Author Topic: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?  (Read 9731 times)

CalBal

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~6 MONTH UPDATE at the end of the thread~

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: August 02, 2018, 04:03:31 PM 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.

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 :).

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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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.  :)

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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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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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... :)

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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.

LivingaFI.com

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #25 on: January 20, 2018, 05:45:20 AM »
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.

Agree with @FINate here. 

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #26 on: January 20, 2018, 06:06:17 AM »
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.

I highly recommend Now What.  It's basically a series of career coaching sessions put into a book.  I think you would derive great value from it.  In fact, I would read and go through its exercises before consulting a counselor or coach, simply because you can do a ton yourself (frugal, too) before reaching out to others and it will make the ultimate coaching sessions or whatever you do more valuable anyway.  I don't buy many books, especially these days (yay libraries), but that's one of the few I bought and would buy again. 
« Last Edit: January 20, 2018, 06:20:22 AM by Finances_With_Purpose »

freeree

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #27 on: January 20, 2018, 12:04:07 PM »
I highly recommend Now What.  It's basically a series of career coaching sessions put into a book.

FWP I have my copy in hand, and it fell open to 'Moonlighting' pg 155 (interesting). I'm going to resist the urge to start at pg 155, and instead start with the Intro. Thank you

CalBal: It seems you've resolved your present dilemma <yea!> and you are considering the care of your older pets. I recall an IT guy, at the group job coaching session I attended, stressed-out by his company's productivity goals. Quantity not quality. Same in our organization, all tasks are considered equal. I don't know what an IT professional does, but I could relate!

CalBal

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #28 on: January 28, 2018, 07:44:56 PM »
Thanks @ysette9, I am going to check out LivingaFI.com. :)

And thanks @Finances_With_Purpose, I like this way of thinking... I also just got Now What? from the library. If it still seems valuable (to continue with the entire 90 day "program") when it needs to be returned (early March), I might buy it as well. I never did hear back from the career coach I contacted anyway, so maybe that's a sign... (and they came so highly recommended too...)

@freeree - I feel like corporate views us as replaceable little cogs in a wheel, only values for our utilization (that's our buzz word), so yeah, I hear ya.

And now for a tangent question... I just opened a tIRA for 2017 but haven't allocated the funds yet. I made a post in the investors forum but didn't garner very much interest (too vanilla I guess). My current stock/bond allocation among ALL my accounts (401k, RothIRA, and taxable investment (not including the new $5,500) is 86% stocks/14% bonds. The stocks are a mix of index funds (whole stock market, international stock market, and balanced index fund), plus a target date index fund, all in Vanguard, and then some managed funds in my 401k (don't have as much flexibility there unfortunately... until I quit (bwa ha ha ha). I had asked over there if I should simplify these funds (I'm not sure I really need to keep what I have and consolidating might be better), but even moreso I am interested in if y'all think I am too high in bond allocation - is it advisable to move more to stocks/put 100% of the new tIRA fund in a stock index fund? Someone over there was of the opinion that, given my age (going on 42) I should be less conservative. Any thoughts?

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #29 on: January 28, 2018, 08:16:24 PM »
Opinions vary on this matter.  Personally I like MMM's generic allocation of 2 parts stock to 1 part bonds, which is more "conservative" rather than less.  Since I'm also sympathetic to the idea that interest rates are supposed to rise (making bonds go down), I can see keeping the average bond length lower than usual. 

The usual trade off in stocks vs bonds is that stocks are more volatile.  If you quit and the stock market drops 50% in the next 12 months, will you be comfortable having started with 96% in stocks instead of 86%?  You'd be looking at a portfolio value of 52% of the original, and selling stock to pay the bills even though the stock is on sale. Not trying to say the proposal is wrong, just wanting you to visualize what it means.  I've been through a couple of crashes - it's worth noting that stocks really can drop a lot.  Visualizing is not the same as being there but it's better than nothing.  Best of luck regardless of portfolio decision.

You do have a lot options though.  If you really hate your job, maybe finding a better one is a good idea even if it takes longer to FIRE.  In the end, a judgment call.  Explore as much as you can.

One advantage of wanting to leave is that you could slack off.  Would the stress go down if you just allowed yourself to do a less careful effort?  Or took more risks in refusing to accept extra work?


Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #30 on: January 28, 2018, 10:45:41 PM »
Would love to hear what, if anything, you take away from it @freeree   



CalBal

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #31 on: February 02, 2018, 03:47:35 AM »
Opinions vary on this matter.  Personally I like MMM's generic allocation of 2 parts stock to 1 part bonds, which is more "conservative" rather than less.  Since I'm also sympathetic to the idea that interest rates are supposed to rise (making bonds go down), I can see keeping the average bond length lower than usual. 

The usual trade off in stocks vs bonds is that stocks are more volatile.  If you quit and the stock market drops 50% in the next 12 months, will you be comfortable having started with 96% in stocks instead of 86%?  You'd be looking at a portfolio value of 52% of the original, and selling stock to pay the bills even though the stock is on sale. Not trying to say the proposal is wrong, just wanting you to visualize what it means.  I've been through a couple of crashes - it's worth noting that stocks really can drop a lot.  Visualizing is not the same as being there but it's better than nothing.  Best of luck regardless of portfolio decision.

Thanks @Bicycle_B for your input. I will admit that my current allocation seems ok to me, even though multiple people (including our company's "investment advisor" firm they apparently hired for the benefit of all of us?) keep telling me I am "too conservative" based on the allocation and my age, I guess? I didn't start investing until just after the last crash, so I didn't directly live through it (well, I lived though it, but it didn't impact me, except that I probably got a great deal on the stocks funds when I first started...) Although a precipitous drop like that makes me a little ill, I actually don't really intend on drawing from retirement accounts for many years (so, rather, I would be more semi-retired (working a lower paying but also (hopefully) lower stress job in a lower COLA, maybe working fewer hours, and contributing less to retirement and savings a few years down the line (but making enough for all daily expenses, etc.)). So in that scenario I should be able to weather the storm if I don't panic because I'd still be in it for the long haul for years to come. :)

Now, the stock market has been going gang busters, of course, which makes me inherently nervous, and also I think moving funds from stocks to bonds right now would result in a feeling of "missing out" (although it probably is a good time to do so)... but the new $5,500 in the 2017 IRA is not allocated yet - it seems like less activation energy (on my part) to put those in a total bond index, so maybe that's what I'll do. It will up my bond allocation a smidge, although not a lot, and will free up mental space to tackle other things in my life. Like the job...

You do have a lot options though.  If you really hate your job, maybe finding a better one is a good idea even if it takes longer to FIRE.  In the end, a judgment call.  Explore as much as you can.

One advantage of wanting to leave is that you could slack off.  Would the stress go down if you just allowed yourself to do a less careful effort?  Or took more risks in refusing to accept extra work?

I have been looking a bit. I might put in for one I just found that is similar type work but in a totally different corporate type of environment. I'm not 100% qualified for it (maybe 80%?) but maybe they won't find their ideal candidate... heavens knows we have hired people in my office who were not exactly what we were looking for. (Sometimes it has worked out and sometimes not.) Not sure it is worth it, but it couldn't hurt to try.

I have started slacking off just a little bit, and it is glorious. Being less concerned about "OMG EMERGENCY" deadlines (that are often self-created and not even really real to begin with (it isn't as though we are in the business of doing brain surgery)). It's definitely a short term stress defuser (although I am starting to wonder when I am going to get a call from my boss about my "performance"). Regardless, I don't think they would fire me (they need me too much to just do that outright), and even if they did, I guess my choice would be made for me! So there really is no downside to this right now...

Igelfreundin

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #32 on: February 02, 2018, 07:02:03 PM »
I have struggled with not loving my job in the past. Adding with not worrying so much about doing a stellar job (which is a terrific idea by the way), use the time to explore options. Things I did: worked through "What Color is Your Parachute?" which is dated but useful; asked friends and mentors what jobs they thought I'd be good at; did informational interviews with other people in my field; considered temping."

You are in a good position to make changes if and when you want. Also, remember if you try a different career track and it doesn't work out, you can return to the same type of job or try something else. Very few choices are truly permanent, except kids and tattoos, I think.

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retireatbirth

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #33 on: February 25, 2018, 07:04:29 AM »
Wow, I'm in the exact same predicament, also with about 300k and hating my job, but just a few years younger. Similarly I'm overpaid since I brought my HCOL salary to a LCOL city. It really feels like handcuffs!!

Have you made a decision yet?

CalBal

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #34 on: February 27, 2018, 08:27:12 AM »
Hi @retireatbirth ,

You're not kidding about the handcuffs! Money isn't everything, but it sure is nice not to worry about it! I've decided to use my FU money and not give a f**k for the time being (I am trying really hard to not be a perfectionist because perfectionism isn't really valued and it just stresses me out to try to do things as perfectly as possible in the amount of time/budget I often have), and start looking around for a lateral-ish career change while I try to figure out if I want to change careers altogether. I have to say it does make things easier to look at your job and not care as much because you don't *need* it. Before I started reading MMM and the forums I didn't realize I actually had FU money and could back off a little. Now I say, what are they going to do, fire me? They are not going to fire me unless corporate closes our office, my immediate office needs me and the work and support I provide. I even got a "raise" (honestly it's a COL adjustment, not a raise) this year when I didn't think I was going to. (I have gotten one ever year when sadly probably half of our office has not over the last 5 or 6 years. I think it is a bribe to keep me just happy enough to prevent me from moving.) (Hahahaha! It's somewhat terrible but I sometimes fantasize that we will be downsized because our office isn't super profitable. I would probably get severance (been there 11 years almost) and the decision would be made for me. I don't think many people wish for a layoff.) It would be lovely if I was truly FI (maybe I am in some sense and for some areas of the country, but I still have one elderly pet who isn't cheap).

I did start looking for other jobs. Unfortunately, since I brought my HCOL salary with me when I moved here (which has been awesome), all equivalent jobs are lower pay. I did find one that on paper looks perfect - the top salary range is somewhat lower than what I current make but not to much. However, I got through the entire online application process and on the VERY LAST PAGE there was a notice about the job being hired at the STARTING salary of the posted range. Which is quite a bit lower. And, IMHO, a complete bait and switch. The job is for a senior position and you don't pay senior people that salary. Well, I went ahead and applied anyway, and I included my current salary (I wasn't going to, but I changed it at the last minute!) I may have shot myself in the foot my doing that, but ce la vie. :( The opening closed last Thursday and I haven't heard anything yet...

I also started the book Now What? to try to figure that out. I haven't gotten very far into it yet though.

I started a journal too, but I expect it will not be very targeted and ramble all over the place. It's here, if you want to comment on any of my ridiculous decisions! I'd be interested to hear what you ultimately decide as well, since we are in a similar situation!

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/so-long-and-thanks-for-all-the-fish/

ysette9

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #35 on: February 27, 2018, 09:11:50 AM »
Thanks for the update. It sounds like you are in a little better place than before. I hope you are able to keep perfectionist tendencies at bay and be more relaxed at work.
As for the other job you applied for, at least by giving your current salary now you can avoid any bull shitting around and not waste your time if they aren’t willing to pay fairly. Keep us posted.

retireatbirth

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #36 on: February 27, 2018, 05:08:23 PM »
Hi @CalBal - I can relate so much. We actually had some layoffs and people were getting severances. I was hoping I'd get it, but my area is performing well so it's unlikely. I've been looking for a position for almost a year now and now that I'm over $300k, I'm quoting a number 20% lower than what I make now. I've run the scenarios in Excel and it won't make that much of a difference in time to FIRE. I'm deeply unhappy in my job so I just need to get out. I've decided to sacrifice salary at a minimum, but still on the fence about just quitting.

CalBal

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #37 on: March 04, 2018, 11:37:55 AM »
Hi @ysette9 , you're right, at least there will be no bullshitting around! It has been 6 business days since the closing date, and nothing yet. Though I did go back and look at the (automated) response I got when I submitted and it does seem as though I should get some sort of response (even if it is "thanks but no thanks"). The waiting is killing me though.

I've had a chance to think about this a little more as well. If (and it's a big if), I did get offered and took the job at the lowest end of the rate schedule, it would be half of what I make right now. Which sucks. (I still think that is way undervalued for the position.) However, I would also pay a lot less in taxes. Right now it feels like I pay a lot in taxes. I just about max my 401k contribution (though I've been contributing to a Roth IRA not a tIRA up until this year, oopsie), and I still pay a lot in taxes. I own a home, but it isn't even worth it to me to itemize the mortgage interest deduction because my interest rate and total mortgage are "relatively" low and the deduction I could take with them is less than the standard deduction - and that was last year when the standard deduction was lower. I guess you have to buy a "too expensive" house for this trick to really work. Silly me. What I can't figure out is how much taxes I would be on the hook for next year if I was only making half of my current salary. If I could figure that out, it might make me feel somewhat better about taking a much lower paying job. I wouldn't be able to throw as much at the retirement funds, but I wouldn't be living paycheck to paycheck by a long shot, and this seems like an interesting exercise. Does anyone know of an easy way to do this? Can I do it with the downloadable spreadsheet? TurboTax? (This just occurred to me as I was typing this. Now that I am thinking about this I really want to know.) It just kills me how much I pay in taxes. Really.

The other thing I have been thinking about is how people calculate SS income. I do think SS will be around when I turn "official" retirement age, even if it isn't funded to the extent that it is right now. However, it is unclear to me how your benefit is calculated. The website mentions an assumption that you will be making your current salary right up until retirement age. However, what if half of the years between your starting point and "retirement" point are very low and the other half are high? Even right now I have a 22 year work history, but almost half of those years are very low salary (high school, college, and a little over a year of very low paying internships). The other half are with my current company (so, a pretty sweet income that has risen every year). I thought I had read somewhere it was an average of some number of your highest paid years, but I can't find that for the life of me on the SS website (all I see is "average salary"). Does anyone know the answer to this? Although I am not counting on SS, I have started including it in FIRECalc, and I'd like to know how it supposedly would work in the (far) future.

CalBal

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #38 on: March 04, 2018, 11:43:13 AM »
Hi @CalBal - I can relate so much. We actually had some layoffs and people were getting severances. I was hoping I'd get it, but my area is performing well so it's unlikely. I've been looking for a position for almost a year now and now that I'm over $300k, I'm quoting a number 20% lower than what I make now. I've run the scenarios in Excel and it won't make that much of a difference in time to FIRE. I'm deeply unhappy in my job so I just need to get out. I've decided to sacrifice salary at a minimum, but still on the fence about just quitting.

Hi @retireatbirth , yeah, all the lateral move-type jobs here are pretty much 20% lower than my current salary. :( Curse my California salary! I mean, it's been great, but I am a tad spoiled I guess.

I'm also deeply unhappy, although not giving a shit as much has definitely helped in the stress department. If you have the FU money, try it. (I think I have figured out why some of my coworkers have always been less stressed than I...) I still worry but not nearly as much. And now I have been thinking, maybe I could stick it out for 4 years (ugh) and then be able to retire FREE AND CLEAR. My FIRECalc sims yield 100% success if I keep on keeping on for that period of time. OMG what I wouldn't give for that to be able to happen today!

Dee18

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #39 on: March 04, 2018, 01:07:07 PM »
You can go to the SS web site and use their calculators to compare various earnings scenarios and their effect on your future benefit.

CalBal

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #40 on: March 04, 2018, 01:32:24 PM »
@Dee18 I have been on the SS site, but it seemed as though the calculator assumed you would be drawing SS as soon as you "retired" (and not paying into the system). Is that not true?

MDM

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #41 on: March 04, 2018, 02:14:12 PM »
@Dee18 I have been on the SS site, but it seemed as though the calculator assumed you would be drawing SS as soon as you "retired" (and not paying into the system). Is that not true?
There are various assumptions either built in or selectable, depending on which version of "the SS calculator" one uses.

For probably the best estimate of an individual's social security benefit, see https://www.ssa.gov/OACT/anypia/anypia.html.  The 'SocialSecurity' tab in the case study spreadsheet matches anypia fairly well.

CalBal

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #42 on: March 04, 2018, 03:50:09 PM »
@MDM I think I was using whatever the default was. Thanks for those links! I hadn't remembered the case study spreadsheet had a tab.

Hm, hold up. It seems to be predicated on having 35 years worth of earnings. What if you don't have that many?
« Last Edit: March 04, 2018, 04:03:05 PM by CalBal »

MDM

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #43 on: March 04, 2018, 05:33:57 PM »
@MDM I think I was using whatever the default was. Thanks for those links! I hadn't remembered the case study spreadsheet had a tab.

Hm, hold up. It seems to be predicated on having 35 years worth of earnings. What if you don't have that many?
The spreadsheet?  Just enter fewer than 35 years. :)

CalBal

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #44 on: March 04, 2018, 05:42:03 PM »
The spreadsheet?  Just enter fewer than 35 years. :)

OOOOH. I thought it needed 35, so would want to average in a BUNCH of extra 0s.

Cool. :D

CalBal

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #45 on: May 10, 2018, 11:52:03 AM »
I'm back! And have additional questions for you smart Mustachians. ;)

I've been making big strides in figuring out my actual spend and figuring out how to minimize that, in addition to (starting to) figure out some of the things that are causing me major stress in my life (and eliminating them). I don't have the actual numbers in front of me at the moment though, so will put that aside for now...

My real reason for posting is because I have just learned I actually have an HSA, NOT an FSA as I had originally thought. Or rather, years ago, I did have an FSA (a very small one). But since changing my health plan to a high deductible plan for 2017 apparently I now have an HSA. And I have been paying ZERO attention. :( :( :(

I only contribute via payroll deduction $500/year, and it looks like I can't change that until open enrollment. However, when I look at the plan manager's website, it appear you can make your own contributions as well (outside of payroll deduction). Is that true? Any HSA gurus out there? How does that work then? Do you get a tax form at the end of the year that puts that money into some "pre-tax" bucket, or something like that?

Also, it appears the plan charges a fee of $4.50/month, regardless of balance. This is a plan offered through my employer, so I don't really get a choice. However, I am wondering if this is typical?

Man, do I feel dumb. :P My only defense is that my life has been a bit of a wreck the past few years and some things have slipped through the cracks. :(

Nevertheless, thank you in advance!!

MDM

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #46 on: May 10, 2018, 01:38:09 PM »
I only contribute via payroll deduction $500/year, and it looks like I can't change that until open enrollment.
That's too bad, and seems employee-unfriendly.  There are places at which You can change the amount you contribute to your HSA at any time during the plan year.

Quote
However, when I look at the plan manager's website, it appear you can make your own contributions as well (outside of payroll deduction). Is that true?
Yes.

Quote
How does that work then? Do you get a tax form at the end of the year that puts that money into some "pre-tax" bucket, or something like that?
Something like that.  You do get form 5498-SA for contributions, but not until after the April filing deadline, so you have to keep your own records.  You fill out and file form 8889 with your return.  For 8889, remember that pre-tax contributions via payroll deduction go on line 9, while contributions outside of payroll deduction go on line 2.

Pre-tax payroll deductions never appear on form 1040 (because they are already subtracted to get form W-2 box 1), and non-payroll deductions are subtracted on form 1040 line 25.

Quote
Also, it appears the plan charges a fee of $4.50/month, regardless of balance. This is a plan offered through my employer, so I don't really get a choice. However, I am wondering if this is typical?
For perhaps more than you ever wanted to know, see http://www.madfientist.com/ultimate-retirement-account/,
http://thefinancebuff.com/how-to-rollover-an-hsa-on-your-own-and-avoid-trustee-transfer-fee.html,
Health savings account,
New HSA provider Lively offers investments for $30/yr fee,
Is HSA Bank + TD Ameritrade still the best HSA choice?,
Best HSA (2017), and
HSA Search - Find HSA Providers

CalBal

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #47 on: May 11, 2018, 11:47:55 AM »
Thank you @MDM this is all very useful information! You are very knowledgeable! :)

CalBal

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #48 on: August 02, 2018, 03:58:09 PM »
UPDATE

It has been a little over 6 months since I posted my original case study. In that time I:

  • Stopped prepaying my mortgage
  • Started re-balancing my investments to include slightly less bonds, and add more international exposure in stocks (currently 88%stock/10%bond/2%cash)
  • Changed my 401k fund to a more reasonable S&P500 index fund
  • Grocery spending is WAY down, although pet spending is higher - this is ok
  • Applied to 2 job opportunities, interviewed but was not selected for one, cancelled the interview on the second
  • Came to the conclusion that doing the exact same thing (or nearly so) for half the money was not smart (hence cancelling the second interview)
  • Senior Cat passed away in February; Doggo is still going strong, although continues to be the biggest line item in my budget
  • Fully funded my 401k to the limit (or will have in about 3 weeks) so that if I want to jump ship immediately, I can
  • Mortgage outstanding has decreased from 214,181 to 210,766
  • Assets (401k, RothIRA, tIRA, taxable investment acct, checking, MM, ESPP, HSA) has increased from 343,700 to 368,650 (a delta of ~25k)
  • When looked at cumulatively, since Feb, I've been hovering around a 50-60% savings rate, which is amazing
  • I've bowed out of most of my regular social activities - I feel like I was trying to do too much; I do feel better (less stressed) because of it
  • I'm considering seeing a therapist or councilor about (primarily) my anxiety

I continue to have anxiety but applying the principal of not giving a F at work had been helping. A new project is ramping up that is giving me palpitations though, so we'll see what happens.

My current plan is, for the moment, stick with the job and continue socking away money. If I can keep up the savings rate, and the market cooperates, I might be able to crack 400k by the end of the year. We'll see.

I still have fantasies about just quitting. cFIREsim and the case study spreadsheet both agree that if I continue with the status quo I have 4 years to go to be completely FIRE (which is amazing!). I am actually probably closer, as I would likely sell my house in my MCOL area and move to a lower COL area, thus decreasing housing costs (and pull the equity out of my house). However, they also agree with what others here have said in that I could "retire" (from my current career) and coast and still get there (although work longer) as long as I could find a job that would bring in something like 30-40k/yr. This is higher than my spend, but would allow savings to still occur. Although I am not ready to pull the trigger exactly on this (as evidenced by freaking out about the 2 job possibilities a few months ago), it is somewhat comforting, although hard to acknowledge!

I've thought about quitting and moving back east. Spending some time at my parents' place, spending some time at my sister's. They have both extended the offer, they know how stressed out I am. I could help them both out a lot, and they both have space, until I figured out where I wanted to go. The thing that is stopping me, really, is Doggo. She is doing ok right now (although just had an expensive dental) but she is old! I don't want to stress her out with a cross country move (if I don't have to) or living with animals she doesn't know, plus it is very comforting to know that I can pay for whatever she needs right now without batting an eye. So the plan is to keep in a holding pattern for the time being until/unless her situation significantly changes. When she does pass (whenever that will be, presumably within the next 3 years, potentially a lot sooner), my expenses will decrease by a not insignificant amount.

If the perfect opportunity presented itself to me (job-wise), even if it were a lot lower paying, I would grab it. I'm still keeping my eyes open. But I have decided it isn't worth it to accept a much lower salary to do basically the same thing. My opinion may change based on how my current job is going though.

That's the story, we'll see where we are in 6 more months.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2018, 04:05:13 PM by CalBal »

ysette9

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Re: Case Study - Quit My Dumpster Fire of a Job and Still Retire Early?
« Reply #49 on: August 03, 2018, 05:56:17 AM »
Thank you for posting an update. While not perfect, it sounds like you have improved your situation quite a bit.
Congratulations on that. I hope you can continue to not give a fuck at work while socking away the savings. Four years will hopefully be there sooner than you realize.