Author Topic: Can I take a 100k pay cut?  (Read 3365 times)

Kris34

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Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« on: February 01, 2019, 02:53:36 PM »
Iím looking for some advice on a career decision that I pretty torn about. Iím considering leaving a high-paying job in engineering to go into a program manager role at a wonderful non-profit in my community. However, itís a 100k pay cut. My husband and I would need to reduce our spending by about 25k in order to make ends meet. Our savings rate would go way down and weíd be spending nearly half our income on the mortgage alone (which makes me nervous).

Some flavor text and numbers:

Iím 34, married, and have a 5 yr old kid.  My current job pays 160k and is entirely remote. Iíve been wanting to leave this job for 4-5 years, but have been white-knuckling through it to make some financial goals (pay off debt, down payment on a house, etc). Itís hard to pin down exactly why I hate this job so much. The company has a good culture, my co-workers are nice, the schedule is super flexible. I occasionally get swamped with high-pressure tasks and work extra hours or do high-stress customer presentations. However, a lot of the time Iím rather under-tasked. The work is super technical, frustrating, and not interesting or meaningful to me. Each year I get a glowing performance review and nice raise, however my disengagement has gotten much worse over the past year and I donít know how much longer I can keep performing at this job.

Iíve tried many strategies over the years to make the job more palatable (gratitude journaling, exercise, hobbies, volunteering). Ultimately, I keep coming back to this strong desire to spend my time making meaningful contributions to causes that I care about. In my current job I feel like Iím just doing unpleasant tasks that mean nothing. It feels like a huge waste of time. Being remote also makes me feel isolated and stir-crazy alone in my home office all day.

Iíve been planning for a long time to make the switch to a lower paying job in education or small business. However I feel TRAPPED in this higher-paying job and the date when I can escape keeps getting pushed out farther and farther. There are two main issues that make the pay cut seem difficult. One is that lifestyle creep has brought our spending up to 88k per year (when I think it should be closer to 62k). My husband and I both buy shit we donít need. Iím definitely the more frugal one but not blameless when it comes to excess spending. The other issue is that my husband scaled back his earning. He used to make 45k a year, but he switched careers and starting making 10k. Recently he is getting closer to the 20k area and he expects to get a promotion and raise to 40k within the next 6-12 months. Not a sure thing though.

My job dissatisfaction has unfortunately been hurting my marriage, because I mentally blame my husband for spending too much and not making enough. Like it's his fault I'm "stuck" in my bad job. I know this in unfair to him. He always tells me that if I hate my job I should quit and we'll figure it out.

I keeping thinking that if I take this non-profit job that Iíll be much happier (riding my bike to the office, being part of a community, making contributions to a meaningful cause). And I think weíd be happier on the lower budget too (living more intentionally, appreciating what we have more). This kind of opportunity rarely comes around, so I feel like I need to jump on it now!

But... I have this nagging worry that I am being way too optimistic about this potential pay cut.  My plan for the reduced spending is pasted at the bottom. I think it seems reasonable but would love to get more opinions.

Net Worth: $424k
  • Home equity: $239k
  • 401k: $108k
  • IRA: $47k
  • HSA: $16k
  • Taxable index fund: $8k
  • Cash: $6k

Home:
  • Equity: $239k
  • Outstanding principal: $381k
  • Rate: 30 yr fixed 3.99%
  • Monthly interest and principal payment: $1,988.42
  • Monthly escrow for taxes and insurance: $603   

Credit:
  • Cards: 30k (zero balance)
  • HELOC: 33k (zero balance)

2018 Numbers:
  • Annual Spending:  $88k
  • Annual Gross Income: $177k (me: $162k, husband: $15k)

Future Numbers (with new job):
  • Annual spending: $62k
  • Annual gross income: $73k - $90k (me: $50k, husband:  $23-$40k pending an expected promotion)

2018 expense breakdown:
  • Mortgage   $31,303
  • Home Improvement   $4,573
  • Electric Bill   $2,344
  • Internet   $1,352
  • Mobile Phone   $953
  • Garbage   $420
  • Water Bill   $396
  • Propane   $231
  • Groceries   $12,351
  • Restaurants   $3,588
  • Fast Food and Cafes   $1,537
  • Childcare   $3,000
  • Vet   $1,436
  • Pet food   $1,942
  • Gas & Fuel   $1,300
  • Auto Insurance   $690
  • Service & Parts   $578
  • Public Transportation   $321
  • Shopping   $11,793
  • Guitar Lessons   $1,349
  • Streaming services   $906
  • Misc   $872
  • Gym   $807
  • Medical   $1,769
  • Gifts & Donations   $669
  • Uncategorized   $1,469
Total    $88,071

Future expense breakdown:
  • Mortgage   $31,303
  • Home Improvement   $1,200
  • Electric Bill   $2,343.66 (baseboard heating)
  • Internet   $1,351.57
  • Mobile Phone   $953.41
  • Garbage   $534.73
  • Water Bill   $402.58
  • Propane   $231.17
  • Groceries   $9,600
  • Restaurants   $1,200
  • Fast Food and Cafes   $420
  • Childcare   $3,000
  • Vet   $1,436
  • Pet Food   $1,942
  • Gas & Fuel   $984
  • Auto Insurance   $660
  • Service & Parts   $576
  • Public Transportation   $192
  • Shopping   $2,000
  • Guitar Lessons   $0
  • Streaming services   $468
  • Misc   $300
  • Gym   $600
  • Medical   (use HSA)
  • Gifts & Donations   $0
  • Uncategorized   $600
Total    $62,180
« Last Edit: February 02, 2019, 12:19:34 AM by Kris34 »

jps

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2019, 03:44:40 PM »
(I'm not super detail oriented so this isn't a line by line breakdown of your expenses, sorry)

My first impression before I really look at your numbers is yes, take it. You don't want to work at your old job anymore, and you've had a desire to do something more satisfying/meaningful for a long time. If this is that opportunity, don't hesitate. GO FOR IT.

What your question boils down to then, is, can a family of 3 live on a gross salary of $73-$90K? The answer is a resounding YES, even with double-digit savings rates. There are many folks on the forum with bigger families who live on less.

Spending $62K/year for a family of 3 is super feasible and still extremely luxurious. Is it easy to transition to that from an over the top, ultra-high-consumption lifestyle of ridiculousness? It depends on how badass you are.

Here are a couples notes from your expenses:

The first thing I looked at in your expenses was food spending (Groceries + Restaurants + Fast Food and Cafes). SHIT!!! You are spending over 17 THOUSAND dollars on food each year. Each and every day you're taking a $50 bill and using it for food, or ~$16/person. That is so much money! Read the post: Killing Your $1,000 grocery budget. For only 3 of you, it seems super reasonable to spend $500/month on groceries. My wife and I spent $350-$400/month on groceries and that includes wine, meat, cool cheese, etc.

Any $ spent on restaurants would lower that more since meals are a zero-sum game.

Almost $1,000/month on Shopping. Is that just clothes? Clothes + anything else? That's a pretty easy area to slash.

Over $100/month on guitar lessons? I'm guessing that is for more than one person, since last time I was doing music lessons they were about $20/week.

$906 on streaming services, which boils down to $75/month. How many services is this? I use Netflix and Spotify ($15 and $10/month, respectively), and that feels like I'm living large. Over a year, that's only $300.

Basically, all of this is saying that your $88,000/year lifestyle is insanely luxury. It is possible, and even very rewarding, to live a much better life while spending much less money. I think you can do it. If you haven't yet, read through most of MMM's blog posts, and encourage your husband to do the same. This will only work if you're on the same page, but hopefully, you can both be inspired to make this meaningful change! I think you will be very surprised that your quality of life will increase, rather than decrease, if you take this job and start to live in a more Mustachian way.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2019, 03:51:00 PM by jps »

use2betrix

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2019, 06:10:39 PM »
It really just boils down to how much longer you want to work. 6-8 years or 20-30?

In your current job, could you do work from like a coffee shop or public library so you donít feel so ďaloneĒ?

Iím in a somewhat similar situation/feeling. My job situation is very stressful with a lot of hours and in a location I donít care for (completely wrong part of the country). Iím personally of the mindset of gritting my teeth for 6-8 years than truly ďhopingĒ I love something for 20-30 years.

Omy

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2019, 06:29:17 PM »
If $73k is projected gross income and $62k is projected expenses, that leaves $11k for taxes and savings/investments. If it were me, I would need to reduce expenses to under $40k (or wait until DH salary went to $40k) to feel comfortable in that scenario.

SweatingInAZ

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2019, 07:15:56 PM »
You are right to be nervous about a mortgage like that!
That is too much house to volunteer for such a dramatic paycut.
Is it more house than you need? A $620K house that costs you $485 per month in utilities sounds huge. Would you consider downsizing, or at least taking a careful look at your utilities? (overwatering a lawn, heating or cooling when nobody is home, ... )

I don't see a cell phone or cable/internet bill, is that lumped into utilities? It would be helpful to see those broken out. Even if they are business expenses now, they will become household expenses once you no longer work from home.

In addition, is your husband's job part time? Is that helping keep childcare costs low?

Is the $6k cash your whole emergency fund? That isn't even 1 month of your current spending!!

YttriumNitrate

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2019, 07:22:42 PM »
Is it more house than you need? A $620K house that costs you $485 per month in utilities sounds huge. Would you consider downsizing, or at least taking a careful look at your utilities? (overwatering a lawn, heating or cooling when nobody is home, ... )
Since they weren't listed elsewhere, I'm thinking internet, TV, and phone might be included in utilities. If they're spending $75 a month on streaming services, I'm guessing they also have a pretty good internet connection.

lhamo

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2019, 08:22:27 PM »
Do you actually have an offer at the non-profit at this point?  If not, then start cutting back on your excess spending HARD and see how you feel.  There is a lot to cut, as has been pointed out above.  If you can make significant cuts immediately and get your spending down into the targeted range, then I would go for it. 


MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2019, 08:34:04 PM »
I have the same response I seem to have for many: you seem to be leaving out a plan for childrenís education, holidays/travel and we donít know what your overall goal is?

Like others have noted, your budgets under both scenarios are massive and indulgent, but itís tough to really judge without knowing where you want to be?

If you want to be FI in 5-10 years then Iíd probably say keep the job, reframe your thinking, sell the house and downsize and take up challenges to reduce your budget. If youíre thinking 20 years, then sure, take the new job, focus on strengthening your marriage and cross fingers that youíre happier. MMM has changed how I view work, I donít look for my work to make me feel satisfied, I look at it as a vehicle to get me to FI as quickly as possible. I find my satisfaction and happiness outside of work. Of course you donít want to hate your job, and you donít, you just want it to be more. I get that, but explore how that might be affecting your opportunity for freedom.

affordablehousing

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2019, 11:33:59 PM »
From what it seems to me, not yet. Why don't you try living at the new budget for awhile before making the plunge. Not sure what additional money you want to have for the future but in my experience it's very hard once you've swam downstream to ever get paid previous salary again. I would try cutting expenses first and make sure they don't seem like compromises to eliminate the grass is always greener effect of a different job.

electriceagle

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2019, 01:00:54 AM »
With your numbers, it sounds like you need the high-paying job to bolster your savings.

It sounds like your husband is a stay-at-home dad with an online job or a hobby-job. Was this discussed beforehand or did it just "happen"?

Kris34

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2019, 01:18:04 AM »
Thank you all the replies. I truly appreciate all the insights and perspectives.

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I don't see a cell phone or cable/internet bill, is that lumped into utilities? It would be helpful to see those broken out.
I added the utilities breakout to the original post. The electric bill is the worst. It's mostly the baseboard heaters. We don't have AC so the electric bill is super low for most of the year and then jumps up big time in the winter. The Seattle area winters aren't too harsh and we only heat one level of the house to keep costs down. Still expensive though :(

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Is the $6k cash your whole emergency fund? That isn't even 1 month of your current spending!!
I've also got the 8k in a taxable index fund. But really I'm taking MMM's advice to have springy debt rather than savings. The 33k HELOC is basically the emergency fund.

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you seem to be leaving out a plan for childrenís education, holidays/travel and we donít know what your overall goal is?
Sobering point. College is 13 years off, so I haven't put much though into it yet. I put myself through school with no debt, so I maybe don't feel the urgency to save up a huge amount of money for my kid's education. Probably something I should start thinking about though. Our travel usually consists of a couple hours of driving and $22 per night campsite, so I didn't bother budget separately for that. :)

I think the overall goal is something I am grappling with now. As others have pointed out, I can either stick it out at high-paying job for 6-8 years or work at the (hopefully) more rewarding job for 20-30. It's tough to tell what I'll want in 20 years. (FWIW, at this exact point in time I feel like I would rather live in a van down by the river than work at current job any longer.)

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SHIT!!! You are spending over 17 THOUSAND dollars on food each year.
Dude. I took a closer look at the grocery spending. DH averages $55 a WEEK on craft beer. A lot of that goes to generously hosting friends each week, but still, it's time to cut back and/or brush off the home brew equipment.

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Almost $1,000/month on Shopping. Is that just clothes? Clothes + anything else? That's a pretty easy area to slash.
I agree. It's mostly electronics and misc households goods. At least 50% of it is stuff we can do without pretty painlessly.

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Over $100/month on guitar lessons? I'm guessing that is for more than one person, since last time I was doing music lessons they were about $20/week.
Yikes, I'm embarrassed. I'm paying $45 per 30 minute lesson. It's been fun but something I can live without.

Quote
Is it more house than you need?
It sure is. It's a 2,600 sqft house and we only use half of it. Square footage is evenly split between a main level and a lower level. We don't use the lower level unless guests are in town. It's a walkout basement with three exits, windows all along the sides and back, 2 bedrooms, a full bath, and two rec rooms. My dream is to install a kitchen and rent it out for $500-$1000 a month. DH is not 100% on board though, so we haven't pulled the trigger on the kitchen.

The mortgage is really the only thing in the budget that freaks me out. We live on a small island community which I LOVE. I want to stay here but the housing options are really limited and median home value something crazy like $800k+ now. Our house is on the low end of the spectrum price-wise. We moved here 2 years ago and had a terrible time trying to find something. This house was the best option we saw over months of looking, even though we knew at the time it was more than we wanted. We could probably find something for ~500k and sell out current place for ~620k. I'm not sure how helpful that would be though. I would hate to move off island (and make the kid switch schools). It's a tough decision to weigh.

Kris34

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2019, 01:36:00 AM »
Quote
It sounds like your husband is a stay-at-home dad with an online job or a hobby-job. Was this discussed beforehand or did it just "happen"?

I wouldn't describe him as stay-at-home dad. The kid is always in child care while I am working (in school during the year, in summer camps during the summer).

DH had a job in education before we relocated across the country. After we moved he didn't get a new job right away. I eventually insisted that he get SOMETHING. He ended up with a part-time minimum wage job in an area that interested him. Over the past couple years he's worked his way up to more responsibility and slightly better pay. He expects a management role coming in 6-12 months when a new location opens.

I assumed he would find a similarly paying job when we relocated (somewhere in the 45-50k range) and I carried that assumption into the decision to sign on to this mortgage. I never imagined that he would make so little. It's been frustrating to have these past years of his income be more like 7k, 10k, slowly creeping up. (My beautiful FIRE spreadsheets, ruined!)

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2019, 03:12:06 AM »
Quote
It sounds like your husband is a stay-at-home dad with an online job or a hobby-job. Was this discussed beforehand or did it just "happen"?

I wouldn't describe him as stay-at-home dad. The kid is always in child care while I am working (in school during the year, in summer camps during the summer).

DH had a job in education before we relocated across the country. After we moved he didn't get a new job right away. I eventually insisted that he get SOMETHING. He ended up with a part-time minimum wage job in an area that interested him. Over the past couple years he's worked his way up to more responsibility and slightly better pay. He expects a management role coming in 6-12 months when a new location opens.

I assumed he would find a similarly paying job when we relocated (somewhere in the 45-50k range) and I carried that assumption into the decision to sign on to this mortgage. I never imagined that he would make so little. It's been frustrating to have these past years of his income be more like 7k, 10k, slowly creeping up. (My beautiful FIRE spreadsheets, ruined!)

If FIRE is that important to you, Iíd lean towards the 6-8 more years with the high income. Youíre not working in salt mines. Achieve FIRE, be free and take the pressure off of you both.

MayDay

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2019, 06:40:44 AM »
I am an engineer, and I have worked remotely in the past for a job I generally liked.  My H is also an engineer and has worked remotely for a job he didn't love.  It is pretty soul sucking to work remotely for a job you don't love.

My general sense is that you have backed yourself into a corner (this is me making a lot of assumptions, so correct me if I am wrong!).  Your H didn't work (much) for quite a while, you chose to live on an island with presumably limited jobs and/or a long commute to get to more jobs, you bought an expensive house while knowing you want out of your job. 

All together, you are now kind of stuck.  You certainly can make it work, but you won't be saving much/anything, which is scary. 

Of course, nothing is forever.  I had an engineering job in the past that I hated and quit. I swore I would never go back to engineering.  Well here I am a decade and 2 engineering jobs later, and I love my job!  I can't imagine not being an engineer!  It really is all about the details- your current job is soul sucking, but the next one might be awesome.   Maybe you will take a break from engineering, work at this non-profit for a few years, and then find a different engineering job.  Of course- this goes back to the painting yourself into a corner bit- what are the options for non-remote engineering work where you live?

I can't say what you should do, but I will say that I think you need to make some pretty significant cuts for me to be comfortable quitting.  And if you and your H haven't done that yet (knowing you were miserable and wanting to quit), I would make darn sure you can before you quit.  Your H is coming off as happy to spend, and happy to not work (much), so maybe its time for a real heart to heart on what he is willing to give up starting NOW, new job or not. 

I'd also consider exploring other work options.  Can you negotiate with your current company for a long leave of absence and try out the new job?  Can you negotiate to work PT or do a few contract projects?  Could you be 80% time at the non-profit to balance things?  Can you ask your company you want to try this new thing for 2 years, but will they consider you again in the future?  Can you do some networking now while you are still "fresh" and look for other remote engineering jobs? 

Even knowing the crush of a job you hate, its a pretty big trade-off to exchange your current job for working 20 more years and not having any money to help with college or handle a really big emergency.  Even with ~30K of "springy" E-fund, what happens if you have a 30K house repair?  How will you pay off that 30K at the lower salary? 

Freedomin5

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2019, 07:13:39 AM »
I agree with the posters that recommend living on your new lower budget to see if itís feasible before cutting the cord on your current job. A $100K cut is a Big cut.

At the same time, burning out in a job you hate sucks, and if itís causing a rift between you and DH, that sucks even more. Divorce is expensive.

It sounds like a change is needed. And living on $70-$90k is totally doable. You can even maintain a pretty healthy savings rate. But you and DH are going to have to really tighten up your expenses to make it work. Youíve listed gross salaries so Iím assuming youíre going to have to pay income taxes from that salary, so realistically your take home pay is what? Around $50k? Assume a 20% savings rate for retirement, and you will need to live on around $40k per year.

Your mortgage and housing related costs are the biggest money sucks. If DH really is supportive of you changing jobs, heís going to have to put his money where his mouth is and either get over his squeamishness about having a tenant, work hard to cover the shortfall, or agree to move to a cheaper place.

lhamo

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2019, 11:44:36 AM »
Not sure exactly where you are, but I find it hard to believe that a full 2br apartment would only go for 500-1000/month.  Here in my relatively affordable section of NE Seattle it is hard to find a decent 2br for under 2k these days.

How much money/effort would be required to put in that kitchen?  Because even at just 1k/month on a rental (and again, I think you could get quite a bit more), that is going to make up quite a bit for your DH's relatively low salary.  What about a deal where you invest in that with the goal of renting it out only until he gets to a certain salary target.  And then if you really don't like living with renters you can put your current place on the market (a 2 family will be in high demand, so you should get a good price) and move to someplace smaller/more affordable.

Malkynn

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2019, 01:09:10 PM »
Whoooooaaaaaaa.....

There's A LOT going on here with red flags flapping about on all sides.

Between the massive mortgage, the under employed husband with the spending habit, and no real goals/plans/priorities AND a very young child...

Just, whoa.

Slow your damn roll lady, this is not a good situation at all, and I GUARANTEE you that switching to a non-profit job is NOT the panacea to solve all of your very real problems.

Before I make any suggestions, I'll first address what I see as a giant elephant in the room: the non profit world is not the bloody easiest to work in. In fact, it can be downright infuriating, and disenfranchising.

Having worked with multiple non profits that do great work, I can firmly say that I will never ever seek employment at any of them that I've worked with. I fulfill my community service through volunteer work with those non profits, but not as an employee, which allows me to dodge the nonsense.

Obviously, many non profits out there are not total cluster fucks, but enough are, that I wouldn't bank my mental health on one.

On to the topic of mental health.
You need to seek therapy yesterday.
You are in a serious life crisis at the moment if this is what you are considering doing with no real plan. You need help figuring out where your main issues are, and what steps you should take in order to resolve them.

So that's my advice.
Get some excellent mental health support in order to work through figuring out whatever your best moves are because obviously something is very very off if this is the path you think you should walk.

I'm not saying that the job move is the wrong move, I'm saying that it's extremely concerning that you are considering such a bold move without fully understanding your own needs and assuming that this will fulfill them.

I have a lot of relevant personal experience with this type of issue. You are welcome to pm me if you want to discuss further.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2019, 02:30:50 PM »
Whoooooaaaaaaa.....

There's A LOT going on here with red flags flapping about on all sides.

Between the massive mortgage, the under employed husband with the spending habit, and no real goals/plans/priorities AND a very young child...

Just, whoa.

Slow your damn roll lady, this is not a good situation at all, and I GUARANTEE you that switching to a non-profit job is NOT the panacea to solve all of your very real problems.

Before I make any suggestions, I'll first address what I see as a giant elephant in the room: the non profit world is not the bloody easiest to work in. In fact, it can be downright infuriating, and disenfranchising.

Having worked with multiple non profits that do great work, I can firmly say that I will never ever seek employment at any of them that I've worked with. I fulfill my community service through volunteer work with those non profits, but not as an employee, which allows me to dodge the nonsense.

Obviously, many non profits out there are not total cluster fucks, but enough are, that I wouldn't bank my mental health on one.

On to the topic of mental health.
You need to seek therapy yesterday.
You are in a serious life crisis at the moment if this is what you are considering doing with no real plan. You need help figuring out where your main issues are, and what steps you should take in order to resolve them.

So that's my advice.
Get some excellent mental health support in order to work through figuring out whatever your best moves are because obviously something is very very off if this is the path you think you should walk.

I'm not saying that the job move is the wrong move, I'm saying that it's extremely concerning that you are considering such a bold move without fully understanding your own needs and assuming that this will fulfill them.

I have a lot of relevant personal experience with this type of issue. You are welcome to pm me if you want to discuss further.

+1

Gronnie

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2019, 03:36:30 PM »
The grass is almost never greener. Gut it out 5 more years, save as much as you can, then never have to work again.

Mr. Green

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2019, 03:43:10 PM »
I can relate to the OP. There is only one thing that drives you to consider a ~70% pay cut, and that's desperation. It really just depends on what your priorities are. It sounds like there's so much fluff in your spending that you could easily be FIRE in 5-10 years with your current job. If you really got serious, renting out that bottom level,etc. I bet you could do it in 5. Making the kind of money you're making, I'd be damn hard pressed to consider giving up when complete freedom was 5 years away, especially if the alternative was a job that left so little left over (and banking on a spouse's future promotion) that FIRE is decades away. Perhaps if it was a dream job and I knew I could work it for 20 years and love it that'd be one thing but if you're not there, I always had a little voice in the back of my head asking me what if the new job still didn't do it for me. For me, that what if kept me at the job I didn't like until I FIRE'd.

I definitely think it's worth talking to someone to help better clarify what you want and what you're struggling with.

Malkynn

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #20 on: February 02, 2019, 03:55:57 PM »
I can relate to the OP. There is only one thing that drives you to consider a ~70% pay cut, and that's desperation.

I don't necessarily agree with this because not all 70% pay cuts are created equally.

A 70% pay cut that involves a 90% reduction in time commitment may actually be a totally reasonable trade off for someone who isn't at all desperate and making a very high income.

It all depends on a lot of factors involved.
The reason OP's situation is so concerning is that she isn't giving a well though out and well reasoned explanation for such an extreme move.

It may, in fact, truly be the best move for her, but she hasn't demonstrated that at all with her rationale.

yodella

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2019, 04:40:35 PM »
I'm not sure what type of engineer you are, but if it's software, have you explored positions at some of the larger foundations and/or nonprofits? They need programmers too, and maybe if you were doing work that ultimately benefited a mission that aligned with your values, you would enjoy your job more but still get paid an engineer's salary.

birdiegirl

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #22 on: February 02, 2019, 04:42:13 PM »
Is there a middle ground you can find here - somewhere between $60-$160k?  Does it have to be your current job or this non-profit role?  What about a broader search for a new job? 

I'm in a very similar situation with my job and low earning DH (fortunately he is not a spender).  I decided I'm ok with working another 20 yrs if I have the flexibility to do something I enjoy or at least care about.  I would love to be a vet tech but with a salary of maybe $30K that's just not reasonable right now, we're not FI and need to continue saving. 

Instead, I'm leaving my my job next month and will focus on finding something in that middle ground.  Looking to go down a few levels from my current role and looking for a place with good work life balance.  Then I will focus on using my time outside of work to do things that are meaningful for me. 

It doesn't have to be all or nothing.  You might not be able to move to the dream job right now but I think the most important thing is just to take a step in the right direction. 

Dee18

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #23 on: February 02, 2019, 05:10:23 PM »
I think talking with a professional is a great idea.  I do not know from your post what is most important to you. Leaving your job?  Having your husband share more equally in financially supporting the family?  Staying on the island?  It seems to me the plan you had of moving to the island and buying an expensive house was counting on your husband earning more.  Since that isnít happening, what do you want to change?  Best of luck to you.  You have been carrying a very heavy load.

Apple_Tango

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #24 on: February 02, 2019, 06:05:55 PM »
I think you need to have a detailed talk with dh. There are some good options here to decrease the financial burden on you- 1) rent out your basement, 2) dh going back to paid work 3)spending less. Much less.

All three of these things require a serious discussion with dh. Heís telling you itís ok to quit your job, but without stepping up to the plate and working with you to come up with realistic solutions.

 I would combine all three options.. If a basement rental can pull in $1000, DH can pull in an extra $2000, plus you cut the overspending, that would be a big help to you so you can reduce your hours (and maybe do paid/unpaid fun work in your downtime to feel fulfilled)  or find a different job altogether.

I second the recommendation on slashing your spending for at least a couple of months  before committing  to any major job changes. You need to make sure your family can handle the ďpinchĒ of budgeting.

Speaking of budgeting- one obvious issue is the $17k annual food budget for 3 people. Wow wow wow. Also the shopping budget is out of control. I would try a family no-spend February.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2019, 08:11:44 PM by Apple_Tango »

Dicey

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #25 on: February 03, 2019, 03:36:19 AM »
I agree with much of what's been said, especially Malkynn's input about the non-profit life. A lot of NP jobs also include fund raising responsibilities, directly or indirectly. Could you handle that added layer of stress?

I find it more than a little curious that you give next to nothing currently, yet you are feeling called to do NP work.

It's entirely possible that the real problem isn't the job at all. I agree that talk therapy is way more vital to your future happiness than eating out or say, guitar lessons.

Set a goal to check zoning restrictions for the basement by the end of this week. Can you assemble a mini kitchen with microwave, small refrigerator, toaster oven, coffee pot and  perhaps a few Ikea cabinets? No need for a fullly fitted kitchen, provided you do it with safety in mind.

Finally, if your job is remote, why did you make this move again? I'm reading this during a bout of insomnia, so sorry if you've covered this.


 

KungfuRabbit

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #26 on: February 03, 2019, 08:33:54 AM »
Lots of stuff said on both sides.  I'll throw in my vote.

Tighten your belt (which is quite loose....), stay in your job a few more years, pay off your house / build up some savings, and then do whatever you want. 

Also a little confused by your husband, 10k / year?  Thats less than minimun wage.

the_fixer

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #27 on: February 03, 2019, 12:48:22 PM »
My thoughts...

Your mortgage is too high to make the leap  right now, you would be in a much better position if you can buckle down and pay off the mortgage in the next few years and that will open a world of possibilities.

You said you have idle time at the job from time to time why not commit to doing a small amount of hours per week for the non profit to get you involved?

Formulate a plan and sit down and talk with your spouse, explain that you are not happy with the job and that you need his support to execute on this plan over the next few years.

He needs to get his income up, you need to cut spending and killed the mortgage so you can have the freedom to pursue something else but without the changes you will be stuck for longer.

And financially it sounds like it would be a big mistake without getting things sorted out a bit more.



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Kris34

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #28 on: February 03, 2019, 01:03:27 PM »
I really appreciate all the different perspectives and advice. Lots of truth bombs in here.

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I find it more than a little curious that you give next to nothing currently, yet you are feeling called to do NP work.
I've been volunteering a couple days a week at this NP for about a year. I really love it, which is why I'm so eager to take this rare full-time paid opportunity there.

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Also a little confused by your husband, 10k / year?  Thats less than minimun wage.
Over the past couple years he's been working only 10-20 hours a week. The hours have been increasing lately, which is nice. But still not full time yet.

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My general sense is that you have backed yourself into a corner
True.

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Slow your damn roll lady, this is not a good situation at all, and I GUARANTEE you that switching to a non-profit job is NOT the panacea to solve all of your very real problems.
Yeah.... more truth.

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You need to seek therapy yesterday.
Thanks for the reality check. You're right.  Even aside from the career counseling issue, I definitely have shit to sort out with my husband, and we need some professional help at this point.

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It's entirely possible that the real problem isn't the job at all.
Some of the desperation I feel is related to doing this job I dislike for so long. But a bigger part of it is about being essentially the sole bread winner for this increasingly out-of-control expensive household.

Husband and I have been together for 15 years and we always shared the household expenses evenly and otherwise we kept our money separate. I was saving and he was not. But he wasn't going into debt either and his spending was pretty low. His earning was modest, so he didn't have that much money to spend. (He would never go into debt but if the money is there he will spend it). He was a totally consistent and responsible worker but he's not very aware of money. Like he would forget to deposit commission checks and we'd find them years later, expired. He never signed up for the company 401k because he didn't really know how it worked. He would never be able to tell you offhand what his rate of pay is, what is annual income is, what his spending is, etc.

We never had any conflicts about money. He lived within his means and I saved up my money so we could do things like make a downpayment on a home. I accepted the fact that I would always have to be sole "financial planner" of the family, but I was fine with that as long as he pulled his weight covering half of the household expenses.

But then things changed when we moved a couple years ago he didn't have a job for a while so ALL of the household expenses started coming out of my bank account. A dynamic started where he wants to buy something, but he knows it's my money, so he tries to convince me. I really hate the saying "no" over and over again. (No, we don't need a second robot vacuum. No, we don't need a blue tooth speaker for every room in the house. No, I can't justify a 4k TV. No, that $150 board game is too much.)

He gets resentful because he has a vague sense that I make "a lot of money" and I'm being stingy. His general sentiment is that I am "weird about money" and that our family would be happier if I would relax.

Anyway, since he started working again, his entire income goes towards the "shopping" category. So, it doesn't take the burden off of me in terms of household expenses and I get stressed seeing all the Amazon boxes showing up. Meanwhile he feels like he is doing all the "necessary" spending that I am unwilling to do. Like the new TV, sound system, etc.

This shitty dynamic, combined with my job stress/dissatisfaction, makes me feel like the high-paying job is kind of a curse. If I took this NP job and made 50k a year, my husband would be forced to be an equal contributor and he would stop badgering me for more spending, because I literally would not have the extra money.  We go back to our previous happy dynamic. I have a job I love. All the problems are solved, right?

As I type that, I totally see how messed up it is.

I can't solve my issues by throwing a grenade on them. And I shouldn't obliterate my income as a way to avoid the discomfort for setting boundaries with my husband.

I need to have the un-fun conversation with my husband about him re-assuming some household expenses. (If he is paying $500 a month towards bills, he will spend $500 less on shopping each month.) The joint credit cards (that get paid each month out of my checking account) need to go.  Having our finances separate worked well for us for many years. If husband wants to spend more, he can work more.

If I actually have control of how my income is spent, I can make plans for FIRE, which would make my current job more palatable.

There are a ton of great engineering jobs available to me where I live (part of why I chose to move to this area). I believe I could be relatively happy hunkering down in an engineering job for another 6-8 years if I knew it was working towards FIRE.

Reading all these responses, it's clear to me that I need to pause and short this shit out (with the help of a therapist) before I make any big decisions. Thanks, all.

Malkynn

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #29 on: February 03, 2019, 01:42:16 PM »
Holy shit.

That is the single best/sanest/insightful turnaround of an out of control trainwreck-to-be that I have ever seen.

That was some damn fine introspection and I applaud you for taking the input of internet strangers and turning it into rational and actionable plans of action.

Damn...very impressive. Really.

lhamo

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #30 on: February 03, 2019, 02:06:11 PM »
Holy shit.

That is the single best/sanest/insightful turnaround of an out of control trainwreck-to-be that I have ever seen.

That was some damn fine introspection and I applaud you for taking the input of internet strangers and turning it into rational and actionable plans of action.

Damn...very impressive. Really.

+1

Well done, OP.  Hope you consider posting updates as you work through things/make the changes necessary to get your life/your relationship back on track.

mm1970

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #31 on: February 04, 2019, 10:57:54 AM »
Quote
This shitty dynamic, combined with my job stress/dissatisfaction, makes me feel like the high-paying job is kind of a curse. If I took this NP job and made 50k a year, my husband would be forced to be an equal contributor and he would stop badgering me for more spending, because I literally would not have the extra money.  We go back to our previous happy dynamic. I have a job I love. All the problems are solved, right?

As I type that, I totally see how messed up it is.

I can't solve my issues by throwing a grenade on them. And I shouldn't obliterate my income as a way to avoid the discomfort for setting boundaries with my husband.

I need to have the un-fun conversation with my husband about him re-assuming some household expenses. (If he is paying $500 a month towards bills, he will spend $500 less on shopping each month.) The joint credit cards (that get paid each month out of my checking account) need to go.  Having our finances separate worked well for us for many years. If husband wants to spend more, he can work more.

Well done, you!

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #32 on: February 04, 2019, 02:01:17 PM »
Whew! Powerful reflections and yes, itís saying it out loud that helps. One of the best books Iíve ever read is called: Co-dependent No More by Melody Beattie.  One of the things it talks about is the danger of the seemingly caring partner who uses generosity and ďhelpĒ to control and manipulate partners who behave in unhealthy manners. You then learn that you need to look after and take care of yourself and how you act. It was an eye opener for me and stopped me from pointing my finger out, to pointing it in, because I can only control me, not others. That way lies madness.

I wish you all the best, we believe in you!

Bartleby_the_Scrivener

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #33 on: February 04, 2019, 08:27:47 PM »
I don't know that I can add much to what everyone else said, and you should definitely weigh what they recommended. If I were working 100 percent remote, though, I'd strongly consider moving to someplace less expensive.

I should also add, as someone who pursued a "passion" career for seven more-or-less maddening years, that doing so isn't a sure-fire plan for deriving some sort of existential meaning from your career. Frankel's Man's Search for Meaning comes to mind.

Kris34

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #34 on: February 04, 2019, 09:15:08 PM »
Thank you for the encouraging words and the book recommendation. I'll definitely be reading that one.

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Hope you consider posting updates as you work through things/make the changes necessary to get your life/your relationship back on track.
I will!

Dicey

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #35 on: February 05, 2019, 06:53:41 AM »
I was just telling my husband that the forum loves people who post a problem, listen to the feedback and take concrete steps to deal with their issues. You have taken a bold step by listening to the feedback. I have no doubt that you will get to where you need to go. Please keep us in the loop.

Car Jack

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Re: Can I take a 100k pay cut?
« Reply #36 on: February 05, 2019, 07:00:27 AM »
I'm going to give you a clear NO as an answer.

This is a job for when you've FIREd, not when you're still accumulating.  Here's a worst case scenario.....you take the job and find that it's high stress and you hate it.  This actually happened to me and I've regretted it since it happened.  I can't change my past but hopefully you can affect your own future.