Author Topic: What Should I do I may have to FIRE now that I have been fired?  (Read 2832 times)

leebuckeye

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What Should I do I may have to FIRE now that I have been fired?
« on: January 10, 2018, 09:22:59 PM »
Looking for advice about my life in general. This is going to be long and somewhat soul searching. All advice is appreciated.
I am 37, single and living in central OH.
I was terminated from my job as a software engineer that paid about 80k a year this past November.
I got 20k in (severance+vacation pay out).
I have about 14 years of work experience 12 of which were at the last job. I used to love the job but with bad bosses I reached a point of dreading going into work and I think when the new boss came he didn't think I was a good performer. I could have transferred to another dept possibly but ended up taking severance (they wanted to move me to a less lead role as they didn't think I was a good lead). I felt free after they let me go.
I saved about $350k in 401k. About $100k in traditional IRA and about $350k in a Roth IRA. So about 850k in retirement accounts.
I owe about 30k in student loans (2%) and a 2k car loan.
So far I still have health insurance at employee/severance rates so COBRA has not hit at the full $700 for a single person (it's really good coverage though). I had a health scare about 2 years ago where I had unexplained heart issues etc a lot of testing last year and it was all fine but I feel like I will need insurance in case something happens. Most doctors said they thought I had anxiety. I pay about $1700 a month to my parents for a condo which covers rent and food ($1200+$500 food). They live in another unit within the same complex. Cheap apartments here are around 700 and really good ones are about 1000-1200. I average about $200 in phone, electricity expenses . About $250 (will be $700 a month ) in insurance. About $800 a year in car insurance ($67 a month). About $270 a month in student loan bills. About $400 a month in car payments.  I have about 15k of the severance left along with the cash I had on hand. I have about $600k in long term capital gains in stock that I haven't cashed in yet but intend to this year. A part of me wants to move to another state(FL) and get a job there since my parents plan to move someplace warmer when they retire in 1.5 years. So far I applied to about 2 dozen jobs and have gotten about 3 interviews (the holidays didn't help). If I stay in Ohio about 30% will go to taxes (20 long term gain + 4% net investment income + 5% ohio top rate). Leaving me about 400k plus the original capital around 300k. So about 700k in a cash account and about $850k in retirement for about $1500k. I applied to a bunch of places here locally and only got 1 response. I can move to Cincinnati or someplace else for contractor type work (those interviews are going slowly too). Part of me says apply to FL or possibly as far as TX save about 30k in state tax. Part of me says stop working and do something different. I have an MS from a top 5 engineering program in EE. I used to be excited by technology and learning new things and still want to learn but this last job wore me out. I was pretty disillusioned the last 5 years there and for the last 8 years basically got a 10% raise total (so about 1% or so a year). I stuck around because every few years a new manager would show up but the work became less interesting and repetitive.  I had a lot of malaise .I  had a pet that passed away a few years ago and I think I took that quite hard gaining about 30 pounds. I feel like I am too young to quit right now my sibling is working and raising two kids with her husband. My parents feel that quitting work would basically kill any chance at marriage/family for me. I don't think I want to die alone. I always wanted about $2500 to 3000k to feel safe before retiring. My expenses can be as low as $40k a year (they are lower now) but I am estimating a car every few years/travel etc. I also thought health care may come back and get me. I feel like I am too young to quit but too old to start a new career at a new place. Like I don't have a 5 year plan except not to be working, I feel like losing my job threw me off a little possibly part of me feels like it is a blessing. Maybe it was just the place, and maybe a new job will make me excited again. I feel very lost right now, like what am I supposed to do with my life. I hang out at my parents mostly applying to new jobs, reading about stocks, watching reruns. Part of it was the holidays and part of it is just malaise. The one thing I like doing is reading about companies/investing/picking stocks. Part of me thinks that I can get to 2500k by trading in value companies. I have been pretty good at it.  I don't spend a lot like going to yard sales, groupons so my consumption is healthy but I don't spend a lot to get it. I am scared that if I don't get a job I will basically not do anything and I feel like somehow I will have failed as an engineer/society person. Also some of the contractor jobs while paying more than what I was making want me to move plus glassdoor says a lot of these companies are hard to work at. I feel very self conscious now in January going to the library/movie theater/costco in the middle of the day like I should be at work and everyone knows it. During thanksigivng/christmas it was easier as there were a lot of people off work. I also feel like without a job I don't quite have a purpose. I spent some time getting up early but now kinda wake up around 9ish. I think I will do some exercising but what else should I do? Look into a new job working from home? A part time job to get insurance? as much as I disliked my old job I had an explanation for who I was and what I did...now I don't....my sister is unaware of my stock accounts so thinks I have about 150k or so. Thinks I should get a job. Are there good work from home options? I hate a commute and my last one was only 20 min each way. Thoughts? I like my family and church life and don't really want to move away from here. Should I go to FL for 6 months or a year try it out? Are the tax saving worth the hassle of a new city etc? I want to retire someplace warmer eventually as this winter I have been sick with a cold every other week.

waltworks

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Re: What Should I do I may have to FIRE now that I have been fired?
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2018, 09:48:19 PM »
You have plenty of money, it sounds like. You just don't have any real purpose in life. So, time to find one. Make a big list of all the things you've always wanted to do, and go do them. Join a bunch of sports/outdoors/hobby groups and meet interesting people. Think about if you want to spend some time/money to make the world a better place, and how you could do that. Interested in kids someday? Like traveling? Want to learn some new skills (any skills - cooking, ninjitsu, skiing...whatever)?

For god's sake don't start trying to trade your $1.5 million to get to 2.5. You won the money game a while ago. That doesn't mean you won't ever work for money again, but it does mean making money shouldn't be the point anymore.

Oh, and move the heck out of the condo and get your own place and buy your own food. Just shopping and cooking will give you something to do/some structure, at least.

-W

expatartist

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Re: What Should I do I may have to FIRE now that I have been fired?
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2018, 09:50:41 PM »
Hi Leebuckeye,

It sounds like this firing might actually be a blessing. That perhaps you were mentally done with that job and particular routine and the current life you've built is one that isn't satisfying to you.

My first instinct is to say, "What an opportunity! Instead of applying for more of the same kinds of jobs that will continue the same patterns/lifestyle, why not see it as an opportunity to branch out?"

First thing off the top of my head: Do a brief (2-6 month) stint at a non-profit org that can really use an aspect of your EE expertise in some way. Whether an educational org or one that works with assisting the community in some other way. This keeps your past relevant yet gives a different perspective on what you've done before.

Potentially even more life-changing would be to do this kind of work abroad (say min 3 months, plus another few weeks or months of travel), where you'll have the opportunity to re-examine many aspects of your life in America, not just work life. But I don't know your history or preferences or risk tolerance.

Anyway, best of luck as you sort through this challenging time. I hope you can find your ikigai, both with the work you do professionally and personally. 
http://www.businessinsider.com/the-concept-of-ikigai-could-be-the-secret-to-a-long-meaningful-life-2017-9

MDM

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Re: What Should I do I may have to FIRE now that I have been fired?
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2018, 09:52:26 PM »
...
I got 20k in (severance+vacation pay out).
...
I felt free after they let me go.
I saved about $350k in 401k. About $100k in traditional IRA and about $350k in a Roth IRA. So about 850k in retirement accounts.
I owe about 30k in student loans (2%) and a 2k car loan.
So far I still have health insurance at employee/severance rates so COBRA has not hit at the full $700 for a single person (it's really good coverage though).
Congratulations on having that much already saved!  That gives you much flexibility in what you do now.

One thing to note: there is no penalty on tIRA withdrawals used to pay medical insurance while unemployed.  See Retirement Topics Tax on Early Distributions | Internal Revenue Service if interested.

I would suggest some editing that breaks the wall of text in the OP into bite size chunks.  Might get more/better responses if you do.  Good luck!

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: What Should I do I may have to FIRE now that I have been fired?
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2018, 10:05:56 PM »
Ok, breathe. Seriously. Breathe. You’re more than ok with 1.5m at 37 and less than $40k a year in expenses. You’ve done everything right. Having 2-3m won’t change much for you and logically you know it shouldn’t cause it’s not like you’re going to jack up your expenses. You have more than enough to live off of. And you can literally do anything right now. But first, breathe. Take a moment. Reflect on your accomplishment. Give yourself time and space to be strategic about whatever comes next. Have you wanted to travel? Do that. Anywhere. Let that health scare remind you that NO ONE is guaranteed tomorrow. Take the pressure off and live within your budget. Your retirement account alone will reach $3m by the time you can access it. Take a well earned sabbatical. Maybe, find someone to talk to like a counselor cause if you have $1.5m and you’re feeling lost and lack confidence, there’s some underlying issues it would be good to deal with.

You’re going to be fine. Just remember to breathe.

former player

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Re: What Should I do I may have to FIRE now that I have been fired?
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2018, 02:25:30 AM »
You have a lot of successes in your life.  You have a great education.  You have the ability to earn a good income.  You have the ability to invest and spend wisely which has provided you with financial security for the rest of your life.

But at age 37 I think too much of your life is bound up with your parents.

I pay about $1700 a month to my parents for a condo which covers rent and food ($1200+$500 food). They live in another unit within the same complex. Cheap apartments here are around 700 and really good ones are about 1000-1200.

My parents feel that quitting work would basically kill any chance at marriage/family for me. I don't think I want to die alone.

I hang out at my parents mostly applying to new jobs, reading about stocks, watching reruns.

I like my family and church life and don't really want to move away from here.

What this tells me is that you haven't really "left home" yet.  If you carry on the way you are, my prediction is that you will stay single and keep having most of your social life bound up with your parents until they die.  Nothing wrong with that if it is an intentional choice that you will not end up regretting.  If it is not what you want then I see your attitude to your relationship with your parents and its future role in your life as the thing you most need to work on.  I think you have all the intelligence you need to work this out intellectually, and once you have worked it out intellectually you need to find the drive to make any changes to it.

If you find it too difficult on your own, finding someone with an independent view to talk to about it in person, such as a therapist, might be a good idea, just to give you a different perspective on your life and where it could go.  Good luck.

Dicey

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Re: What Should I do I may have to FIRE now that I have been fired?
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2018, 04:54:02 AM »
You might be a perfect candidate to try teaching overseas or joining the Peace Corps or similar volunteer group. I agree that you need to cut the parental apron strings, whether you decide to move or not. I also agree that your original post is difficult to read and has some numerical inconsistencies. A little judicial editing will probably net you more responses.


reeshau

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Re: What Should I do I may have to FIRE now that I have been fired?
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2018, 08:51:54 AM »
Let me join the chorus saying that you can take this slow--you have no need to rush.  One specific point to this:  You talk about cashing in a big slug of capital gains this year.  But, your expenses are $40k per year.  While you need to understand what your future budget will be, did you know that you could pay 0% (yes, zero) in capital gains if your income is under the 15% tax rate, which for 2017 is $37,950?  It seems that you could increase your planned stache by $120k if you S L O W   D O W N, and apply a little planning and frugality.  Is there a reason you are in a hurry to cash out?

In terms of direction, this also deserves some time.  It's the rest of your life--don't worry about figuring it out in a month.  This doesn't mean doing *nothing*, but allow yourself to try some things, both in terms of how and where you will live, and what you will do with your time.  Volunteering and contracting are excellent ideas:  they both are more geared to higher turnover, and may allow you to sample a number of things to do, and environments in which to do them.

Reading your love of STEM and desire for challenge also led me to wonder about teaching.  I don't think it would have to be overseas, unless you wanted it.  While many shun the profession for relatively higher pay elsewhere, that's not your concern.  And that goes double for people with STEM qualifications.  I would think you could find opportunities--paid or volunteer--wherever you are:  kids are everywhere.  If working with kids is a turnoff, you may try working with small businesses, though an incubator or SBA program; that would certainly address the challenge aspect, and the energy of entrepreneurs may re-energize you, and lead you to the next thing.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2018, 12:15:27 PM by reeshau »

waltworks

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Re: What Should I do I may have to FIRE now that I have been fired?
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2018, 10:16:25 AM »
A lot of us are trying not to just say "go find a girlfriend" (or boyfriend)... but that's probably a big part of any solution here.

-W

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: What Should I do I may have to FIRE now that I have been fired?
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2018, 12:16:28 PM »
You've got nothing to lose by applying for jobs further afield....although you sound very, very attached to your parents and home town, which in turn feels like quite a conservative place with everyone following a similar life plan.

If money was no object, what would you be doing with your days? Can you visualise your ideal job?

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: What Should I do I may have to FIRE now that I have been fired?
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2018, 09:16:26 PM »
A lot of us are trying not to just say "go find a girlfriend" (or boyfriend)... but that's probably a big part of any solution here.

-W

Think he has to find himself first, move away from the parents and figure out what he wants. Otherwise he’ll attract the wrong person.

Padonak

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Re: What Should I do I may have to FIRE now that I have been fired?
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2018, 09:36:28 PM »
Look, I'll be blunt, so sorry if I hurt your feelings.

First, let me make a few assumptions (correct me if I'm wrong). I assume you are a man and you like women. I also assume that you are smart because you have a great education, IT experience, and you managed to make a ton of money: $1.5 mil by age 37. I also assume you are average looking but a little out of shape (you mentioned gaining weight).

A little bit about me. I am about the same age, also live in the US, though I grew up overseas. I lived in other countries and traveled a lot internationally. My net worth is much smaller than yours though. Like you, I have spent pretty much all my adult life either studying or working. This includes working for a number of asshole bosses.

First of all, congratulations. You made it. You never ever have to work for money if you play your cards right. It doesn't mean you should never work but you don't have to. I wish I were in your shoes. Even with a fraction of your net worth, I am considering semi-retirement in the near future. You are in a much better position though.

Most of the problems you have are in your head.

A few points.

You had a health scare. I also had a few. Life is short. Life as a healthy and relatively young person is much shorter. If anythihg, the health scare should help you change your life. Which brings me to my next point.

You seem to worry too much about what other people think and how they see you. For example, when they see you somewhere during the day not working. Are you kidding me? Again, you have more than enough money to do whatever you want. Why the fuck do you care what other people think?

You are paying your parents $1700 per month for room and board. Do you know how many places are in the world where you can live pretty well on even less than that? Using a 3% withdrawal rate which is pretty much bulletproof, you can spend $45K per year and never run out of money unless there is WW3 or something. Even in the US, this is enough to live pretty comfortably, but the world is bigger than that. There are many places where you can live like a baller.

Here is my advice to you. It seems like you have too much baggage from working for shitty bosses, living with your parents, staying in the same city for too long, etc. You need to detox, to reset you mind.

I assume you like women. Any particular type? Eastern European, Latin American, Asian? The US is a great country and I am very privileged to live here and become a naturalized citizen, but let me tell you, it kind of sucks for dating if you are an average looking single man in your mid 30s or older. There are many other countries where women will be a lot more interested in you unless you are hideous (I assume you aren't). Many of those countries/cities also offer much lower cost of living vs the US, great healthcare, reasonably good safety and many other advantages. Ask me about specifics if you are interested and I'll send you a PM. I don't think this is the right forum to discuss the specifics, but one thing I'll mention here is that I am not talking about hookers or gold diggers, just regular girls. Unlike in the US, those girls would rather date you, a smart and serious IT guy who has his shit together, than some random dude from Tinder with a heap of muscles, a bunch of cool tattoos and a negative net worth.

So, back to the idea of resetting your mind. Is it just about getting laid? Of course not, but that will definitely help to clear your head and put you on the right path. That and seeing the world, eating clean, exercising, staying healthy, meeting new people from all walks of life including free spirits from the US who may be much poorer than you or even I, but much happier nevertheless.

After a few months of traveling around the world, meeting new people and having fun, you can figure out what to do with your life. A few ideas: work for a charity helping poor people for free, create an IT startup, build a website or blog, teach English or something else, work as freelancer, write books, compose music, just travel around for and do nothing for a few more years, the list goes on.

Regarding taxes and selling your stocks: just find a good accountant. You can afford it.

This is just a general idea. Feel free to ask me about any details and additional information sources.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2018, 09:48:38 PM by Padonak »

civil4life

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Re: What Should I do I may have to FIRE now that I have been fired?
« Reply #12 on: January 12, 2018, 10:19:22 AM »
Just posting to follow.

Wayward

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Re: What Should I do I may have to FIRE now that I have been fired?
« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2018, 11:19:05 AM »
Getting fired may be the best thing that has ever happened to you, IF you can see this truly amazing opportunity for what it is!  You already have more than enough money saved to never need paid employment another day in your life, congratulations!   

Right now, just breath and allow yourself to decompress.  Slow down and simplify.  Don't look for another job, just focus on yourself.  Please do some soul searching and consider what your goals/dream are.  A meaningful, fulfilling life requires purpose and I feel that may be lacking for you.  Focus on what you want to do without thinking about cost for awhile, then start taking baby steps toward your goals. 

Also, I wouldn't recommend jumping into a relationship at this stage, get yourself in a better place physically, mentally, and emotionally first.  Seek out a good counselor, there's no shame in it.   

I agree with other posters that you seem terribly attached to your family and I believe you would benefit from some distance.  You need to start buying your own food at the very least (if not moving out entirely) and getting into shape will do wonders for your self-esteem.  If your parents get upset or question these changes, be honest and establish boundaries.  You are doing this for you and your happiness, I'm sure they love you and want the best for you - even if they may not agree with the changes at first.  Be strong!

Regarding the capital gains, I agree with reeshau.  Take some time for yourself first, then create the most cost effective plan. 

Be thankful for this wakeup call and start taking control.  Life is too short to be unhappy, use this opportunity to start living the life you WANT.  I have found that sometimes happiness is not about what you add, but what you let go of.  You are free, start living like it!  Start a journal here to keep track of your progress and let us know how you are doing.

Good luck on your journey! 

leebuckeye

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Re: What Should I do I may have to FIRE now that I have been fired?
« Reply #14 on: January 12, 2018, 07:45:41 PM »
Thank you everyone, there is a lot to think about. One reason I was considering selling was that a lot of my portfolio is in single stocks (and a lot of the gains are in 1). This stock had gone up to 15 twice last year and as low as 10 so it is prone to swings (AMD for those interested). I figure it will do a nice bump to around 17-20 which is around when I will sell or maybe get out around 15.I also feel the market may have a correction this year. I think the 1700 is not really a rip off as the area is safe, i do eat with my folks and I feel it helping them out financially. They are close to retirement.
I agree I think way more about what other people think than I should.

Padonak

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Re: What Should I do I may have to FIRE now that I have been fired?
« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2018, 10:05:09 PM »
Thank you everyone, there is a lot to think about. One reason I was considering selling was that a lot of my portfolio is in single stocks (and a lot of the gains are in 1). This stock had gone up to 15 twice last year and as low as 10 so it is prone to swings (AMD for those interested). I figure it will do a nice bump to around 17-20 which is around when I will sell or maybe get out around 15.I also feel the market may have a correction this year. I think the 1700 is not really a rip off as the area is safe, i do eat with my folks and I feel it helping them out financially. They are close to retirement.
I agree I think way more about what other people think than I should.

You don't have to live with your parents to help them out financially. You have enough to live on your own and help your parents as well if need be.