Author Topic: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?  (Read 2154 times)

CalBal

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Hiya, been following MMM for a bit, and decided to take the plunge. So here goes.

Current Situation: 42yo, single, no kids (other than furry ones). I live in Utah, but am not planning to for the long haul. I've always lived below my means, but am not really Mustachian (in my opinion). I am struggling with making a decision about whether to stay at my current employer or not. More details below the numbers.

Gross Salary/Wages (2017): $89,491

Deductions:
     401k: $17,898
     HSA: $500
     health insurance/dental/vision: $321

Adjusted Gross Income: $70,772

Taxes:
     SS: $5,497
     Medicare: $1,286
     Federal: $9,874
     State: $3,541

Current expenses (all values are per month):
     Mortgage: $1,250.53
          Principal: $368.57
          Interest: $652.63
          Escrow (includes property tax & homeowners insurance): $229.33
     Extra mortgage payment: $250 to principal/mo
     Car Insurance: $52.83
     Car Maintenance/Registration: $20* (I do have to do the big 90k servicing soon)
     Charitable Contributions $20
     Electricity: $46
     Fuel: $40
     Home heating gas: $49
     Internet: $60
     Cell phone: $35
     Recycling/Trash/Water/Sewer: $54
     Sports/Rec: $100
     Food: $300
     Pets: $100 (including meds)
     Emergency Fund: $200
     *I do spend more than this but I have not been in the habit of itemizing everything. However, these are the knowns (more or less)

Assets:
     401k: $236,700
     Roth IRA (Vanguard index funds): $68,000
     Taxable investment acct (Vanguard index funds): $15,800
     ESPP stocks: $6,900 (just put in a sell order for about 90% of these - long term capital gains)
     Capital One 360: $9,400 (1% APY, dumb, I know)
     checking: $6,900 (also dumb, I know)
     2007 Toyota Yaris with 90,000 miles: KBB says around $3,500 to sell it- HA! this car is the best, this seems low. I plan on keeping it FOREVER (or at least 10 more years)

Liabilities:
     Mortgage: The original loan amount was $224,000 on a home purchased for $280,000 (20% down) initiated June 2016. Current principal $214,181 at a 3.625% interest rate, on a 30 year fixed loan. However, paying extra toward the principal at a current rate of only $250 extra/mo seems to make the payoff in 16 years rather than 29 according to my amortization spreadsheet.

     No cc debt, car loans, or student loans.

The nitty gritty:

I saved up the above nest egg in ~about~ 6 or 7 years. Prior to that I was living below my means (I did have a small student load for a few years after graduating college, and I bought my car new 10 years ago, financed (and paid off in 2 years at an accelerated rate), but not saving aggressively (early on in my adult life I didn't have a ton of extra cash, and later I just didn't. mea culpa.) However, other than those two things (student loan and car) I have never really lived with heavy debt, carried cc debt, or lived very extravagantly. My home is the 2nd one I've purchased in my life, the first was with a partner with whom I am no longer with (we bought it as tenants in common and sold it (at a profit) when we left California, prior to splitting). I never intended on staying in Utah for the very long term, but when I bought my current house it was unclear what my future plans would be and it seemed like a reasonable course of action, the population here is increasing (and expected to at a significant rate for years), the RE market here is reasonably robust (the house is in a good area but not crazy expensive so I should be able to sell without issue unless something drastic happens with the economy). I don't regret buying it, I love living in it.

However.

My job. It isn't exactly the  dumpster fire I call it in the subject line, but it might as well be. I dread going to work. I start dreading it on Sunday. It is stressful (I work in consulting), and thinking about work ALL the time, and not in a good way. When I am there I find it hard to motivate myself. Though I do make a *great* salary (don't get me wrong) I am increasingly convinced it isn't worth it. I've been with the company 10 years (!) so my benefits (like vacation time) are somewhat better than some of my peers, but I am not convinced it is worth it.

The spreadsheet calculators suggest that if I stayed the course I would hit the break even point for FI in just THREE YEARS. Can this be right? I currently (and have for a few years) contribute the max to my 401k at nearly 18k (company does a 0.5% match on up to 6% (so essentially they contribute 3%), put $5,500 into my Roth IRA, funnel $2,400/yr into my "emergency" account (Capital One 360) and usually contribute extra to my taxable account (this year I had some home repairs (not unexpected from the home inspection before I purchased, so my discretionary contributions may be somewhat lower this year). This is astonishing to me, as my assets would be far less than the 1 million or so I have been led to believe I would need to retire. They (the banks) say you need something  like 80% replacement of your current income for retirement right, but I am already only living on something like 50-60% of it, with *NO* frugality at all. Between my 2 retirement accounts, the 401k and the Roth IRA, I have just over $300,000, in addition to the equity in the house and the liquid assets in the other accounts in the amount of around $39,000.

I desperately want to quit my job. Desperately. I have been saying it for months. Years, maybe. The longer I wait though, the worst it gets, the more unhappy I become. Stress is at an all time high. It is unlikely I would get another job in exactly my same field, and even if I did, I would likely not get paid as much (I still work for the same office in CA and still get paid the same!).

Is it reasonable for me to even contemplate this? For my sanity? Is it worth taking a lower paying job, even a much lower paying one, in a slightly different field probably, maybe in a different (cheaper?) part of the country, for my health and peace of mind, even if it means I have to work longer to retire? Should I do it? Would you do it?

And then - what should I be doing in addition? It bothers me a bit that so much of my net worth is tied up in a 401k that I can't access for almost 20 years. It's possible I am just looking for someone to push me off that ledge.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and any thoughts and suggestions you may have. And the face punches.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2018, 09:26:32 AM by CalBal »

MDM

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2018, 11:57:57 AM »
The spreadsheet calculators suggest that if I stayed the course I would hit the break even point for FI in just THREE YEARS. Can this be right?
Maybe.  Depends primarily on
- your expenses in retirement
- actual investment returns

Good news is that it appears your federal taxes will drop ~$1000 due to the new tax law.

See below for a projection that includes
- additional ~10% spending under "miscellaneous"
- use of tIRA instead of Roth IRA
- other guesses based on the numbers in the OP
and arrives at ~4 year 9 months to FI.

You could compare with what you did and adjust as seems appropriate to you.  But the investment returns will remain unknowable.

In any case, "keep up the good work!" seems as good advice as any.

Paycheck frequency:AnnualAnnual
Paycheck ItemsEarner #1Earner #2Annual
Gross Salary/Wages
$89,491$0$89,491
Pretax Health/Dental/Vision Ins.$321$0$321
Employer-sponsored HSA$500$0$500
FICA base salary/wages
$88,670$0$88,670
401(k) / 403(b) / TSP / etc.$18,500$0$18,500
W-2 Box 1
$70,170$0$70,170
Subtractions for AGIAnnualAnnualAnnual
Traditional IRA$5,500$0$5,500
1040 AGI
$64,670
Payroll TaxesAnnualAnnualAnnual
Social Security$5,498$0$5,498
Medicare$1,286$0$1,286
Income Taxes
Federal tax$7,2722018, S, item.$7,272
State+local tax$3,079UT state calc'n$3,079
Total income taxes$17,134$17,134
Monthly
Income before other expenses$3,961$47,536
Monthly Average ExpensesComments
Mortgage$1,022Input to Item. Ded.$12,259
Property Tax$179Input to Item. Ded.$2,152
Home/Rent Insurance$50$600
Car Insurance$53$634
Car Maintenance, Registration, etc.$40$480
Charitable contributions$20Input to Item. Ded.$240
Electricity$46$552
Emergency Fund$200$2,400
Fuel/Public Transport$40$480
Gas/Oil for heating$49$588
Groceries$300$3,600
Internet$60$720
Miscellaneous$160$1,920
Pets$100$1,200
Phone (cell)$35$420
Recycling/Trash$54$648
Sports/Recreation$100$1,200
Non-mortgage total
$1,486$17,834
Total Expense
$2,508$30,093
Total to invest$1,454$17,443
Summary:
"Gross" income$7,458$89,491
Income taxes$1,428$17,134
After-tax income$6,030$72,357
IRA+401k/403b/TSP/457$2,000$0$24,000
HSA$42$0$500
Living expenses$2,534$30,414
After-tax investable$1,454$17,443
Time to FI?:
Guess at time to FI4.75years
Safe Withdrawal Rate4.00%percent
Real return on tax-deferred investments5.00%percent
Real, after tax, return on taxable investments4.25%percent
Current Savings
Taxable stocks & bonds$30,000
Tax-deferred (e.g. trad. IRA/401k)$236,700
Roth + HSA$68,000
Projected Savings at Retirement
Taxable$126,278
Tax-deferred (e.g. trad. IRA/401k)$423,622
Roth + HSA$88,343
Total projected stash$638,243
Projected Expenses in Retirement
Non-loan, non-work expenses$17,834
Annual non-tax retirement expense$17,834
Income taxes$33
Total$17,867
Total loan principal due at FI$190,922
Stash needed for retirement @4.0% SWR$637,595
Have $647 extra.


Filing Status11=S, 2=MFJ, 3=HOH
Adult #1
Age42
Full-time student?00
AGI$64,670
Std. Deduct.$12,000
Act. Deduct.$13,157
Exemption$0
Taxable$51,513
1040 Tax$7,272
Tax after n-r credit$7,272
Net Tax$7,272
Mtg. Int. (approx.)$7,6861000000
State tax$3,079UT
Prop tax$2,152
Charity$240
Item. Deduct.$13,157
VersionV10.05

Loans:Orig. Prin.Orig. LengthCurr. Prin.Yrs leftRate
Mortgage$224,00030$214,181283.625%

Nick_Miller

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2018, 08:01:01 PM »
@CalBal, yes with $300K in retirement funds, I think you have some career choices, especially since you clearly despise the place.

You could do the "coast" model that some folks talk about, where you stop contributing to the retirement fund Stache, let it roll, and take a lower stress job that's sufficient to let you earn enough to pay your expenses through your 40s and maybe 50s, even if you don't actively invest a lot more money during that time. Assuming 7% market return average until age 59, balance could jump up to around $800K range (just an estimate).

And really, with your low expenses, I'd think you could still probably contribute more $ in your taxable investments or liquid savings during your "coast years" to give you a few years of expenses, so that maybe you could pull plug on work in your early/mid 50s. Again, just an estimate.

I think you have options.



« Last Edit: January 12, 2018, 06:42:25 AM by Nick_Miller »

freeree

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2018, 10:14:03 PM »

Is it reasonable for me to even contemplate this? For my sanity? Is it worth taking a lower paying job, even a much lower paying one, in a slightly different field probably, maybe in a different (cheaper?) part of the country, for my health and peace of mind, even if it means I have to work longer to retire? Should I do it? Would you do it?


CalBal:

A few years ago when stress was at an all-time high in our office one of my coworkers, who is now a friend, decided she couldn't take it any longer and decided she'd rather be a janitor. Long story short she talked to a lot of janitors and finally concluded that a) she'd miss her job (she finds it mentally stimulating) and b) she'd be taking on a physically demanding job with it's own demands/stresses for significantly less money.

I'm in a similar position to you (minus the $$$) and since I haven't discovered my passion I'm reading lots of books, talking to retirees and making a list of hobbies/activities which I'd like to pursue.

Wouldn't it behoove you to decide whether you're running away or towards something?

Good luck



 
« Last Edit: January 12, 2018, 07:36:23 AM by freeree »

CalBal

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2018, 12:04:32 PM »

Maybe.  Depends primarily on
- your expenses in retirement
- actual investment returns

Good news is that it appears your federal taxes will drop ~$1000 due to the new tax law.

See below for a projection that includes
- additional ~10% spending under "miscellaneous"
- use of tIRA instead of Roth IRA
- other guesses based on the numbers in the OP
and arrives at ~4 year 9 months to FI.

You could compare with what you did and adjust as seems appropriate to you.  But the investment returns will remain unknowable.

In any case, "keep up the good work!" seems as good advice as any.


@MDM Thank you for your number crunching on my behalf. Although there are unknowns, and I don't even have a full picture of what my *really* realistic expenses are (even right now, though I am going to try tracking for a few months to really flesh that out), it is really helpful for me to see that I am not completely off my rocker going down this line of thinking. We are so indoctrinated to think we have to work work work our whole entire lives, and then maybe, maybe we then get to play. It certainly takes a complete reevaluation to see that there might be other, reasonable ways of living, once one has decent savings and investments.

And that's an interesting tidbit about taxes! I had assumed that I would not itemize even this year (although I haven't looked into it yet), because of the much larger standard deduction with the tax change. Last year I only had a partial year of deductions from the house, and it wasn't enough to make itemizing worth it (it was just about sixes). I will certainly be paying attention to what will minimize my tax bill!
« Last Edit: January 12, 2018, 12:06:36 PM by CalBal »

CalBal

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2018, 03:04:51 PM »
@CalBal, yes with $300K in retirement funds, I think you have some career choices, especially since you clearly despise the place.
@freeree Is it that obvious? 😂

Quote
You could do the "coast" model that some folks talk about, where you stop contributing to the retirement fund Stache, let it roll, and take a lower stress job that's sufficient to let you earn enough to pay your expenses through your 40s and maybe 50s, even if you don't actively invest a lot more money during that time. Assuming 7% market return average until age 59, balance could jump up to around $800K range (just an estimate).

I wasn't sure if the 300k was enough to do something like that, but I think you are right. I think I could very likely be perfectly fine on a salary enough half of what I make now. And it might not even come to that. (I am going to dig a little deeper into my finances now that it's the weekend and really look at it.) It feels weird to stop contributing to the 401k, because of all the pressure out there to invest for retirement, but provided WWIII doesn't happen, even a crash wouldn't make much of a difference for a long time, because I'm still 20+ years away from being able to use those funds anyway.

Perhaps a different subforum or question would be a better place to ask (or an actual financial adviser, though I shudder to think about paying for one), but in the scenario where I quit this job and move to something lower paying and less stressful, what is the smart thing that does one do with their 401k? It would need to get rolled over into something, but I have never rolled one over at all (I didn't have one at all until 10 years ago at this, my current job, so I am a bit fuzzy on how that might play out.)

Quote
And really, with your low expenses, I'd think you could still probably contribute more $ in your taxable investments or liquid savings during your "coast years" to give you a few years of expenses, so that maybe you could pull plug on work in your early/mid 50s. Again, just an estimate.

Probably true. I haven't been very aggressive, even now, but I have been holding back a bit for the few largeish home improvements to my house that I knew would be coming up, and that I didn't want to finance.

Quote
I think you have options.

Although it sounds a bit like fishing, that's really what I wanted to hear! And to get confirmation that I am not crazy for thinking about this.

mozar

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2018, 07:13:11 PM »
Nope, not crazy. I'm thinking of doing something similar. You would just be semi retired, not retired. I've been identifying my interests to see what kind of low income jobs I could do in a few years when I hit my semi retirement number.

I rolled over a 401k into an IRA once. It wasn't hard.
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Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2018, 11:20:45 PM »
Shop around.  Worst case, you learn that your current employer is better in the market than you thought.  Best case, you land a far better job.  Second-worst case is you land a job with a much better place that you can stay at longer and still reach FI.  No downside.

swashbucklinstache

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2018, 10:00:03 AM »
@CalBal, yes with $300K in retirement funds, I think you have some career choices, especially since you clearly despise the place.
@freeree Is it that obvious? 😂

Quote
You could do the "coast" model that some folks talk about, where you stop contributing to the retirement fund Stache, let it roll, and take a lower stress job that's sufficient to let you earn enough to pay your expenses through your 40s and maybe 50s, even if you don't actively invest a lot more money during that time. Assuming 7% market return average until age 59, balance could jump up to around $800K range (just an estimate).

I wasn't sure if the 300k was enough to do something like that, but I think you are right. I think I could very likely be perfectly fine on a salary enough half of what I make now. And it might not even come to that. (I am going to dig a little deeper into my finances now that it's the weekend and really look at it.) It feels weird to stop contributing to the 401k, because of all the pressure out there to invest for retirement, but provided WWIII doesn't happen, even a crash wouldn't make much of a difference for a long time, because I'm still 20+ years away from being able to use those funds anyway.

Perhaps a different subforum or question would be a better place to ask (or an actual financial adviser, though I shudder to think about paying for one), but in the scenario where I quit this job and move to something lower paying and less stressful, what is the smart thing that does one do with their 401k? It would need to get rolled over into something, but I have never rolled one over at all (I didn't have one at all until 10 years ago at this, my current job, so I am a bit fuzzy on how that might play out.)

Quote
And really, with your low expenses, I'd think you could still probably contribute more $ in your taxable investments or liquid savings during your "coast years" to give you a few years of expenses, so that maybe you could pull plug on work in your early/mid 50s. Again, just an estimate.

Probably true. I haven't been very aggressive, even now, but I have been holding back a bit for the few largeish home improvements to my house that I knew would be coming up, and that I didn't want to finance.

Quote
I think you have options.

Although it sounds a bit like fishing, that's really what I wanted to hear! And to get confirmation that I am not crazy for thinking about this.

I bolded the part about not being able to use 401k funds until you are of age. Just wanted to say that's not strictly true, through Roth pipelines and 72 SEPP.

For 401k sometimes it is a better deal to leave it in the 401k and sometimes it is better to roll it over, mostly based on what investments are available in your 401k and what currently hidden fees they might charge non-employees. If you get to this point please do some reading but don't stress out about it really. I agree that rolling over can be extremely easy and calling Vanguard/Schwab etc. saying you want to do just that will be great - you're bringing them business so they will be very, very helpful.

Also, while you have a job is the best time to look for a new job. If it were me and you weren't going to an industry that definitely pays $40k for people I wouldn't be shy about asking for a similar or even higher salary than what you current have. You never know if you don't ask and no need to give it away for free. You might get to be the "overpaid" one in the office :).
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CalBal

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2018, 03:17:36 PM »

A few years ago when stress was at an all-time high in our office one of my coworkers, who is now a friend, decided she couldn't take it any longer and decided she'd rather be a janitor. Long story short she talked to a lot of janitors and finally concluded that a) she'd miss her job (she finds it mentally stimulating) and b) she'd be taking on a physically demanding job with it's own demands/stresses for significantly less money.


@freeree What did your friend end up doing? Did she stay with the same firm in the same capacity and "stuck it out"? Did she move to a different firm but still doing more or less the same thing? Did she quit and do something else (but not janitoring)?

Quote
Wouldn't it behoove you to decide whether you're running away or towards something?

Yes, well you are quite right. However, the status quo cannot remain, so it might be a moot point. Part of my dilemma is that I am not sure what I would want to do instead, so I don't have a clear "running to" right now, just an acute "running away" mindset. I don't think I could go back to my original career (the one I had when I first graduated from college), I don't think I have the physical stamina anymore, and in addition, the current political climate make it less likely that I could find something that would even be worthwhile. So I am left trying to figure out something similar, but different, but that maybe takes advantage of my current skillset (and I am very good at what I do). I'm considering going to a career councilor for a few sessions to try to suss it out. I feel like I need some professional, objective advice and guidance that I can't get from coworkers or friends or family. A few years ago I would have never paid for such a thing, but right now, it feels like the right thing to do, since I've just been spinning my wheels on my own.

swashbucklinstache

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2018, 04:52:32 PM »
     2007 Toyota Yaris with 90,000 miles: KBB says around $3,500 to sell it- HA! this car is the best, this seems low. I plan on keeping it FOREVER (or at least 10 more years)

This isn't helpful but I also wanted to say I have a 2007 Yaris with 88,000 miles and have the same plan!
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With This Herring

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2018, 06:17:54 PM »
Whether at this job or another job, you really should start maxing out your HSA with contributions made via payroll.  Contributions made via payroll save you income tax AND payroll taxes (Social Security and Medicare).  If you hold onto the HSA until official retirement age, you can either use it like a standard tIRA or you can submit medical expenses you have saved up over the years and withdraw the funds tax-free.  HSA funds can be invested.  An HSA is an amazing tool.

...unless you meant to write "FSA," which is an entirely different animal and not nearly as useful.  :)
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freeree

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2018, 07:11:03 PM »
Quote
@freeree What did your friend end up doing? Did she stay with the same firm in the same capacity and "stuck it out"? Did she move to a different firm but still doing more or less the same thing? Did she quit and do something else (but not janitoring)?

CalBal: Hmmm. We work for local government (janitors too); my friend didn't do anything. Her current goal is to retire in 1-2 yrs, same job as a few years ago. Real Estate market recovered, so some job-related stress alleviated. Our jobs aren't so bad, good benefits, pension etc.

Quote
I'm considering going to a career councilor for a few sessions to try to suss it out. I feel like I need some professional, objective advice and guidance that I can't get from coworkers or friends or family. A few years ago I would have never paid for such a thing, but right now, it feels like the right thing to do, since I've just been spinning my wheels on my own.

A few years ago I was assigned to a boss from hell. Upper management didn't seem to care since my boss was a team player and produced results. Finally the situation deteriorated to a point where I'd be dreading Monday, and it was only Saturday. The prick retired a couple of years ago. His parting shot was to leave something for the replacement supervisor. It was a 2-3" thick file full of p/work: my productivity stats, performance reviews, emails, his scribbled notes about me etc.

After that painful episode was over I started to hate my job, I found it boring and repetitive. One of my coworkers had a side-gig and was willing to advise me. I looked into the life/career coach 'thing' and even attended a group session (an interesting, uncomfortable eye-opener). Based on this one group session I realized I didn't know what I wanted (duh, stating the obvious), and ultimately decided to concentrate on other aspects of my life.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2018, 09:50:09 AM by freeree »

CalBal

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2018, 02:48:47 PM »
Nope, not crazy. I'm thinking of doing something similar. You would just be semi retired, not retired. I've been identifying my interests to see what kind of low income jobs I could do in a few years when I hit my semi retirement number.

To be honest I can't really imagine being really retired anyway. Just doing something less stressful and more enjoyable.

I rolled over a 401k into an IRA once. It wasn't hard.

Excellent! Good to hear. :)

I bolded the part about not being able to use 401k funds until you are of age. Just wanted to say that's not strictly true, through Roth pipelines and 72 SEPP.

Oh really? Also good to know, for future consideration...

Also, while you have a job is the best time to look for a new job. If it were me and you weren't going to an industry that definitely pays $40k for people I wouldn't be shy about asking for a similar or even higher salary than what you current have. You never know if you don't ask and no need to give it away for free. You might get to be the "overpaid" one in the office :).

Oh absolutely agree about the best time for looking for a job is while you still have one. As much as I fantasize about being laid off (not kidding, not even a little bit), or just rage quitting one day, my intent is to be prudent at least...

CalBal

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2018, 02:57:52 PM »
This isn't helpful but I also wanted to say I have a 2007 Yaris with 88,000 miles and have the same plan!

Woot woot, high five! They really are the best car, aren't they? I have the little 3-door hatchback with manual transmission, regularly get ~40MPG combined, and can easily move 6' long lumber and the like without having to tie the hatch down. Not to mentioned comfortably fitting 4 adults, although some contortion is required to get into the back seat. (Look, if you don't want to sit in the back of my egg then YOU drive.) The only expense other than scheduled maintenance I've had in 10 years is a new set of tires this year (which should have really been a few years ago, but live and learn!!) It's like a TARDIS - definitely bigger on the inside. I don't know why everyone doesn't drive one if you are an average sized human being. On a whim I looked at the KBB comments about the '07 and '08 Yaris hatchbacks and I couldn't find any bad ones. A few minus points from very tall people, which is understandable, but still. What other models can claim that? (Corollas maybe...)

CalBal

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #15 on: January 14, 2018, 02:59:38 PM »
...unless you meant to write "FSA," which is an entirely different animal and not nearly as useful.  :)

Eep... I meant FSA - we don't have HSAs available through my company. :( It seems reasonable to put a little bit of money into it each year, which I think I will spend, but only that much, since the excess is lost each year.

CalBal

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #16 on: January 14, 2018, 04:39:22 PM »
Shop around.  Worst case, you learn that your current employer is better in the market than you thought.  Best case, you land a far better job.  Second-worst case is you land a job with a much better place that you can stay at longer and still reach FI.  No downside.

Well... I already know that my current employer is near the top of my particular industry, at least in terms of the stress factor. Other similar big firms have more stressy policies, which I have heard from others in similar roles at other companies. So I don't think I can do better in a lateral move, really. (Compound this with the fact that I make a California salary, with a California COLA, but I live in Utah - I moved here 2 years ago but surprisingly (happily) didn't take a pay cut, but the COLA is built right into my pay grade. So a lateral move probably already results in a lower pay, even if just a little.) Moving to a smaller firm might be better, but will certainly be lower paying, and isn't really certain to be less stressful (I don't personally know anyone working for a small firm in the same capacity to ask).

So I am really looking at the second worst scenario, and also probably moving to a different sector altogether, but one which makes me happier overall (less stressed) that I can stay with for a longer period of time, even if it means "having" to work a little longer. Unless it is significantly less though, I think it will only make a few years difference.

Some people would say JUST SUCK IT UP! I have been sucking it up, for probably 5 years. I've gotten to the point where my health and mental well being are more important than money or being able to retire earlier.

Overall you are right though - there really isn't a downside.

FINate

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2018, 05:22:13 PM »
Some people would say JUST SUCK IT UP! I have been sucking it up, for probably 5 years. I've gotten to the point where my health and mental well being are more important than money or being able to retire earlier.

Apologies if I'm stating the obvious here, but regarding freeree's comment above, isn't this what you're running to? What you do for paid employment is of secondary concern compared to health and mental well being. A job is just a way to make money, does not define who you are...I think viewing it in this way is freeing.

ysette9

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #18 on: January 14, 2018, 08:59:09 PM »
From my perspective you have so many more choices than “suck it up” or, honestly, I’m not sure what you see your other choice as being. Maybe earning less money? How about a sabbatical for 6-12 months? Can you rent out your house for something approximating your expenses? How about a year off slow traveling or just sitting on a beach in a low-cost location to contemplate the rest of your life? Maybe a lower stress job, like you contemplated. Are you tied to your location? What if you moved someplace with better job prospects or lower COL or just something different? You have plenty of FU money so there is no reason to stay in a sucky job.
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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2018, 10:50:18 AM »
Will your degree allow you to something different? I am not sure why your options are only to go to more stressful employers doing the same exact thing.

Is there room in your $280k house to take on a roommate? Seems a bit of extra cash flow would either speed up your path to FI, or allow you to coast for much longer if you don't want to work.
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CalBal

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2018, 12:28:55 PM »
Some people would say JUST SUCK IT UP! I have been sucking it up, for probably 5 years. I've gotten to the point where my health and mental well being are more important than money or being able to retire earlier.

Apologies if I'm stating the obvious here, but regarding freeree's comment above, isn't this what you're running to? What you do for paid employment is of secondary concern compared to health and mental well being. A job is just a way to make money, does not define who you are...I think viewing it in this way is freeing.

No apologies necessary, and I think we often need to be reminded of this. Yes, I suppose it is true. While I am in a sense running away from a bad situation I am also running toward (in theory) a better one. However, The bad situation is a known, while the better one is an unknown, so I think it is natural to view it that way. (Because in this case, it isn't as though I am saying, "I really want to do X!", it is rather, "I really DON'T want to do Y!".) But viewing it this way IS freeing, so thank you!

Will your degree allow you to something different? I am not sure why your options are only to go to more stressful employers doing the same exact thing.

Yes, well, sort of. Which is to say, I can use my skills in a different industry, but still doing the same sort of thing. Funny thing is, my degree is not in anything related to what I actually do in real life. At this point, I have been out of school for so long, it would likely be difficult to go back to doing that and expect a reasonable level of pay.

Is there room in your $280k house to take on a roommate? Seems a bit of extra cash flow would either speed up your path to FI, or allow you to coast for much longer if you don't want to work.

Short answer: no.

Sadly, no. Although Utah is a relatively LCOL state, the Salt Lake City area is not. (Well, it is cheaper than the SF Bay area, which I moved here from! However, relative to a lot of places in the US it is not.) It's considered a starter home in a good area (a nice residential urban area, established and close to both downtown (2ish miles), The university (also 2ish miles) and desirable several retail and shopping areas (1ish mile). It's pleasant and safe, and if I had to sell tomorrow I definitely could (part of the reason I bought in this neighborhood... some of the more far flung areas of the valley are cheaper, yes, but also have lousy commutes and in some cases it can take a long time to sell a house out there). My house is a little bungalow, 2/1, although the bedrooms are tandem because the second bedroom is an add-on (originally was a 1/1!), so it really only is good for a single person or a couple, or a couple with a baby, say (the nursery could be the walkthrough bedroom). I have a full basement, which many places here in Utah don't have, but a lot of the houses in my neighborhood do, because it is an old neighborhood, and a lot have been renovated to have finished basements so that's an extra 1-2 rooms and 800-1000' of living space, but mine is unfinished. This makes it desirable in its potential for upgrading, but I'm not sure I want to invest the capital to make that happen (since I certainly don't need that space, and it would take a long time potentially to make it back. And I am definitely not financing it!)

From my perspective you have so many more choices than “suck it up” or, honestly, I’m not sure what you see your other choice as being. Maybe earning less money? How about a sabbatical for 6-12 months? Can you rent out your house for something approximating your expenses? How about a year off slow traveling or just sitting on a beach in a low-cost location to contemplate the rest of your life? Maybe a lower stress job, like you contemplated. Are you tied to your location? What if you moved someplace with better job prospects or lower COL or just something different? You have plenty of FU money so there is no reason to stay in a sucky job.

Well, earning less money, yes. Which potentially means delaying retirement (or, if we're really being honest, when I feel comfortable with the amount of money I have saved). A sabbatical would be lovely, but I am not sure it is possible with my current job, as they need someone to do what I do, and I think they would have to hire someone to do it (I'm the only one), so it is likely a non-starter. I'm not tied here at all, I have no family here, except that I have this house (and have only been in it for 1.5 years), but my views about home ownership have definitely changed and I don't think it would be that difficult for sell in this area and market. I could likely rent it out for enough to pay the mortgage (but not the extra I have been throwing at it). I do have animals though, which complicate things, and 2 are elderly. I would probably wait for them to pass rather than uproot their whole lives, unless I did something like rented an RV long term or something.

ysette9

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2018, 01:01:22 PM »
If your job really does suck then I wouldn’t be too worried about them replacing you if you took a break. If they don’t offer a sabbatical then just quit. I expect you are skilled enough to be able to get another job at some point down the line.

Your animals are a consideration and I understand not wanting to uproot them now. How about setting a plan now for doing something wild once they do pass? If you have the FU money to quit at any moment, can you change your perspective at work and not care as much? Can you use that mental freedom to push back on some of the worst aspects of the job?
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CalBal

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #22 on: January 16, 2018, 11:35:21 PM »
Quote
@freeree What did your friend end up doing? Did she stay with the same firm in the same capacity and "stuck it out"? Did she move to a different firm but still doing more or less the same thing? Did she quit and do something else (but not janitoring)?

CalBal: Hmmm. We work for local government (janitors too); my friend didn't do anything. Her current goal is to retire in 1-2 yrs, same job as a few years ago. Real Estate market recovered, so some job-related stress alleviated. Our jobs aren't so bad, good benefits, pension etc.

@freeree TTBH, now thinking about the job as @ysette9  suggested (I think?), in the very short term, I think that thinking about the job as something I actually don't need might help mitigate some of the stress. Maybe. We'll find out! I do think if I stop caring just a little bit, the suckyness might be slightly less sucky if I stress out less about being the absolute best (on top of job related stress). Maybe I start thinking certain aspects really aren't worth worrying over. Maybe I decline to work late at night or on the weekend, just to meet a deadline someone else turned into a problem. What are they going to do, fire me? (Ha! They aren't going to fire me, honestly, unless they shut down that office and/or group. I am really good at what I do and I am sure they are hoping to take advantage of me for as long as possible and not have to hire a new person and get them up to speed on all our projects).

A few years ago I was assigned to a boss from hell. Upper management didn't seem to care since my boss was a team player and produced results. Finally the situation deteriorated to a point where I'd be dreading Monday, and it was only Saturday. The prick retired a couple of years ago. His parting shot was to leave something for the replacement supervisor. It was a 2-3" thick file full of p/work: my productivity stats, performance reviews, emails, his scribbled notes about me etc.

Holy butts that sucks. At least I don't have to deal with that. It is more corporate politics and corporate generally tightening the screws on us that is the source of pain. Plus forcing us to be in the seller/doer model of business. I personally think it is BS. I am a doer! Let me do what I am really good at! Don't make me chase jobs, internal or external. Grrrrrrrrrrr.

After that painful episode was over I started to hate my job, I found it boring and repetitive. One of my coworkers had a side-gig and was willing to advise me. I looked into the life/career coach 'thing' and even attended a group session (an interesting, uncomfortable eye-opener). Based on this one group session I realized I didn't know what I wanted (duh, stating the obvious), and ultimately decided to concentrate on other aspects of my life.

I imagine my experience with life/career coaching would be similar (as in, uncomfortable, eye opening...). I also don't really know what I want, which is part of the reason I was thinking of doing it. A friend of mine recommended 2 books: Designing Your Life (Burnett & Evans) and Now What? (Fortgang), and I might just try them first (I already have the former checked out from the library). I contacted a highly recommended life/career coach person on Friday and they haven't gotten back to me - maybe it is a sign I should wait a little longer, lol.

CalBal

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #23 on: January 16, 2018, 11:49:25 PM »
If your job really does suck then I wouldn’t be too worried about them replacing you if you took a break. If they don’t offer a sabbatical then just quit. I expect you are skilled enough to be able to get another job at some point down the line.

Your animals are a consideration and I understand not wanting to uproot them now. How about setting a plan now for doing something wild once they do pass? If you have the FU money to quit at any moment, can you change your perspective at work and not care as much? Can you use that mental freedom to push back on some of the worst aspects of the job?

I think... in the very short term (1-2 months)... I just stay the course and resist the urge to rage quit. I am going to see what I can get my expenses down to. For example, last year was a bit of a disaster, eating out a LOT because I never had time (it felt like) to cook, as a result from working all hours of the day and night, sporadically. I think... just do that with the knowledge that I don't need this job, and decline to do the things I really despise (working after hours and on weekend for no pay, for example). I originally had a plan to go to my boss at the start of the year and ask to work 24 hour/week (which is still considered full time, so benefits), but... it would be better (financially) if I can swing it full time right now and save as much as possible.

Both my old girls probably only have 1-2 years I imagine. My dog is 15 (!) and though she is still spunky with nearly no serious medical issues she is 15 (!). She is a medium breed, so that is pretty old. My elderly cat is only ("only") estimated to be 14, but she might be older, based on some tests, and she doesn't eat very well anymore, so as much as I don't want to admit it I think she is not long for this world.

I like the idea of setting a plan to make some big change once they are no longer with me. One idea I had (before I bought this house) was to actually buy a little trailer and drive around the country and work remotely. I am not sure if it would really work out - I work with a lot of BIG data sets and need a decent internet connection to get anything done - but if it did it would be really cool. I could maybe even in a year or two rent the house (via a management company maybe, I think I would be able to rent it for enough to make the mortgage plus management fees) and do something like that, and still work. Or maybe even sell. Though I like the house a lot, I am not beholden to it.

Thanks for giving me some food for thought... :)

ysette9

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #24 on: January 17, 2018, 06:00:11 AM »
It sounds like you have some nice daydreams rattling around in there. Sometimes the daydreams alone are enough to get me through a tough afternoon. I always have something to look forward it. Good luck sorting this out.
I feel like I have been pointing people a lot recently to LivingaFI blog. He spent a good amount of time working crappy jobs with lots of stress and long hours on his way to FI. It might be beneficial for you to read about his account. Check out his series on the website about his whole work career. When he reached his number and decided to stop caring as much he pushed back on the unreasonable aspects of his job. He was surprised how much management was willing to accommodate his requests when he was willing to walk away. He describes a complete lower shift that must have been really liberating.

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