Author Topic: Case study - Civil servant, hate my job, searching a creative, meaningful life  (Read 5223 times)

takemitsu

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Hello fellow Mustachians!

I've been reading the MMM blog and forum for a long time now, but my Mustachianism is older than this blog. Unfortunately, I'm a bit lost and deperate. I'd really appreciate your advice.

I am a civil servant, lawyer, working for the public  administration in Spain. My job is a very stressful, high resposibility one. And also I don't like what I do. Paying is not bad (for the country standards) but not great either. Best thing: it's a job for life. They can't fire you (unless unexpected catastrophes). That's a great point for a country with a 25% unemployment rate!

I'm in my mid 30's, quite frugal, no kids, and I've been a decent saver (but a mediocre investor!).

Some more data:

- Income: aprox. 30,000 p.a. (after taxes) (My eyes roll everytime I read about salaries in the USA, specially for lawyers, IT, etc...).
- Annual expenses: never calculated them properly, but around 12,000 (including rent)
- I don't own a house.
- Savings (deposits, stocks, funds, etc.): around 200,000

What I want:

- Quit my job a.s.a.p!!!
- A simple, relaxed life. Maybe in the countryside.
- Do some creative activities, and hopefully make some money out of them. I'm not bad at writing and I am a music composer (contemporary classical). Being a professional composer is my dream.
- Keep learning, mainly music composition. I'm already attending every course I can. I'd love to study a Master's in Music Composition in a good university (America or Europe).
- Learn more languages (still working on my English... Sorry for any mistakes!).
- Travel. I love it.

Fears and doubts:

- After making some calculations, trying different ER calculators, etc., I'm still not sure that I can get a decent return out of my savings. After some losses in the stock market, I'm not very self-confident about investing. I'm now mainly in index funds (unfortunately, not Vanguard in Spain) and some low interest deposits (now lower than ever). I feel lost here.

- I've worked very hard to get my job. I hate it, but I have to admit it's not a bad one when you consider the Spanish labor market right now. But every morning I think "what am I doing with my life?". I can't get fired from this job, but what's the point of living a life you hate?

- I am not confident that I would be able to make any money with my music (or writing), specially in this country. Very few composers live of their music. Very few writers. I could start a blog, but I know it's not easy to monetize it.

And that's about it. I hope you can help me. Any advice is welcome!

Thank you very much!





skunkfunk

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I'm not familiar with Spain, but how's real estate there? What would your expenses be without rent, and how much would it  cost to buy a permanent residence? Is it feasible as an investment strategy? Could you buy a place for 200k where the rent could meet your living expenses? Doubtful; I think you'll have to work a few more years at least unless you can transition to a part-time gig doing something else.

takemitsu

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Thank you for the advice skunkfunk!

Spain's enormous real estate bubble burst some years ago and was based on "buy high, sell higher". Now that's over. Also renting is not a good business here (returns are really low).

I suppose  that you are right, I'll have to work a few more years...

Thanks!

skunkfunk

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Thank you for the advice skunkfunk!

Spain's enormous real estate bubble burst some years ago and was based on "buy high, sell higher". Now that's over. Also renting is not a good business here (returns are really low).

I suppose  that you are right, I'll have to work a few more years...

Thanks!

You say you hate your job. What would it take to move somewhere where you could either put that 200k to better use or get a more pleasing job?

Annamal

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- A simple, relaxed life. Maybe in the countryside.


I am making some assumptions here but are you subject to the same generous holiday provisions as other European countries?

If so, why not try out a simple relaxed life in the countryside for a month or so a year for a few years?

I've only spent a little time in Spain but one thing I do remember is that even during the boom times leading up to 2008, a lot of the rural villages were economically depressed (and this was alongside the Camino which brings in a lot of international money), surely you could find a cheap holiday place to rent or house sit to try out quiet rural life?

You could also use it as a chance to experiment with art and frugal living.

skunkfunk

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- A simple, relaxed life. Maybe in the countryside.


I am making some assumptions here but are you subject to the same generous holiday provisions as other European countries?

If so, why not try out a simple relaxed life in the countryside for a month or so a year for a few years?

I've only spent a little time in Spain but one thing I do remember is that even during the boom times leading up to 2008, a lot of the rural villages were economically depressed (and this was alongside the Camino which brings in a lot of international money), surely you could find a cheap holiday place to rent or house sit to try out quiet rural life?

You could also use it as a chance to experiment with art and frugal living.

Now you've got me imagining him calling it quits right now, and buying a little farm in Thailand where he makes/grows everything he needs himself.

takemitsu

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- A simple, relaxed life. Maybe in the countryside.


I am making some assumptions here but are you subject to the same generous holiday provisions as other European countries?

If so, why not try out a simple relaxed life in the countryside for a month or so a year for a few years?

I've only spent a little time in Spain but one thing I do remember is that even during the boom times leading up to 2008, a lot of the rural villages were economically depressed (and this was alongside the Camino which brings in a lot of international money), surely you could find a cheap holiday place to rent or house sit to try out quiet rural life?

You could also use it as a chance to experiment with art and frugal living.

My holydays are roughly 4 weeks per year. I've already tried rural life and I like it (as long as I can escape from time to time, travel, etc.). :)

Living in the countryside is cheaper, indeed. And the kind of work I'd like to do (composing, writing...) doesn't need a specific location. I've tried it and I like it. I hope I can do that full time in the future.

takemitsu

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Thank you for the advice skunkfunk!

Spain's enormous real estate bubble burst some years ago and was based on "buy high, sell higher". Now that's over. Also renting is not a good business here (returns are really low).

I suppose  that you are right, I'll have to work a few more years...

Thanks!

You say you hate your job. What would it take to move somewhere where you could either put that 200k to better use or get a more pleasing job?

I'm researching that possibilities. I'm looking for new jobs and investment opportunities every day. And MMM is a great source of information.
Thanks!

takemitsu

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- A simple, relaxed life. Maybe in the countryside.


I am making some assumptions here but are you subject to the same generous holiday provisions as other European countries?

If so, why not try out a simple relaxed life in the countryside for a month or so a year for a few years?

I've only spent a little time in Spain but one thing I do remember is that even during the boom times leading up to 2008, a lot of the rural villages were economically depressed (and this was alongside the Camino which brings in a lot of international money), surely you could find a cheap holiday place to rent or house sit to try out quiet rural life?

You could also use it as a chance to experiment with art and frugal living.

Now you've got me imagining him calling it quits right now, and buying a little farm in Thailand where he makes/grows everything he needs himself.

:D

I think I'm not brave enough for that! (yet)

mozar

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$200k*.04=8k so you need 300k to have enough to pay your current expenses. So maybe make that your goal so you are more confident about quitting? How about starting your blog/composing now? It will take a few years to start making money, and then you can easily transition into it full time.

You say you won't make much money, but can you make a little? Say you were composing now and making 4k a year (sorry don't know how to convert to euros). 8k + 4k = 12k which is what you need.

takemitsu

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$200k*.04=8k so you need 300k to have enough to pay your current expenses. So maybe make that your goal so you are more confident about quitting? How about starting your blog/composing now? It will take a few years to start making money, and then you can easily transition into it full time.

You say you won't make much money, but can you make a little? Say you were composing now and making 4k a year (sorry don't know how to convert to euros). 8k + 4k = 12k which is what you need.

Thank you for your advice, mozar!

I'm already composing, more and more everyday. Not making any real money by now. I hope this will change. Maybe I'll start my blog soon.

My concern now is getting a decent return out of my investments. I'm quite conservative now, after some losses in the stock market. So I'm really far away from 8 - 10% returns. I think I'm not even getting 4 or 5%. So a 4% SWR wouldn't be "safe" in my case.

mozar

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Well if you're conservative you won't get higher returns :-) but I'm sure you know that.

takemitsu

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Well if you're conservative you won't get higher returns :-) but I'm sure you know that.

Yes, I know :D  I'm just trying to find a balance there.