Author Topic: Delay FIRE to Travel for a Year?  (Read 3801 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Delay FIRE to Travel for a Year?
« on: November 11, 2015, 02:48:30 PM »
Between my DH and I:

Mortgage: 70k (bought house for 100K)
Assets: ~200k in the form of IRAs, 401Ks, cash and non-retirement Vanguard Index Funds
Combined gross annual incomes combined: 97k
We have no debt aside from our mortgage

My DH is 33 and I am 27 and we are both burnt out at our high stress jobs. We figure that there's a limited amount of time that we will be childless, healthy, able-bodied, and alive and we don't know how long that will be. We originally planned to FIRE but we are increasingly interested in hatching a plan to work/save until like June 2016, rent out our house for hopefully $900/month and slow travel for a year. We have friends and family around the US we'd like to stay with, airline miles to use from credit card churning, and sites we'd like to see. Then we imagine we'll come back to live in our home after a year and get PT jobs doing whatever, maybe contracting work for DH and I might just work at the Whole Foods. True FIRE just seems so far off and like I mentioned, we are both in stressful professions (social work and architectural engineering) and we're burnt out and looking for a change of scenery. I know we would be fine but it's hard to muster the courage to really take a leap like this. Is this an ill-conceived plan?


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Delay FIRE to Travel for a Year?
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2015, 05:57:03 PM »
I was with you until the end.  It seems like you've put a fair amount of thought into what to do during the year off but very little about how it will actually impact you upon return.  Is the plan really to take part time jobs?  For how long?  Until your $200k becomes your "number"?

If you think FIRE is far off now with your $100k salaries, just imagine how far off it will seem when you're making $8 or $10/hr.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Delay FIRE to Travel for a Year?
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2015, 09:37:06 AM »
Can you rent out a room now? What are your expenses? If your expenses are 16k your true FIRE could be 400k and then rent out the whole house for travel money.


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Re: Delay FIRE to Travel for a Year?
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2015, 09:53:08 AM »
I don't have any advice, but commenting because your thoughts are exactly where I am at right now and I want to follow the thread. Your age and savings are almost exactly the same too! Just turned 31 and feeling if I don't make the move now it would be a mistake because we are running out of time to be young and childless.

FIRE is so far away. DH and I just took 3-week vacation in South America which was so freeing. I still am in a state of depression from coming back a month ago. I have spent my days at work fantasizing of working a half year in 2016 and then taking off until we run out of money. Then hoping some opportunities arise from it. I have a lot of fear in the risk of "giving up" our jobs/careers which took so long to get. Even though we are unhappy. I couldn't imagine having to come back to the grind after taking a year off. I'm not sure that's the best reason to not do it though.

Would it be a financial mistake to give up our high salaries and come back to low paying jobs? Most definitely. Would I be throwing it all away by doing it? Yes. Would it be worth it? Probably.    Even though my feelings points towards do it. My anxiety and risk tolerance says to stay and tough it out through life...


  • Bristles
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Re: Delay FIRE to Travel for a Year?
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2015, 10:21:49 AM »
I think it's fine to travel and then reassess what you want after a year, especially if you can easily find work in your areas.  What are your yearly expenses?  How much would you need to work to make enough to cover them?  Is your 200k now (well, will be less after travelling for a year) going to grow to enough to support you in retirement?  You might need to make $X more/year on top of your living expenses so you can keep contributing to your retirement fund.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Delay FIRE to Travel for a Year?
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2015, 10:30:44 PM »
As long as you're certain you can both easily find jobs when you come back from your travels.

Having done extended travels last year, I'm now a bit in the "after" scenario and having some difficulty with the job situation - but to be fair that probably isn't so much due to taking time off to travel, but rather that I also moved interstate to an out-of-the-way area with poor public transport options.

The bright side is that I think I did need a change from my previous job, and having had a long break, going back to work doesn't actually seem that daunting.


  • Bristles
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Re: Delay FIRE to Travel for a Year?
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2015, 01:11:07 AM »
I say go for it. I've now twice quit my relatively high paying, stressful job to travel and do more interesting and satisfying things. In both cases I felt there was no way I could possibly return to my career, and yet both times after a few months decompressing the idea of returning to the career didn't sound so bad, and in the end I did. I realised that the problem was just that I was feeling burned out and after some quality time I could buckle down for a couple more years


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Re: Delay FIRE to Travel for a Year?
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2015, 10:02:24 AM »
You only get one life.

I would think about what you truly want.  Is it FIRE?  Is it a better job?

Taking some time off is fine, great even, but you need a plan for after.

I'm a big proponent of travel.  Absolutely you should travel.

But you should also purposefully plan your life.  What are your 5 year goals?  10 years?  When are you planning on having kids?  When do you want to FIRE, and how will this plan change it?

Get more specific into details.   And I don't mean on the trip itself.  That you can probably do for 10-15k for the year, if you're using miles for the travel part of it.  That's no big deal.  But what about after, and the rest of your life?

Big questions, I know, but important ones.  :)
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Re: Delay FIRE to Travel for a Year?
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2015, 08:53:35 PM »
I faced a similar decision when I took a year off from mid 2012 to mid 2013 to travel. At the time I didn't know FIRE was a thing anyone else thought about let alone named. Instead pursuing full FIRE, I set aside enough to cover retirement at 65 after a few decades of compounding. Then I started saving for travel and found just the opportunity to do so. I discovered MMM and the FIRE community after I'd returned and started working again. Sometimes I try to calculate how much closed I'd be to full FIRE now without that year, but then I remember that part of my desire for FIRE is to live like I did that year.

It sounds like you guys both have marketable skills and you have enough stashed to cover old age if you leave it to compound. I'd recommend saving enough to cover the year of travel and the time you think it will take to settle in again and then hit the road. You may even find you have profitable new skills when you return.


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