Author Topic: Reader Case Study - jump early?  (Read 2740 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Reader Case Study - jump early?
« on: December 07, 2016, 06:51:41 AM »
Hi all, I'm not giving you the full picture here, just wanted a quick therapy session. Briefly, my wife and I are big on Mustachianism, and we're about 3/4 of the way to our FIRE target, which we're defining on invested assets only, leaving our house out of the calculation. Depending on the market, we probably have 3-5 years to go to hit our target.

Problem is...I'm not enjoying my job and want to bail. If we rented out the house, it would cash flow about $500/month after paying the mortgage, property management, and maintenance. I'm badly tempted to buy a cheap van, drive down to South America, and live off the rental income+dipping into savings as needed (thinking we could get by on $1k/month total spending) while we wait for the market to get us up to our FIRE target. Not wanting to sell the house right now because we live in a very hot market and given leverage we're generating more return from the house than we would if we sold the house and put the proceeds into VTSAX (or Berkshire, or whatever).

What's stopping me? Basically that I'm chicken, worried I wouldn't be able to get another job if things don't work out, etc. Many of the post-retirement things I'd imagined doing rely on being in town, not out of the country, and both of our families are here. My wife is enthusiastic about blowing town, but she is in a relatively new job, so we might stay a bit longer so as not to burn bridges - if we were to go, it might be late next year.

Am I just succumbing to OMY? (In this case FMY.) Should I conquer my fears and boogie on out of here? Or should I stay the course and grind it out until we hit our FIRE target?


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Reader Case Study - jump early?
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2016, 07:12:21 AM »
I once abruptly left everything and moved to Mexico City. I came back but with language skills. Those language skills have been essential in my post-Mexico life.

You know, leaving for a bit doesn't mean everything ends forever. There would be "something" on the other side. So, if you left for a year, you could come back (fluent in Spanish) and start looking for work to get the last 1/4 of your FIRE stash. It could be something totally different than what you are doing now.

There is another beautiful angle on the 4% rule and the FIRE math: you can be 3/4 of the way done and that means you might only have to earn 10k (or whatever small sum) to supplement your income and make your stash indestructible. Sure, you aren't saving, but you can "fill the gap" with minimal effort.

BTW, as for therapy, I don't know if you should walk away form your current situation or not. Part of being FIRE (or 3/4 FIRE) is that you can basically do what you want. A poor person is "crazy" for taking that action, you are "eccentric." Enjoy the distinction.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Reader Case Study - jump early?
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2016, 10:26:47 PM »
As someone who FIRED, traveled the world for years, and returned home for a bit to work for the fun of it, I’d say “go!”—with some planning.

You mention that it would be wise for your wife to stay in her job for about another year.  Take that year to prep for the trip (buy and outfit the van, etc), put yourselves in the best possible position for easy work re-entry (strengthen your professional networks, figure out what you can do even while away to maintain them, etc), and become even more mustachian (maybe airbnb a bedroom in your home?)

As for feeling “chicken” about not being able to find a job when you return, I can promise you this. Once you’ve handled all the amazing, crazy things you’re likely to encounter on this trip—from the Kafka-esque experience of getting a foreign-owned vehicle over multiple borders, to driving on low visibility, pencil thin, no-guardrail mountain switchbacks, to negotiating for car repair work in a local language you’ll have to translate from Spanish—I can assure you, that finding a job in your hometown when back home will be a piece of cake!


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Reader Case Study - jump early?
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2016, 01:39:59 PM »
A simpler solution might be to change jobs. The unemployment rate is low as dirt. There will never be a better time to leave an unsatisfying employer than now. Somewhere,  there is a more positive work culture looking for talent like you, and probably willing to give a raise for it.

The mental stimulation will perk you up. You'll probably get a raise. And, you won't have to go through all that hassle.

Then you haven't risked your chance to FIRE in only 3-5 years. I'd change the pace but go ahead and finish the marathon. The finish line is within sight. Yes, it hurts, but why take a nap now?


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Reader Case Study - jump early?
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2016, 01:52:42 PM »
To build on that, quit you job, take a break, and then look for a better job. You will probably feel much different after a nice, long break.