Author Topic: Need advice -- keep working or work to get my wife on board with FIRE?  (Read 2757 times)

YevKassem

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Hi everybody!  So here's the story:  my wife and I have a solid plan to retire comfortably at a "normal" age of 60 +/-.  We've been chugging along doing all the "normal" people things -- both work 40 hr./week jobs, bought a nice house in a good neighborhood, had a couple of kids, replace our cars every 5-6 years, etc. and we are fairly frugal for "normal" people.  I stumbled on the MMM blog a couple of months ago, read all the way through it, and it has been a total paradigm shift for me.  Why should I wait until 60 when I could retire so much sooner with only a few minor tweaks?  I don't "hate" my job, but I do dislike the 3 hour round-trip commute and the drudgery of sitting in a beige cubicle all day every day (I'm now able to work from home 2 days/week and that has helped tremendously).  I've recently been discussing the idea of FIRE with my wife and she is not on board.  She likes her job and has a short commute and is very risk-averse.  I've run the numbers with her and pointed out that we could retire in 4-5 years and/or she could keep working (since she loves her job) and I could either quit or do something else, but I think she feels that as long as I am young(ish) and healthy, there's no reason I can't or shouldn't want to continue to work.  I just can't see sitting in that same cubicle for another 20 years waiting to retire.

Here are my stats:

Age:  39
Wife's age:  36
Kids:  2 of 'em (ages 8 and 6)
My income:  $125K (gross)
Her income:  $100K (gross)
House:  Worth $450K, owe $170K @ 2.5% fixed
Cars:  a 2016 that is paid for and a 2017 with $12K remaining on the note @1.9%
Aside from the one car and the house, we have no other debt and about $550K saved in retirement accounts
Annual expenses:  around $80K

I think at this point, I think I have 3 options:

1.  Suck it up and keep working
2.  Find a new job closer to home that isn't so mind-numbing.  Relocating is not an option for a variety of reasons.
3.  Somehow convince my wife that retiring sooner rather than later is doable and would be fun

I can probably stomach doing #1 for about 4 more years to get the house paid off and drastically lower our living expenses.  As far as #2 is concerned, I've made a major career change once and I guess I'm a little gun-shy about doing it again.  I don't know what I'd want to do and would hate to choose a field that I like even less and make less money at it -- any suggestions?  As for #3, I don't want to nag her too much and have this be a constant source of stress.  It's hard because I'm the only member of the family who is wanting to make a change.

Thanks for reading and I appreciate any advice you can offer.


Novik

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Re: Need advice -- keep working or work to get my wife on board with FIRE?
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2018, 01:34:09 PM »
I think you hit most things from https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/case-studies/how-to-write-a-'case-study'-topic/ (except details on expenses), but please confirm and add anything missed. (especially expenses!)

Not sure how you plan to retire in 4-5 years with 80k spend (= 2million @ 4%) and only 550 in the bank, even if you could add 100k/year. Guessing some combo of lowered expenses, work expenses going away and the mortgage being finite? Showing your math would be welcome.

If you are keen to implement MMM principles and quite your job, while your wife wants to work, another option is to become a SAHD. Get the kids to/from school, cover PD days, sick days, holidays etc, and in-source other things to reduce spending. (You'd want to make sure she was on board to still max 401k, IRA etc and save from her paycheque and not just spend what you avoided spending.) Not necessarily your idea of retirement, but it gets you out of the cube and free up more time for your family outside work/school hours.

YevKassem

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Re: Need advice -- keep working or work to get my wife on board with FIRE?
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2018, 01:53:31 PM »
Thanks for the comment.  Expenses would decline by paying off the mortgage ($24K), the car payment ($7K), daycare expenses ($11K), work incidentals and less outsourcing of stuff around the house that I could do on my own ($5K).  That gets us down to $38K/yr. for what our annual needs would be in the future (I forgot about health ins., so I added that in). I figure I would have to save around $200K in the next 4 years for both of us to be able to pull the plug completely, but she would likely keep working, so it should definitely be doable.

Full (annual) expenses are:

Mortgage (P&I): $24K (gone after 4 yrs.)
Property tax + homeowners insurance:  $5K
Home maintenence:  $5K
Health Ins:  $5K
Car loan:  $7K (20 payments remaining)
Car ins., maintenence, fuel:  $3K
Before/after care for the kids:  $11K ($0 if I quit)
Utilities (water/sewer, internet, phone, power):  $5K
Groceries:  $9K
Eating out/entertainment:  $5K
Vacations/travel:  $5K
Misc:  $1K

« Last Edit: September 20, 2018, 02:07:57 PM by YevKassem »

Cassie

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Re: Need advice -- keep working or work to get my wife on board with FIRE?
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2018, 02:10:10 PM »
Why not both work 10 years which is young and then both retire.

tralfamadorian

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Re: Need advice -- keep working or work to get my wife on board with FIRE?
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2018, 06:39:40 PM »
House:  Worth $450K, owe $170K @ 2.5% fixed

Please don't pay off that once in our lifetimes gift of a mortgage below historic inflation rates early. It will dramatically help your FIRE timeline to pay it on schedule:
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/dont-payoff-your-mortgage-club/

ixtap

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Re: Need advice -- keep working or work to get my wife on board with FIRE?
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2018, 06:50:08 PM »
Why not work another 4 years and revisit at that time? Whichever car is yours, keep it a little longer (unless you can become a one car family). Make any changes you can that don't affect the rest of the family.

Then when you are truly sick of the commute and/or your job, you will be in a financial position that it won't matter if your new career doesn't pay as well as your current one. Or even if you don't like it and you have to try again in a few more years.

In the meantime, perhaps your wife will have come to the same conclusions or one of the kids will have turned out to be amazingly good at something that requires a lot of parental attention and taxi service of Dad or goodness only knows what can happen in 4 years.


zeli2033

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Re: Need advice -- keep working or work to get my wife on board with FIRE?
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2018, 07:25:58 PM »
I dont have much to say about the actual financial specifics But I thought Id drop this here about converting your SO: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/how-to-convert-your-so-to-mmm-in-50-awesome-steps/

It is a really helpful thread, and as the converted spouse Im so grateful my hubs was patient while I got onboard. Now I manage our finances so he might be regretting it a bit but overall, its awesome :)

Laura33

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Re: Need advice -- keep working or work to get my wife on board with FIRE?
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2018, 08:06:59 PM »
Life should never be about sucking up something that makes you miserable unless you have no other choice.  You have choices.

The way you persuade people to change their mind is to convince them their life will be better if they do things your way.  So talk it through with her (preferably with wine involved) - talk about the dreams you guys have and all the things youd love to do if only you didnt have the job and the giant commute.  Talk up the SAHD idea so she can see how much easier her life would be on a daily basis, and how you would then manage the household cost-effectively and thus take on the burden of managing life on less.  But also show her.  Want to save money cooking from scratch, then you start shopping at Aldi, menu planning, and cooking for the family (probably on the weekend given your hellish commute).  Come up with fun free things to do in your spare time.  Lead by example so she can see that FIRE does not require deprivation and misery.

And be prepared for it to take time.  Be patient.  Remember: you are the one who just pulled a bait-and-switch, so you need to hear her concerns and give her time to come around.

cats

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Re: Need advice -- keep working or work to get my wife on board with FIRE?
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2018, 09:40:23 PM »
A three hour commute is NOT healthy or sustainable, even 3 days/week youre still spending 9 hours/week commuting. I would focus on that as something that has to
change.  If my husband was spending 3+ hours/day commuting I would definitely be looking to change our situation. What is your health like? If you are seeing anything alarming in your weight, BP, cholesterol...your commute is likely a contributor.

FIRE is one option, if she is really resistant what about starting with focusing on cutting expenses so that you dont need as high paying a job, which might open up more options close to home?

elliha

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Re: Need advice -- keep working or work to get my wife on board with FIRE?
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2018, 03:40:41 AM »
Why not work another 4 years and revisit at that time? Whichever car is yours, keep it a little longer (unless you can become a one car family). Make any changes you can that don't affect the rest of the family.

Then when you are truly sick of the commute and/or your job, you will be in a financial position that it won't matter if your new career doesn't pay as well as your current one. Or even if you don't like it and you have to try again in a few more years.

In the meantime, perhaps your wife will have come to the same conclusions or one of the kids will have turned out to be amazingly good at something that requires a lot of parental attention and taxi service of Dad or goodness only knows what can happen in 4 years.

This was my suggestion as well. Work the years you need to FIRE and then discuss things. When you have that much money you could for example take a job paying less, work less time or quit. If you have a healthy cushion I am sure your wife is going to be more open to you making a choice that is less about working to the max.

former player

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Re: Need advice -- keep working or work to get my wife on board with FIRE?
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2018, 04:20:07 AM »
Why not work another 4 years and revisit at that time? Whichever car is yours, keep it a little longer (unless you can become a one car family). Make any changes you can that don't affect the rest of the family.

Then when you are truly sick of the commute and/or your job, you will be in a financial position that it won't matter if your new career doesn't pay as well as your current one. Or even if you don't like it and you have to try again in a few more years.

In the meantime, perhaps your wife will have come to the same conclusions or one of the kids will have turned out to be amazingly good at something that requires a lot of parental attention and taxi service of Dad or goodness only knows what can happen in 4 years.

This was my suggestion as well. Work the years you need to FIRE and then discuss things. When you have that much money you could for example take a job paying less, work less time or quit. If you have a healthy cushion I am sure your wife is going to be more open to you making a choice that is less about working to the max.

This.  You have four years of working to start implementing stealth mustachianism (saving money on the things your wife doesn't care about or which improve her life) and converting your wife in accordance with the 50 steps thread.  Your kids will then be 10 and 12 and having a stay at home dad to ferry them around and be available to talk them through the teen and pre-teen years will be a significant lifestyle improvement for the whole family.

Finding mustachianism often seems to lead to a conversion moment.  That's great, but someone who hasn't had that conversion moment can't be forced into it, they can only be gently led by example.  Curb your immediate outward enthusiasm and give your wife time and chances are high that she will come round.  (And even if she doesn't, divorce is probably a more certain death to dreams of early retirement than average spendiness.)

In the meantime, please do look after your own health - get some exercise, get into the great outdoors regularly if you can.

reeshau

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Re: Need advice -- keep working or work to get my wife on board with FIRE?
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2018, 06:29:08 AM »
Life should never be about sucking up something that makes you miserable unless you have no other choice.  You have choices.

The way you persuade people to change their mind is to convince them their life will be better if they do things your way.  So talk it through with her (preferably with wine involved) - talk about the dreams you guys have and all the things youd love to do if only you didnt have the job and the giant commute.  Talk up the SAHD idea so she can see how much easier her life would be on a daily basis, and how you would then manage the household cost-effectively and thus take on the burden of managing life on less.  But also show her.  Want to save money cooking from scratch, then you start shopping at Aldi, menu planning, and cooking for the family (probably on the weekend given your hellish commute).  Come up with fun free things to do in your spare time.  Lead by example so she can see that FIRE does not require deprivation and misery.

And be prepared for it to take time.  Be patient.  Remember: you are the one who just pulled a bait-and-switch, so you need to hear her concerns and give her time to come around.

+1 for @Laura33 's whole comment.  You need to discuss and agree on *why* before you jump to the *what.*  And talking about what you are walking away from, without having something to go to, is a very weak argument.  When you figure out what dreams she has that are bigger than or outside work, then you will have something to build a plan around.  And, by the way, you need those, too.  While leaving a soul-sucking job sounds like enough, absence of a soul-sucking job does not equal fulfillment.  A SAHP role could do the trick, but whatever you do make sure you have spent time thinking about it and have something big to share with her, too.

YevKassem

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Re: Need advice -- keep working or work to get my wife on board with FIRE?
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2018, 02:49:20 PM »
Why not work another 4 years and revisit at that time? Whichever car is yours, keep it a little longer (unless you can become a one car family). Make any changes you can that don't affect the rest of the family.

Then when you are truly sick of the commute and/or your job, you will be in a financial position that it won't matter if your new career doesn't pay as well as your current one. Or even if you don't like it and you have to try again in a few more years.

In the meantime, perhaps your wife will have come to the same conclusions or one of the kids will have turned out to be amazingly good at something that requires a lot of parental attention and taxi service of Dad or goodness only knows what can happen in 4 years.



Thanks so much for all the positive comments. This one makes a lot of sense to me and is the direction I've been leaning. It gives me plenty of time to get my wife used to the idea of making a big change and it coincidentally lines up with the year she turns 40, so that may trigger a desire for her to want to do something different as well.

And maybe instead of quitting completely, I'll consider dusting off my old music ed. degree and try to get a teaching gig. It would be a huge pay cut, but solid benefits, summers off, and a much shorter commute might be enough to tip the scales. Any thoughts on that one from people who have been or know teachers?

whywork

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Re: Need advice -- keep working or work to get my wife on board with FIRE?
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2018, 06:26:14 AM »
OP, Reading your post, I felt like myself for a moment. Our age, Kids ages and networth are so close. What is even identical is that both of our wives don't want us to FIRE.

There are two kinds of people.

Mustachians:

- We don't like our freedom being tied up to work
- In most cases, we also find dealing with people (coworkers, bosses etc) tiring and this is often a big cause of us being unhappy at work
- We are generally frugal and clearly see the point that basic happiness doesn't grow after a certain threshold of money is spent
- We like to save, invest and get our freedom

NonMustachians:

- Want to continue to work and want to buy more; They keep spending with the idea that they will work into 60s
- They often love people interactions; infact they get energized by it
- They think of us as quitters / lazy and are often trying to change us

It is hard to convince either side. 39 is when work starts to hurt. Atleast it is for me. check out the blog by retireby40 guy, he is exactly similar to our situation and quit job at 39 and became a SAHD.

Also probably your FIRE number is causing your wife to worry. You are shooting for 1M and your expenses are already 40K or 4% of it. A little buffer would help. For scenarios like ACA goes away, paying for kids college etc...

whywork

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Re: Need advice -- keep working or work to get my wife on board with FIRE?
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2018, 06:43:34 AM »
Also you are not doing your math right but you can reach your FIRE number much earlier than 4 years. Let me show you how.

You make 125 and your wife 100. You both have 401K plans at work I assume. So already 36K is saved there each year. Do you have employer match. If so that's an additional 18K at best for both of you combined. Let's assume only one of you have employer match taking your total 401k contribution to 45K

Now your tax is calculated on a total income of 225 - 36 = ~190K. After tax (I assumed california for ease) it is 138K. Now subtracting your annual expenses you save about 58K. Add the 45k contribution to 401k to this to a total of 103K. Now per month it is 8583. Let us assume every month you invest this by buying Vanguard Target Retirement Fund or VTSAX or something like that which gives an average return of 7%. Put your starting amount as 550K in this investment growth calculator (https://www.bankrate.com/calculators/retirement/investment-goal-calculator.aspx) and adding 8583 per month compounding daily, You will reach 1M in 3 years and 1.2M in 4 years. I'm ignoring taxes on growth as 1) they are minor anyway 2) In retirement you won't be paying much taxes if you keep your expenses low.

Infact by 4th year including your home value your total NW will be 1.65M. You can downsize and move somewhere cheaper and live very comfortably

YevKassem

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Re: Need advice -- keep working or work to get my wife on board with FIRE?
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2018, 08:25:28 AM »
OP, Reading your post, I felt like myself for a moment. Our age, Kids ages and networth are so close. What is even identical is that both of our wives don't want us to FIRE.

There are two kinds of people.

Mustachians:

- We don't like our freedom being tied up to work
- In most cases, we also find dealing with people (coworkers, bosses etc) tiring and this is often a big cause of us being unhappy at work
- We are generally frugal and clearly see the point that basic happiness doesn't grow after a certain threshold of money is spent
- We like to save, invest and get our freedom

NonMustachians:

- Want to continue to work and want to buy more; They keep spending with the idea that they will work into 60s
- They often love people interactions; infact they get energized by it
- They think of us as quitters / lazy and are often trying to change us

It is hard to convince either side. 39 is when work starts to hurt. Atleast it is for me. check out the blog by retireby40 guy, he is exactly similar to our situation and quit job at 39 and became a SAHD.

Also probably your FIRE number is causing your wife to worry. You are shooting for 1M and your expenses are already 40K or 4% of it. A little buffer would help. For scenarios like ACA goes away, paying for kids college etc...

Yep, spot on and I agree with every word.

Also you are not doing your math right but you can reach your FIRE number much earlier than 4 years. Let me show you how.

You make 125 and your wife 100. You both have 401K plans at work I assume. So already 36K is saved there each year. Do you have employer match. If so that's an additional 18K at best for both of you combined. Let's assume only one of you have employer match taking your total 401k contribution to 45K

Now your tax is calculated on a total income of 225 - 36 = ~190K. After tax (I assumed california for ease) it is 138K. Now subtracting your annual expenses you save about 58K. Add the 45k contribution to 401k to this to a total of 103K. Now per month it is 8583. Let us assume every month you invest this by buying Vanguard Target Retirement Fund or VTSAX or something like that which gives an average return of 7%. Put your starting amount as 550K in this investment growth calculator (https://www.bankrate.com/calculators/retirement/investment-goal-calculator.aspx) and adding 8583 per month compounding daily, You will reach 1M in 3 years and 1.2M in 4 years. I'm ignoring taxes on growth as 1) they are minor anyway 2) In retirement you won't be paying much taxes if you keep your expenses low.

Infact by 4th year including your home value your total NW will be 1.65M. You can downsize and move somewhere cheaper and live very comfortably

You're dead on with calculation of income tax, but our payroll tax (social security and Medicare) also eat another $12K or so. Either way, we're in the same ballpark. I think where we differ on this one is in stock market growth expectations. We've had 13%+ annual gains over the past 5 years and I think there is a good chance we will see less than 7% in the near future, hence my conservative timeline. That said, I'm not making any changes to my savings, just extending my timeline a bit.

Tuskalusa

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Re: Need advice -- keep working or work to get my wife on board with FIRE?
« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2018, 03:51:06 PM »
Sounds like your job and commute are making you miserable. Could you look for similar jobs closer to home or remote. While the work would be similar, youd get 9 hours of your life back. Then youd be on track for an early FIRE, and youd have options when you get there.

harvestbook

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Re: Need advice -- keep working or work to get my wife on board with FIRE?
« Reply #17 on: September 23, 2018, 08:35:51 AM »
I'm a latecomer to MMM and I agree that you have to "Show, don't tell." While it's good for you to crunch numbers and do some internal planning, the better way forward right now is to start living the principles of what you're pursuing. Once your wife sees benefits, she might become convinced to join in, but either way, your lives become better.

I got here in my 50s, so for me, ordinary early retirement (60ish) and not FIRE is the goal. My wife is 12 years younger and is actually just starting her "real career," so to her, retirement is not even desirable, since she loves it. However, I've been an advocate of frugality and low-cost investing. We paid off her student loans and house, and then we each started investment accounts. After she saw it piling up, she became more interested, even to the point of giving up or delaying things she wants that I resist in favor of more savings (house renovations, mostly.) Still, we have been self-employed and work at our own schedules for the last eight years so I consider us "independent" if not necessarily FI.

A week ago, she calculated and printed out a yearly schedule for us to get to a million dollars and live off $40,000 a year. It took some time to let her come to her own conclusions and see the magic of compounding at work but it was worth it. Good luck.

ScreamingHeadGuy

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Re: Need advice -- keep working or work to get my wife on board with FIRE?
« Reply #18 on: September 23, 2018, 09:16:50 PM »
You spend $750 per month on groceries.  Roar- I am phone-book tearing mad!

(Everything else looks nice and normal, carry on with your dreams of early retirement.  Want to join the 2021 cohort?)

AccidentalMiser

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Re: Need advice -- keep working or work to get my wife on board with FIRE?
« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2018, 08:36:45 PM »
Sounds like your job and commute are making you miserable. Could you look for similar jobs closer to home or remote. While the work would be similar, youd get 9 hours of your life back. Then youd be on track for an early FIRE, and youd have options when you get there.

Yes, this.  How "specific" is your job and can you replicate it (or nearly so) closer to home?  A 3-hour commute would be a deal breaker for me.

YevKassem

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Re: Need advice -- keep working or work to get my wife on board with FIRE?
« Reply #20 on: September 27, 2018, 04:39:45 AM »
Sounds like your job and commute are making you miserable. Could you look for similar jobs closer to home or remote. While the work would be similar, youd get 9 hours of your life back. Then youd be on track for an early FIRE, and youd have options when you get there.

Yes, this.  How "specific" is your job and can you replicate it (or nearly so) closer to home?  A 3-hour commute would be a deal breaker for me.

That's a big part of the problem. The job is very specialized and anything close to home would be a huge pay cut. I'm struggling with whether or not it would be worth it.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Need advice -- keep working or work to get my wife on board with FIRE?
« Reply #21 on: September 27, 2018, 05:52:09 AM »
Sounds like your job and commute are making you miserable. Could you look for similar jobs closer to home or remote. While the work would be similar, youd get 9 hours of your life back. Then youd be on track for an early FIRE, and youd have options when you get there.

Yes, this.  How "specific" is your job and can you replicate it (or nearly so) closer to home?  A 3-hour commute would be a deal breaker for me.

That's a big part of the problem. The job is very specialized and anything close to home would be a huge pay cut. I'm struggling with whether or not it would be worth it.

What is the total cost of your commute? Think of fuel, the need for a car(?), and loss of time that you could have spent on insourcing tasks that your currently outsource or on eating fast food. Also look at other benefits. Maybe taking a paycut in turn for a shorter commute isn't so dramatic as you think.

I took a job closer to home with a 10% pay cut. But I saved 10 hours a week in commuting time and got a 2,5 hour shorter working week. I am home earlier and can do a lot of stuff at home. This makes that I can now do a sidegig after work some days. And I am a lot less stressed now that I'm not depending on the train.

YevKassem

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Re: Need advice -- keep working or work to get my wife on board with FIRE?
« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2018, 06:30:52 AM »
Sounds like your job and commute are making you miserable. Could you look for similar jobs closer to home or remote. While the work would be similar, youd get 9 hours of your life back. Then youd be on track for an early FIRE, and youd have options when you get there.

Yes, this.  How "specific" is your job and can you replicate it (or nearly so) closer to home?  A 3-hour commute would be a deal breaker for me.

That's a big part of the problem. The job is very specialized and anything close to home would be a huge pay cut. I'm struggling with whether or not it would be worth it.

What is the total cost of your commute? Think of fuel, the need for a car(?), and loss of time that you could have spent on insourcing tasks that your currently outsource or on eating fast food. Also look at other benefits. Maybe taking a paycut in turn for a shorter commute isn't so dramatic as you think.

I took a job closer to home with a 10% pay cut. But I saved 10 hours a week in commuting time and got a 2,5 hour shorter working week. I am home earlier and can do a lot of stuff at home. This makes that I can now do a sidegig after work some days. And I am a lot less stressed now that I'm not depending on the train.

The monetary cost of my commute is minimal.  I ride a commuter bus that is paid for by my employer, so no parking or fuel expenses.  The only real "cost" is my time, but I try to make the best of it by either napping or reading.  If it were only a 10% pay cut I'd do it in a heartbeat, but I'd be looking at more like a 30- 40% cut.  In other words, the time I spend commuting pays better than my hourly rate while I'm at work. 

Pigeon

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Re: Need advice -- keep working or work to get my wife on board with FIRE?
« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2018, 06:31:44 AM »
Why not work another 4 years and revisit at that time? Whichever car is yours, keep it a little longer (unless you can become a one car family). Make any changes you can that don't affect the rest of the family.

Then when you are truly sick of the commute and/or your job, you will be in a financial position that it won't matter if your new career doesn't pay as well as your current one. Or even if you don't like it and you have to try again in a few more years.

In the meantime, perhaps your wife will have come to the same conclusions or one of the kids will have turned out to be amazingly good at something that requires a lot of parental attention and taxi service of Dad or goodness only knows what can happen in 4 years.



Thanks so much for all the positive comments. This one makes a lot of sense to me and is the direction I've been leaning. It gives me plenty of time to get my wife used to the idea of making a big change and it coincidentally lines up with the year she turns 40, so that may trigger a desire for her to want to do something different as well.

And maybe instead of quitting completely, I'll consider dusting off my old music ed. degree and try to get a teaching gig. It would be a huge pay cut, but solid benefits, summers off, and a much shorter commute might be enough to tip the scales. Any thoughts on that one from people who have been or know teachers?

Find some music teachers in your local districts and talk to them.  My partner is a teacher and a friend of mine is the music supervisor of our large public school district.  Our district is quite supportive of the arts and has an awesome music department.  It has been common in many districts though to slash the budget for the arts.

Getting a job teaching music in the public schools here is extremely competitive, with several hundred applicants on the rare occasion a position opens up.  With a dusty degree and no recent music teaching experience, you wouldn't have much of a chance, to be honest.  The people they do hire are incredibly accomplished musicians and really good teachers.  The pay in this district is pretty good.

I think in some ways being a music teacher is a better gig than being an English, Science, Math, etc. teacher.  The kids mostly enjoy music and are there because they want to be, for the most part.  There isn't the high stakes testing pressure.  However, our music teachers put in a million hours.  They are involved in the school theatre productions, have dozens of concerts each semester, and are responsible for running several competitive performance groups after school.  They attend music festivals with students during some weekends.  You would get the summer off and the benefits are pretty good.

My SIL has taught music in a couple of local Catholic schools.  They don't hire full time music teachers, but still expect the teachers to do concerts and some after school stuff, essentially for free.  The pay is lousy and she didn't get any benefits.  These jobs are easier to come by, but still competitive because there are a million people with music ed degrees and few jobs.  You might think they'd have fewer discipline problems, but I don't think that's necessarily true. 

Linda_Norway

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Re: Need advice -- keep working or work to get my wife on board with FIRE?
« Reply #24 on: September 27, 2018, 07:32:10 AM »
Sounds like your job and commute are making you miserable. Could you look for similar jobs closer to home or remote. While the work would be similar, youd get 9 hours of your life back. Then youd be on track for an early FIRE, and youd have options when you get there.

Yes, this.  How "specific" is your job and can you replicate it (or nearly so) closer to home?  A 3-hour commute would be a deal breaker for me.

That's a big part of the problem. The job is very specialized and anything close to home would be a huge pay cut. I'm struggling with whether or not it would be worth it.

What is the total cost of your commute? Think of fuel, the need for a car(?), and loss of time that you could have spent on insourcing tasks that your currently outsource or on eating fast food. Also look at other benefits. Maybe taking a paycut in turn for a shorter commute isn't so dramatic as you think.

I took a job closer to home with a 10% pay cut. But I saved 10 hours a week in commuting time and got a 2,5 hour shorter working week. I am home earlier and can do a lot of stuff at home. This makes that I can now do a sidegig after work some days. And I am a lot less stressed now that I'm not depending on the train.

The monetary cost of my commute is minimal.  I ride a commuter bus that is paid for by my employer, so no parking or fuel expenses.  The only real "cost" is my time, but I try to make the best of it by either napping or reading.  If it were only a 10% pay cut I'd do it in a heartbeat, but I'd be looking at more like a 30- 40% cut.  In other words, the time I spend commuting pays better than my hourly rate while I'm at work.

Are you not allowed to do some work in the bus? Like answering work emails and write half an hour working time? But I guess the buss goes on fixed times, so maybe you can't leave earlier if you work on the bus?
Can you talk with your employer about working from home 1 or 2 days a week?

Tuskalusa

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Re: Need advice -- keep working or work to get my wife on board with FIRE?
« Reply #25 on: September 29, 2018, 09:02:28 AM »
Sounds like a tough choice on the job earning potential vs commute. I still think its worth looking at your options closer to home. Even with a pay cut, having more time back could be a worthwhile benefit. And its possible that you could adjust your finances over time to accommodate.

My spouse was not on board with mustacian principles until recently (its been about 3 years), and hes just now coming around. One of the big drivers for our changes was a 70% pay cut for me, as I took a job 15 minutes from home. Having me close to home and school has been a godsend, and we both see the value in it. Controlling our spending enabled this change.