Author Topic: Once the ball is rolling... It's hard to get off!  (Read 3377 times)

kork

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Once the ball is rolling... It's hard to get off!
« on: September 26, 2016, 08:36:33 AM »
I'm not sure what I'm expecting from posting this.  It's more of a dump of my thinking.  It feels like these thoughts are trying to squeeze out of my brain and I need to let them go "somewhere."

Home/Finance

I'm married, two kids under 10, have been working extremely hard in my industry for the last 15 years. I'm now almost 38. I got serious about saving when I was about 25 (2004).  Started off at about $5k/year (which was quite a bit at the time for me) once student loans were paid off.  By 2007, stache was growing about $15k a year and it's grown from there. Last year in 2015, stache grew by $125k. This year is already significantly higher than last year and there's still 3 months to go.

So 12 years of saving.  Earlier years were lower savings rate, but I've managed to grow my "stache" not including our home to around $600k. We're not terribly frugal but we do watch every penny we spend. Kids enjoy gymnastics, skiing, skating, soccer, etc. We have a tutor for my one daughter but our vehicles are both 10 years old and we have an iPhone4 that we share between the two of us.

Work/Career

I work full-time and I also have my own freelance business on the side.

I work in technology and I'm burning out from it. I don't have the passion I once did when PocketPC's were "strange" and programming was more about technique than it was frameworks and environment configuration. Design these days is nothing extraordinary. Web apps are driven from frameworks like bootstrap and it's just not the "Wild West" of the Internet anymore.

I liked the Wild West. It was fun.

Fears/Anxiety

I live in perpetual anxiety about my career and money.  I don't have enough to FIRE but I don't think I'd want to.  I enjoy being busy. I go crazy if I'm not. But what could that "next thing" be. I don't know how to find it nor do I know how to make time for it.  Right now, the sun is shining and I'm making hay, but I'm sensing darker clouds and storms brewing. Should I continue to make hay while the sun shines? The sun may not shine forever.

I really like the idea of Semi-Fire. Let the stache grow, knowing that it's a significant safety net but that it doesn't need to be touched. Quit my job and become a "part-time dog walker" or "stand-up paddle board instructor"

But I'm making hay right now. I fear that when I jump off the ball (hence, the thread heading) that I'll never be able to get on the ball again and even if I do, I'll have burned through savings and it will still be too late.

I turned down a job a couple years ago that offered a full DB pension after 30 years. My biggest fear is that I'd become one of those people who say "if I can only put up with one more year..."

But here I am... thinking "If I could just get through another year" I'll have my stache up to $750k...  Then it's another year...  And another.  But, at a $1 million stache at 40... I suspect I'd feel better and not worry as much.  But then, am I going to replace worry about making money with "keeping" the money?

What I Want

1. I want to be able to FIRE. Not to actually FIRE, but knowing I can. From that I suspect comes perceptual freedom which is really, really important to me.

2. To be content. I realize you can't "buy" content and happiness. It comes from within.

3. To do something I love to do and make some money doing it. I'd love to do is find a job/start a business that allowed me to make good money, work in changing environments doing something that I enjoy while still maintaining control over my time.

What do I enjoy?  I don't know. I know I really enjoy the beach, water, personal finance and helping people.

Moving forward

Looking for thoughts and suggestions? I don't know how to accomplish #2 and #3 above? #1 is something I'm already moving towards.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2016, 09:09:03 AM by kork »

Basenji

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Re: Once the ball is rolling... It's hard to get off!
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2016, 09:17:33 AM »
A while ago I posted here about a restaurant-owning friend who before she retired said she couldn't imagine retiring, that she had no interests, and just wanted to work. Then somehow she decided to retire and is crazy happy. I mean, a changed person. She recently started a side gig in catering. I think sometimes, maybe, it's hard to imagine the future. So, why not get yourself set up for FIRE, as you wrote, and then see what you want to do? Seems like you are on the path.

That's the money part. For the anxiety, I'm not sure how to help. Try to separate your "should" feelings from this. Some of your anxiety could be a feeling you have to have a high-powered job for self-worth. That seems to be common. But option #3 Will get easier when you set yourself up for FIRE.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2016, 09:22:35 AM by Basenji »

rob in cal

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Re: Once the ball is rolling... It's hard to get off!
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2016, 09:32:40 AM »
Kork, I hate to be a "one more year" advocate, but it does seem that if you hang in there a bit and keep adding to your stash, you will soon enough be at a place where you really will feel the ability to quit if you want to, or quit to take on a lower paying but more fulfilling job, or quit to freelance, or quit to do whatever.  Put another way, your radius for action will expand if you have around a million invested, than your current 650, I would think. I know that's how I would feel at any rate.

BTDretire

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Re: Once the ball is rolling... It's hard to get off!
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2016, 09:59:44 AM »
I agree with rob in cal,  you are close, but not there yet.  You will find that $600,000
will double lot faster than it took you to get to that first $600,000.
See what you can find within the work you do to spark more interest.
 In my previous work a two or three day ing trainseminar, seemed spike my
interest. Can you add a progaming language, that would challenge you for a while?

alewpanda

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Re: Once the ball is rolling... It's hard to get off!
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2016, 08:37:42 PM »
I find that contentedness comes easier when you are out there helping others.  Service is the greatest method to show yourself blessed.

My suggestion?   All I can give you is what "I" would do.  Look at your expenses.  If you grew your freelance stuff a bit, could you supplement your income with it?  I would work up to 750k...you said it would be soon.  Pull the trigger and quit the job.  Find a little more freelance income and use it to supplement and for 'fun' and as a 'hobby'.  In addition, find a cause you believe in.  I don't care if its walking dogs at the dog shelter.  Do it with your kids.  I'm not suggesting that you never serve now, but you are busy, so you don't get to like you could.  I promise some service to others will curb the 'i wants' and even the 'i fears' better than an extra hundred thousand.  When you see how little people or even animals can live with and be happy, joyful and content, you will be challenged to the same...and you'll realize that if the stache someday has to be supplemented by greeting people at walmart or freelancing ...its ok.  You can still be happy and content. 

Just my two cents... (that you can add to your 'stache' if you want)

EnjoyIt

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Re: Once the ball is rolling... It's hard to get off!
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2016, 09:38:26 PM »
Kork,
I completely empathize with what you are saying. When you can stash away 6 figures a year, how do you say no and just stop especially if you don't have enough to FIRE?  My question to you is how close are you?  What is your number while kids are still living at home?  What is your number once they are off to college?  I think laying out a plan with specific numbers will help clarify your needs.  Especially when you take into account expected returns over the next decade.  Once you understand what you need, you can then supplement it with your wants.  Who knows, maybe it is possible to look for work elsewhere.  Maybe something that pays less though you enjoy more.  Yes it will take longer to FIRE, but at least you will enjoy the ride more. Going part time may be the answer as well.  Maybe a job that is less demanding and gives you more free time but also pays less.  Believe it or not you have options.

My advice is continue plowing away at your job for now.  In the meantime develop a reasonable plan of where you want to be financially and by what point in your life.  And then consider finding employment or altering your current work situation that meets these goals with a slight margin of error.

For example lets say that once your kids are off to college you and the wife can comfortably live on $50k/yr which means that you need to have $1.25 million within the next 10 or so years.  Well guess what, you just need to save an extra $1,800 a month for the next 10 years at 5% growth and you will get there.  What if you work another 2 years and get your stash up to $850k.  Well, you don't have to save any money at all and compounding will get you there in the following 8 years.  What if you find another job today and can only save $40k/yr?  Well you will hit $1.25 million in 8 years.  A savings of $50k/yr will get you there in 7 years. You get the idea.

Disclaimer: expected return may not be actual returns over the time frame specified.  5% is a below average approximation from historical returns taking a historical 3% inflation into account.  You actual results may vary.

Math may be your friend to help quench your fear and emotions and allow you to make rational decisions.



mwulff

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Re: Once the ball is rolling... It's hard to get off!
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2016, 12:03:51 AM »
Hey Kork..

I guess you and I are in the same boat. I work in the IT area as well and I have seen it go from an art into more of a "know this framework" kind of job.

In many ways the days of the wild west are over with regards to the internet and I don't like it either.

But like you for me and my wife the sun is shining and the hay is rolling in. But I also see the clouds on the horizon. My two big clouds are:

1. Age, the IT sector is in many ways a young mans/womans game. I suspect getting a new job after I hit 50 in 10 years will be close to impossible. So the clock is ticking.

2. The only career-path from programming is project management or sales. And I don't want to do either of these things, so it has become a dead-end career as well.

But still the money keeps rolling in as long as I show up for work.

My personal plan is something like this:

1. Hit FIRE in 10 years. This means that I can close the book when I hit 50.

2. Spend some of my spare time working on more interesting stuff, my current private project involves PV-systems management and car-charging. Much more exciting than the stuff I do on a daily basis.

3. Keep my eyes open for any opportunity that is more exciting than what I do now.

You're not alone, if that helps :)

hoosier

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Re: Once the ball is rolling... It's hard to get off!
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2016, 09:05:50 AM »
I'm not sure what I'm expecting from posting this.  It's more of a dump of my thinking.  It feels like these thoughts are trying to squeeze out of my brain and I need to let them go "somewhere."

Home/Finance

I'm married, two kids under 10, have been working extremely hard in my industry for the last 15 years. I'm now almost 38. I got serious about saving when I was about 25 (2004).  Started off at about $5k/year (which was quite a bit at the time for me) once student loans were paid off.  By 2007, stache was growing about $15k a year and it's grown from there. Last year in 2015, stache grew by $125k. This year is already significantly higher than last year and there's still 3 months to go.

So 12 years of saving.  Earlier years were lower savings rate, but I've managed to grow my "stache" not including our home to around $600k. We're not terribly frugal but we do watch every penny we spend. Kids enjoy gymnastics, skiing, skating, soccer, etc. We have a tutor for my one daughter but our vehicles are both 10 years old and we have an iPhone4 that we share between the two of us.

Work/Career

I work full-time and I also have my own freelance business on the side.

I work in technology and I'm burning out from it. I don't have the passion I once did when PocketPC's were "strange" and programming was more about technique than it was frameworks and environment configuration. Design these days is nothing extraordinary. Web apps are driven from frameworks like bootstrap and it's just not the "Wild West" of the Internet anymore.

I liked the Wild West. It was fun.

Fears/Anxiety

I live in perpetual anxiety about my career and money.  I don't have enough to FIRE but I don't think I'd want to.  I enjoy being busy. I go crazy if I'm not. But what could that "next thing" be. I don't know how to find it nor do I know how to make time for it.  Right now, the sun is shining and I'm making hay, but I'm sensing darker clouds and storms brewing. Should I continue to make hay while the sun shines? The sun may not shine forever.

I really like the idea of Semi-Fire. Let the stache grow, knowing that it's a significant safety net but that it doesn't need to be touched. Quit my job and become a "part-time dog walker" or "stand-up paddle board instructor"

But I'm making hay right now. I fear that when I jump off the ball (hence, the thread heading) that I'll never be able to get on the ball again and even if I do, I'll have burned through savings and it will still be too late.

I turned down a job a couple years ago that offered a full DB pension after 30 years. My biggest fear is that I'd become one of those people who say "if I can only put up with one more year..."

But here I am... thinking "If I could just get through another year" I'll have my stache up to $750k...  Then it's another year...  And another.  But, at a $1 million stache at 40... I suspect I'd feel better and not worry as much.  But then, am I going to replace worry about making money with "keeping" the money?

What I Want

1. I want to be able to FIRE. Not to actually FIRE, but knowing I can. From that I suspect comes perceptual freedom which is really, really important to me.

2. To be content. I realize you can't "buy" content and happiness. It comes from within.

3. To do something I love to do and make some money doing it. I'd love to do is find a job/start a business that allowed me to make good money, work in changing environments doing something that I enjoy while still maintaining control over my time.

What do I enjoy?  I don't know. I know I really enjoy the beach, water, personal finance and helping people.

Moving forward

Looking for thoughts and suggestions? I don't know how to accomplish #2 and #3 above? #1 is something I'm already moving towards.

My "story" is a lot like yours.  I've recently spent (too) much time obsessing over the same things, but have recently arrived at a plan that makes sense to me.  Here's my brain dump.  It may or may not help you.

Job it IT that used to be fulfilling, but now isn't, but pays too much to walk away.  Not real close to FI, but well on my way.

As of now, my plan is to get to a "bare bones" FI level in 5 more years when I turn 40.  This would allow me to have the reassurance to know that I should be able to financially handle 90% of whatever comes my way.  I probably won't RE until 10 years after that passing the time doing what I like - probably some combination of gardening/landscpaping/farming/capentry/woodworking.  This is what I like to do on my days off now, so why not do it full time?  If I can make some money in the process to pay for some "luxuries" then all the better.

I like "working" and would probably loose my mind if I didn't do something productive almost every day...but I'm over having a "job" doing things that I don't really like for people that I don't really like.  Even though I'm not particularly happy right now, it is the straightest line to happiness in the future.  Worst case scenario I hit my breaking point and walk out of here...I too can get a low paying job and still be OK...that takes a lot of the edge off the job.

I could semi-retire now and work just enough to cover expenses for 20 more years, but the anxiety that comes with having to work doesn't sit well with me.  I'm going to keep making hay, however high the suck level may be, until I have enough to not worry about the $ anymore.  Short term pain, long term gain.

Worriers gonna worry, and I'm one of them.  I decided I'd rather worry about how to fill my time for 10 years than worry about money.

You're in a great position - you have options. 


« Last Edit: September 27, 2016, 01:41:17 PM by hoosier »

kork

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Re: Once the ball is rolling... It's hard to get off!
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2016, 08:20:51 AM »
Thanks everyone for some insightful comments.

I guess since hitting $600k I'm feeling much better than I did.  It's almost like I found a ledge while climbing the mountain and am able to sit back and look out.  But I know there's still more to climb.

The question is... Do I take the same strategy,  do I climb slower,  Do I sprint to the top?  I'm a little more tired than when I started at the rock face you know, lol.

And part of me wonders what the next step will be.  Good advice above that I may have a hard time knowing what that is until I'm actually in the situation. But I'd like to be able to plan for that next situation is.

I think I have a 3 year plan. That puts me into my mortgage renewal (to renew at a low rate or pay if off) and that will allow me to assess where our investments are at and where I am emotionally. That would put me half way through 40 years old (wow, that's odd to see in writing since I feel that same way I did when I was 20).  With that said, had conversations at work last night about changing up the structure since we've been losing a significant amount of $$$ the past few months (cyclical, but some projects didn't come through and things are looking a wee bit gloomy).

kork

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Re: Once the ball is rolling... It's hard to get off!
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2016, 07:57:55 AM »

My "story" is a lot like yours.  I've recently spent (too) much time obsessing over the same things, but have recently arrived at a plan that makes sense to me.  Here's my brain dump.  It may or may not help you.

Job it IT that used to be fulfilling, but now isn't, but pays too much to walk away.  Not real close to FI, but well on my way.

As of now, my plan is to get to a "bare bones" FI level in 5 more years when I turn 40.  This would allow me to have the reassurance to know that I should be able to financially handle 90% of whatever comes my way.  I probably won't RE until 10 years after that passing the time doing what I like - probably some combination of gardening/landscpaping/farming/capentry/woodworking.  This is what I like to do on my days off now, so why not do it full time?  If I can make some money in the process to pay for some "luxuries" then all the better.

I like "working" and would probably loose my mind if I didn't do something productive almost every day...but I'm over having a "job" doing things that I don't really like for people that I don't really like.  Even though I'm not particularly happy right now, it is the straightest line to happiness in the future.  Worst case scenario I hit my breaking point and walk out of here...I too can get a low paying job and still be OK...that takes a lot of the edge off the job.

I could semi-retire now and work just enough to cover expenses for 20 more years, but the anxiety that comes with having to work doesn't sit well with me.  I'm going to keep making hay, however high the suck level may be, until I have enough to not worry about the $ anymore.  Short term pain, long term gain.

Worriers gonna worry, and I'm one of them.  I decided I'd rather worry about how to fill my time for 10 years than worry about money.

You're in a great position - you have options.

Lol,  when I was reading this, I actually had to look at the posters name as I was thinking... Did I write this late at night and forgot?

Yes, hoosier, this is 100% exactly it.  100% exactly as I'm seeing it and feeling. If I were to "lose" my job then I'd need to do something about it. The responsible adult in my says "suck it up buttercup, do it for your family, your future and count your blessings..."

but this Kork in me is saying "But I don't wanna anymore..."
« Last Edit: September 29, 2016, 08:01:16 AM by kork »

kork

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Re: Once the ball is rolling... It's hard to get off!
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2017, 06:45:57 AM »
So an interesting development which helps me out of the whole Work/Career slump that I've been experiencing.

I found a new job! I start in about a month and have that time to wind down from my current employer. The opportunity is very good, significant pay increase, better position and much more exciting technology.  It's a combination of the "wild wild west" and the new world of frameworks, etc.  Best part is,  I don't need to write anymore code!

So with a "stache" that's nearly $650k, a nearly paid off home, 40 just around the corner and an exciting new opportunity that's waiting for me in my career, I hope the next few years are positive!

Been a long time comin' and I've certainly endured my share of mental fatigue over "what's next?"

Viking Thor

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Re: Once the ball is rolling... It's hard to get off!
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2017, 08:04:39 AM »
Awesome news, congratulations!