average strike price over the last five days, or something similar to that. I purchase $200 of these per month.

Car: I own a used 2012 Ford Focus hatch with a depreciated value of $9000.

Liabilities: $1100 owing on my credit card. I pay the balance every month and use this for work expenses as well as most purchases, but I am considering abandoning the “collect all Air Miles” mindset.

Networth: $86,400

Specific Question(s):

I have an upcoming decision to make between remaining in my current job in consulting or potentially moving into “industry” and receiving roughly a 40% raise.

Current Job
I work in consulting on a variety of projects which often require substantial travel (all expenses are paid, and rental vehicles are used avoiding depreciation on my vehicle). This job provides lots of flexibility, however I spend roughly half my summer in northern Manitoba treating water that has the same pH as vinegar, which causes me to miss out on numerous summertime activities.

This job also would allow me to move to various parts of the country, girlfriend approval pending of course. With this job, I’ve managed to attain an estimated savings rate in the high 60%’s, but I could see this dropping dramatically as I plan to change my living situation in the near future and live on my own.

Potential New Job
I am currently seconded to a mine where I completed an internship in the environmental department. It has been indicated to me that there will most likely be a position here for me.

This job is located approximately 45 minutes from home by car and I would be working a 4-10 schedule, working from 7 to 5 Mon. to Thurs., meaning my days would be 6:15 to 5:45. I could arrange to enter a carpool but this is not guaranteed. Considering increased costs (car depreciation, commuting time, cell phone bill since it will no longer be covered), my savings rate would bump up to around 75% or higher, all else equal. I would also be home every evening and weekend with this job.

I’m having trouble framing the math of becoming FI around 35/40 with the costs to my personal satisfaction/health that I would expect to incur during my career there.

Any insights/personal experience or ways of mathing/looking at this “dilemma” would be helpful!

P.S. I’m still looking for work that would allow me to commute via bike/foot on a daily basis.

« Last Edit: January 25, 2018, 02:57:21 PM by Prairie Moustache »


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You may want to post the in the Ask A Mustachian thread. It’s more of a life dilemma/quality of life dilemma rather than a numbers dilemma. That may explain why no one on the Case Studies thread has responded yet.

That being said, My two cents on your life dilemma is that the second job doesn’t seem like it’s guaranteed, based on your wording. It almost sounds like there’s a slight possibility that a full time position may not exist following the internship?

I guess ultimately it depends on what you value — having summers free? Shorter commute? Are you and gf getting married? In which case where is she likely to work? Do you prefer mining work over water quality work? Which job will allow you to develop areas of work interest?

Start by figuring out what you want in a job and/or career. Then decide which offer is a better fit for you.


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Welcome to another Saskatoonian!!!!

Was in the internship at Colonsay????

I won't ask other items cause don't want to give away information if you're not comfortable with it. But if you need info let me know. I interned at one of the PCS mines in 2012-2013 then began working for a mining company in 2014 instead of going the consulting route although I did multiple summer of consulting work in Uni.

Prairie Moustache

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Glad to hear from another Saskatonian! I did my internship at PCS Allan Division in 2015 - 2016. I'm thinking of posting in the Saskatoon meetup thread I saw to see if we could get that going again (looks like it hasn't been active since 2016), if you want to connect over there!