Author Topic: Do I Quit?  (Read 7336 times)

QuietlyFrugal

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Do I Quit?
« on: May 15, 2015, 01:31:43 PM »
Stats:  33, lawyer making $200k.  Married to spouse, making $130k.  One awesome kid, about to start school.  Net worth approximately $1.1 million.  Annual spending something like $50k (would likely go down if we had more time to cook, clean, no need for work clothes, etc.).  House to be paid off in 5 months.  We've estimated that our FIRE amount is $1.25 million, but want a healthy cushion to help the kid with college costs, travel, unknown health calamities, etc.

Both of us have extremely demanding jobs that tend to have lots of "emergencies."  We both are expected to check email and respond as needed on nights/weekends/vacations.  I'm good at my job and have received a significant amount of support/opportunities/mentoring/sponsorship from the higher-ups.  I enjoy some aspects of my job and certainly the money and "prestige" is nice.  But I generally chafe at always having to jump according to someone else's needs (not a good trait in a service-based industry like law).  And with both of us working these types of jobs, we're eating junk and not taking care of ourselves enough, and there's just more family stress than there needs to be.

Spouse supports me quitting when the house is paid off.  Spouse is going to keep working, and will likely keep earning 6 figures until some undefined future early retirement date.  But I don't have any clear path for what I would like to do after I step away from the law firm.  I don't have any great hobby that will turn into a second "just for fun" career.  (This may be a result of me having busted my hump in law school and at the firm--I forgot to make time to make myself interesting.)  And with kid heading off to school, there won't be a need to have someone home all day.  I have the vague goals to get in shape and volunteer in some capacity, but nothing is concrete.

So, do I quit because I can and because it would likely improve our quality of life--lower stress, healthier life, Spouse able to focus more on job as I take on more home responsibilities--even though I'm a bit worried I'll be at loose ends and may regret the decision?  Or do I keep working, sock away some more money to contribute to our FI cushion, and keep trying to define what I'm going to do with my life post-job?

I know it's silly, but I keep thinking about how I would tell my law partners, and how they are going to think I'm crazy.  These are people who make my net worth in a year.  Yet they keep working long hours, traveling, and dealing with stress into their 60s.  I guess because they love it?  I cannot imagine how it all gets spent.

MustachianAccountant

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Re: Do I Quit?
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2015, 01:48:42 PM »
You could open your own law firm and make your own hours, take on pro bono cases that make the world a better place, and turn away clients that you know will cause you stress.

After you take a year or so off, that is. ;-)

Cheddar Stacker

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Re: Do I Quit?
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2015, 01:50:12 PM »
But I don't have any clear path for what I would like to do after I step away from the law firm. 

Annual spending something like $50k (would likely go down if we had more time to cook, clean, no need for work clothes, etc.).  ...
And with both of us working these types of jobs, we're eating junk and not taking care of ourselves enough, and there's just more family stress than there needs to be.
...I have the vague goals to get in shape and volunteer in some capacity, but nothing is concrete.

You have a clear path, you already explained it in the post. Once you have some time to think, your vague goals will begin to take shape. And so will your mind, and your body/health, and so will your spouses', and your awesome kids'.

I know it's silly, but I keep thinking about how I would tell my law partners, and how they are going to think I'm crazy.  These are people who make my net worth in a year.  Yet they keep working long hours, traveling, and dealing with stress into their 60s.  I guess because they love it?  I cannot imagine how it all gets spent.

I'm a partner in a CPA firm, so I understand much of what you're talking about. Much smaller numbers in my world, but same idea. It's going to be a difficult conversation when it happens, but there's more to life than grinding away to make money in a prestigious career.

I say pay off the house over the next 5 months while planning your exit strategy. And during that time, start making more concrete plans on what you're retiring to do. If you have any reservations, try a sabbatical.

RexualChocolate

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Re: Do I Quit?
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2015, 01:51:20 PM »
Massive and obnoxious humblebrag is massive and obnoxious.

Oh nooooo what will my partners think? I'm soooo worried guys what will I do?

Now you can feign ignorance, but everyone knows what you're doing.


MOD EDIT: Forum Rule #1.

Welcome to the forum, QuietlyFrugal. Sorry some people are rude--please ignore them for the vast majority that aren't.  :)

« Last Edit: May 15, 2015, 04:30:14 PM by arebelspy »

MustachianAccountant

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Re: Do I Quit?
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2015, 01:52:44 PM »
Massive and obnoxious humblebrag is massive and obnoxious.

Oh nooooo what will my partners think? I'm soooo worried guys what will I do?

Now you can feign ignorance, but everyone knows what you're doing.

Thank you for adding to the discussion.

Gone Fishing

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Re: Do I Quit?
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2015, 02:01:39 PM »
+1 on the sabbatical or evena 2-3 week vacation, especially if you can go somewhere without signal/wifi (getting harder all the time).  I take a 2 week no-communication vacation every other year in an office where no one else takes more than a week at a time.  Towards the end of my two weeks, I start getting interested in all sorts of things, which of course fizzle as soon as I go back to work.  But at least I know the motivation is there and waiting to get out when I pull the plug on the job. 

I'm a red panda

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Re: Do I Quit?
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2015, 02:03:57 PM »
Your spouse is making more than twice the amount most households make- and s/he makes $80k a year more than your spending (which you think would go down if you stop working) .  If s/he supports you quitting there is absolutely no reason you couldn't.  You are 150,000 away from your FIRE  goal.  I don't even understand the question. Even if you quit, at 50k spending, your spouse only needs to work 2 years until s/he can quit too.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2015, 02:06:09 PM by iowajes »

Mr. Green

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Re: Do I Quit?
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2015, 02:28:25 PM »
It sounds like you basically have FIRE in the bag. After that it's up to you to figure out what is important to you. Maybe the firm will grant you a sabbatical. That would give you time to de-stress, pick up a couple hobbies, and see how ER suits you. If you find yourself missing the idea of work then +1 to the idea of opening your own firm if you think that's something that would interest you.

gillstone

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Re: Do I Quit?
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2015, 04:01:39 PM »
I say pay off the house and leave the firm on good terms (adequate notice, help with transition etc...).  After that, take time to figure out what you want to do.  You may find you still want to practice law or that you would rather weld or garden or go to clown school.  The point of FI is that you can now make many of these choices free of the concern of how much money it makes.

Congratulations on achieving FI, and best of luck on your next steps.

Bicycle_B

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Re: Do I Quit?
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2015, 04:05:20 PM »
In case ideas are helpful, here's one:

Consider what would make your job really enjoyable (eg, how can you structure it so that off duty calls go to zero, or close to it)?  Then ask the partners increase their profits...by lowering your pay a little...in return for the quality differences you proposing.  (Perhaps you are asking to be assigned the easy clients.)

Or just ask for your desired arrangements without a pay cut.  After all, your work already produces a profit for the firm.

Anyway, if they refuse to consider it, say you understand - and that you would like to give notice! 

If they change their mind, great.  If not, you are retiring early.  It's perfectly possible they will reconsider after you follow through.

Who knows.  Maybe if they realize you have enough money already, they will ask how you did it...

Numbers Man

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Re: Do I Quit?
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2015, 04:05:42 PM »
Sounds like a Win Win to me. You have such a large cushion to fall back on. Just quit and figure it out. Time is on your side, yes it is.

BlueHouse

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Re: Do I Quit?
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2015, 04:12:40 PM »
Hi Quietly Frugal,
I think I know where you're coming from. I also don't feel as if I have any hobbies. I've spent a lot of time working and obsessing over work. I was never really taught how to create interesting hobbies for myself. A lot of my identity has been wrapped up in being the perfect worker.
I read another MMM reader's blog called bucking the trend and it gave me some great inspiration. He has a bucket list and has been crossing off his items as he does them. The list items aren't one day events, they might be multi-year events.
Many people think of me as very creative, but I don't seem to be able to think outside the box if it's not the box I'm used to. I encourage you to take a look at his blog and others and start dreaming of all the hints you want to do before you die, then make plans to train or prep for them while you're still young.
P.s.  I don't see a humblebrag at all. You've stated facts as they are. That's why we're here, because we can't do that most other places.

Check2400

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Re: Do I Quit?
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2015, 04:23:48 PM »
Posting mostly just to follow out of envious self flagellation, as I am in somewhat of your shoes, minus a large chunk of income and about a 4 year difference in life choices (just about to get married, no known children, house on the front end of a mortgage and not the back).  I would say that the five month window to give notice is a good time to practice cutting costs, and I would expect that the notice period for a high earning attorney wishing to end on positive terms would be a much longer period of time than two weeks--and likely worth it for the positive termination experience and potential referrals should you go out on your own.  Five months is also about bonus time, isn't it, if that is a factor? 

I guess my advice would be that you have 5 months to start keeping a list of all the things you want to do but can't.  During my periods of non-employment, I always seem to be bereft of ideas of things I want to do, but as soon as my time is taken away, I run across a fun or intriguing hobby or activity weekly.  With a 5 month countdown, start writing a list of anything that interests you.  With a month left, revisit the list and see if they were impulse interests or things that you would still want to try outside of the billable hours.  When you finally taste the sunshine after leaving on your last day, you'll already have a hectic schedule of activities to attack.

I can tell you that the one week period between my two places of employment in the legal world was one of the best weeks of my adult life, for one reason.  When I would check my phone, there was no dread about that little red number on my email telling me that I had to solve someone else's problem. 

Good luck and keep posting!  Let us know if you go full journal.

-Check2400

TN_Steve

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Re: Do I Quit?
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2015, 04:36:37 PM »
QFrugal,

We faced a similar situation 20+ years ago, although we were much more spendy than you, and had 3 younger kids.  DW made large as a doc, I was biglaw making big, but not-so-much after taxes/childcare, etc.

People were shocked that I quit to raise kids and "keep house" while DW focused on her career.  Neither DW nor I have ever regretted it.  I also had no real outside interests (other than kids/DW), but they quickly came.

In your situation, IF you guys are certain that you have no desire to increase spending, there is no reason to work unless you can't think of anything better to do, or if your identity/ego is tied to the profession.  (And, at least in my case, the profession will still be there long-after if you are flexible).

We, alas, like our international trips and scuba diving, so I'm back in the saddle for several years.  :-)

happy

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Re: Do I Quit?
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2015, 04:52:11 PM »
Qf If you are having trouble figuring out what you like to do, one thing that can be helpful is to think about what you loved/liked as a child…before you got indoctrinated.

Plan out a completely reasonable exit strategy leaving on good terms.  Then stick to it and do not start thinking about your colleagues feelings or what they might think of you. This will just cripple you, making it really much more difficult.

Ricky

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Re: Do I Quit?
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2015, 05:52:03 PM »
I think once you get some time off you'll quickly come to grips with what you want to do. It is helpful to have an idea of where you want to start, which you kinda do. Sometimes you can't figure out what you want to do until you've had the time to figure it out though. Most people here would feel comfortable puling the plug with $1M. With a paid off house and wife working, you'll obviously be more than fine. That said, no one here can answer how much you enjoy your colleagues or your job. Maybe your passion is law and you want to keep doing it for the intrinsic value it brings. I mean from a financial standpoint, you're golden. So it's really up to you.

I wouldn't worry about what your colleagues think, as it isn't their life or their business. If they're friends that are worth keeping, they won't let it come between your friendship. If you're not friends that hang out after work or anything, then why worry about it anyway? Once you're gone, you're gone.

Congrats on getting to this point! It's one thing to make a high income, but another to have good financial sense to know what to do with it.

Bateaux

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Re: Do I Quit?
« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2015, 10:58:52 PM »
I'm in a simular situation. I'm older, 46 and married.  We pull in nearly 200k combined.  Two adult sons, one with a year of college left.  Even though we are mounding up savings at an unbelievable rate, I'm burned out. With company match were saving almost 100k a year.  Current savings 1.3 million, no debt and 300 to 400k in paid off real estate. Assests are growing at an incredible rate.  Our goal is 2.0 million or March 2018 whichever comes first. I want to go now!   But, in such a short time we will be there.  I think you should also work just a few more years.  Your earnings are just too high to toss in the towel now.  Raise your goal to 2 million.

okits

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Re: Do I Quit?
« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2015, 11:33:56 PM »
Can your go part time or start to scale back a bit so you have leisure time to cultivate interests?  I think you can quit now, if you want, and devote yourself full-time to exploring other interests and aptitudes.  You also need time to decompress.

Despite your child going into school you may find there's still a place for a parent to be physically present and available, at least some hours in the day. (I assume you mean kiddo is 4-5 and going to kindergarten, not 17-18 and going to college.  At age four children still have need of their parents!)

You're in a great spot, give yourself a break and permission to do what's best for you and your family.  I have observed a lot of professionals identifying entirely with their work and having only social and mental stimulation via their jobs.  Life is so much more than just that.

Axecleaver

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Re: Do I Quit?
« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2015, 04:56:42 AM »
You're burned out. You need a vacation, sabbatical, or some time off to get some perspective, before you do anything else. Back when I was working for The Man, I put in 80 hour weeks and no matter how much of my time I gave to the job, I was never "done." Your job today probably requires that you decide which client's massive problem you're going to devote your time to, and who gets ignored, and that stress takes a toll on you after a while. You never get that feeling of a job well done.

Once you take a couple of weeks off, it might help to sketch out a new, five year plan. Create a few scenarios and work through what your new life would look like. Realize that earning money isn't necessary for you anymore, your DW covers all your expenses by a wide margin. So make your choice as if money had nothing to do with it (because it doesn't).

Reflect on why you got into law in the first place. What can you do to pursue the career you really want to have? Consider a different area of focus from what you're doing now, something lower pressure. Working with government, for example.

Or stay home, focus on childcare and spending time with your kid. Your kid will only go through those magic early childhood years once, and it goes by in a flash. Very few people who choose this ever regret it. 

You and DW have worked hard to achieve your FI, and you've done it. Congratulations! Get some space, catch your breath and plan your next move. You have a long, pleasant road ahead and the opportunity to do whatever you want to do.

Exflyboy

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Re: Do I Quit?
« Reply #19 on: May 16, 2015, 08:07:17 PM »
I am always a little hesitant to reply because I am notoriously risk adverse.

Having said that I think you should press on for a bit bigger stash. you have $50k, call it $60 to allow for some fun stuff (you got to provide for healthcare too). At 4% that's means you need $1.5M liquid.. I.e your house should be paid off. in addition to your stash.

With your collective incomes it should not take that long to hit $2M.

I don't think you HAVE to (you can probably cut back expenses) but it wouldn't take that long to add some cushion, as long as your not about to experience big health issues because of overwork of course.

Exhale

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Re: Do I Quit?
« Reply #20 on: May 17, 2015, 11:14:27 AM »
For concrete exercises to locate/reflect/expand on your passions/wishes/dreams check out:

- Artist's Way - some of it was too touchy-feely for my taste, but I ignored what I didn't like and found great insight through digging into the exercises.

- Artist's Way at Work - now working my way through this one for work-related issues I'm trying to resolve.

- Also helpful was Willpower Instinct for its section on envisioning/communicating with your future self.

« Last Edit: May 17, 2015, 11:16:57 AM by Exhale »

decessus

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Re: Do I Quit?
« Reply #21 on: May 18, 2015, 12:21:06 AM »
I've also heard The Art of Work (Goins) is pretty good.