Author Topic: Which Job Should I Choose??  (Read 760 times)

Good_Start

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Which Job Should I Choose??
« on: August 30, 2017, 01:45:28 PM »
Hello Everyone,

I've been lurking for quite sometime and it is refreshing knowing how many others are striving for financial independence!

Background:


My wife and I both graduate college this upcoming December. We are in our early 20's, live in NC, and both are very fortunate to have zero debt whatsoever at this point in our lives. We have around $50,000 total saved between the two of us. $28,000 in our Roth IRAs (stocks/ETFs), $18,000 in an TD account (stocks/ETFs), and around $4000 in cash. I will graduate with a bachelor's degree in Systems Engineering (avg. starting salary $55,000 in NC) and my wife with a bachelor's degree in Nursing (avg. starting salary $45,000 in NC). Neither of us are spend thrifts and our current expenses ($1300/month) and current par-time incomes ($1300/month) will keep our savings around the same level prior to December.

Future Goals:

My wife plans on becoming a Nurse Practitioner within the next 10 years and I would like to work for myself doing home renovations and small construction jobs (I do small projects now that do not require heavy equipment).

We have agreed the 1.6 million mark is where we feel comfortable 'retiring' and beginning to live off our investments.

We both are very close to our families and plan on staying in central NC for our entire lives.

Questions:

When looking for a job, should I focus more on the highest starting salary, or something applicable to residential construction bringing me closer to my long-term work goal? I would enjoy the higher paying manufacturing job, but it gets me no closer to my long term goal.

Considering we are just starting this path towards FIRE, do you have any other advice for us? General, specific, doesn't matter! We would love to hear some new perspectives!

Example:

-I currently have an offer as a concrete engineer making $45,000/yr
     pros:
            -Closer to long-term work goal
            -Enjoyable work
            -Relaxed work environment
     cons:
            -Lower than average starting salary
            -Small Company (below average benefits)
            -Further away from home than desired (approx. 3 hour drive to hometown/where we want to live)

-An offer as a manufacturing engineer at $65,000/yr
     pros:
            -Higher than average starting salary
            -Great Work/Life Balance (4 days/week)
            -Closer to hometown (40 minute drive to hometown/where we want to live)
     cons:
            -Not mentally or physically challenging work
            -Extremely Bureaucratic....
            -Will increase our lifestyle expenses (Business formal clothing, client lunches, big city, etc.)
*Benefits and work-life balance are more attractive at the manufacturing plant offer

**Of course I am applying for more positions around the area and will continue my job search until I feel confident that the job is a good fit for my wife and I, but just curious on what everyone's thoughts were on taking a lower than average paying job for the sake of job satisfaction right out of school. My wife has also applied in both surrounding areas and all the offers are around the $45,000 range.

Thank you for your advice!

Edit:(Response to First round of replies)

Thank you for the replies!

If i took the job that's 3 hours away, we would move closer to that location. It would be unreasonable to commute 3 hours to and 3 hours from work everyday. However, a 40 minute commute seems reasonable to me so I will likely commute. I do like the idea of working close to where you live. I may focus more on jobs in my particular area rather than the highest paying or jobs in construction.

We came to that 1.6 million number because we do expect a lifestyle increase in the coming years. My wife and I both want a house full of kids. Atleast 4. Although this may change after we realize how much work it is!! We also love the beach and both grew up going many times out of the year with our families and would love to give our children the same opportunity. We plan on buying a small condo in the future.  Besides that we live very reasonably! We think a withdraw rate of 3-4% is more conservative and gives us the ability to continue to grow more rapidly year after year.  We know we will not spend more than that in a given year. So at worse, we withdraw less and our investments will grow even more!
« Last Edit: August 31, 2017, 07:33:35 AM by Good_Start »

merl

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Re: Which Job Should I Choose??
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2017, 05:13:32 PM »
My opinion?  Which one teaches you more skills that will be transferrable to other companies that you will be interested in down the road?  I understand that you aren't planning out a 30-40 year work life like a lot of the general masses, but at the same time, your income can rapidly ramp up once you have some skills under you.  As a systems engineer, I would think that you could be pushing much higher incomes than 45 or 65k in say...3 years time.  IMO, that'll make up for any lower income you might take now.

Raenia

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Re: Which Job Should I Choose??
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2017, 06:04:48 PM »
Of those two choices, I'd probably go for the manufacturing engineer position to start out - not necessarily because of the higher salary and better benefits, though those are nice, but mostly because of the proximity to where you want to live and the work-life balance.  A three hour drive is way too long to commute.  Bonus if you use the extra time at home to practice other skills - perhaps a part-time gig in home renovation, or volunteering for habitat for humanity, or something else that would give you the experience you want.

When it comes down to it, though, I'd prefer to wait until both you and your wife had a good offer on the table, so you can choose based on proximity to each other as well as your family and where you want to be.  That makes carpooling an option, or living closer to your jobs rather than your ideal location.

geo_kale

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Re: Which Job Should I Choose??
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2017, 07:06:30 PM »
Hi! Congratulations on already saving so much and not even being out of school - that's really impressive and something to be proud of. In terms of the job choice: I personally think the shorter the commute, the better the work-life balance. I walk to work everyday and it's something I wouldn't pass-up even for a much higher salary.

Can I ask why your FI number is so high (1.6 million)? Do you expect your lifestyle to inflate dramatically in the coming years?

Good_Start

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Re: Which Job Should I Choose??
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2017, 07:31:13 AM »
Thank you for the replies!

If i took the job that's 3 hours away, we would move closer to that location. It would be unreasonable to commute 3 hours to and 3 hours from work everyday. However, a 40 minute commute seems reasonable to me so I will likely commute. I do like the idea of working close to where you live. I may focus more on jobs in my particular area rather than the highest paying or jobs in construction.

We came to that 1.6 million number because we do expect a lifestyle increase in the coming years. My wife and I both want a house full of kids. Atleast 4. Although this may change after we realize how much work it is!! We also love the beach and both grew up going many times out of the year with our families and would love to give our children the same opportunity. We plan on buying a small condo in the future.  Besides that we live very reasonably! We think a withdraw rate of 3-4% is more conservative and gives us the ability to continue to grow more rapidly year after year.  We know we will not spend more than that in a given year. So at worse, we withdraw less and our investments will grow even more!

maizeman

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Re: Which Job Should I Choose??
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2017, 06:52:00 AM »
Have you done the approximate math on when you might hit the $1.6M mark? The x-factor I see here is length of time to FIRE. If you're on the 5-6 year plan, it makes sense to pick the job that you'll enjoy more and that will teach you more of the skills you plan to use post-FIRE. If you're on the 15-20 year plan (you mention your wife is making career plans a decade out which suggests you may be on a longer term plan, nothing wrong with that), then it's worth considering not only starting salary but also the potential for salary growth over time. All things being equal, a job with a starting salary of $50k where your salary is likely to grow to $100k over the next decade is going to help you hit FIRE and start doing what you really want to do a lot faster than a job with a starting salary of $50k where raises are likely to barely keep up with inflation.

I don't know enough about either of the jobs you've found to guess how they compare in terms of potential for compensation growth over time but it's something worth looking into if you don't already know.
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Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: Which Job Should I Choose??
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2017, 12:30:06 AM »
Have you done the approximate math on when you might hit the $1.6M mark? The x-factor I see here is length of time to FIRE. If you're on the 5-6 year plan, it makes sense to pick the job that you'll enjoy more and that will teach you more of the skills you plan to use post-FIRE. If you're on the 15-20 year plan (you mention your wife is making career plans a decade out which suggests you may be on a longer term plan, nothing wrong with that), then it's worth considering not only starting salary but also the potential for salary growth over time. All things being equal, a job with a starting salary of $50k where your salary is likely to grow to $100k over the next decade is going to help you hit FIRE and start doing what you really want to do a lot faster than a job with a starting salary of $50k where raises are likely to barely keep up with inflation.

I don't know enough about either of the jobs you've found to guess how they compare in terms of potential for compensation growth over time but it's something worth looking into if you don't already know.

+1.

And I'll add this: four days a week at the second job!?!?!  That's a full day given back to you. If true, that's huge. You can use that to learn exactly what you want/need.

I'd strongly lean towards that job, even though I normally say go lower-paying if it fits your life purpose more. Here, both seem ok in that regard, so just try the one with better pay AND more free time. 

Also, invest in learning more re your life's work and purpose. It'll help no matter where you are.

You're off to a great start!