Author Topic: Exciting low-paying job in ideal location vs. Finishing FIRE  (Read 731 times)

FuegoPronto

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Exciting low-paying job in ideal location vs. Finishing FIRE
« on: April 05, 2019, 11:46:02 AM »
I'm hoping for some advice here on making a decision between accepting an offer for a low-paying job in a LCOL country where I really want to live vs. sticking it out in my high-paying but less-satisfying job to get to my semi-FIRE number. My semi-FIRE number is 450k for living abroad in a LCOL living country while doing occasional work. I don't want to retire completely, I'm in my early 30s.

I'm at about 300k in assets and able to put away at a minimum 50k a year, up to 70k if I travel less and get a bigger bonus. The place where I want to live costs about $1200/mo to live and the job would pay about that much. So in terms of ability to save it's clear that staying put would give me a better shot at reaching my goal in 2-3 years. The new job could eventually become more lucrative but not in the near future, but would also offer a broader swathe of possibilities.

Here are the pros and cons I've come up with:

Current job/location

Pros:
-I'm good at my job and job security is rock solid
-I don't have any complaints with my boss, my team, my commute or my schedule
-It pays well, I can save/invest 50-70k a year
-There is some opportunity for advancement
-It gives me a solid path to FIRE or semi-FIRE in 2-3 years
-I have a lot of autonomy and control over my work and my team

Cons:
-I'm not learning many new skills
-I'm not particularly excited about my job. I am as bored explaining it to others as they are hearing about it, or at least that's how it seems to me
-The opportunities for advancement involve more stress and responsibility without much increase in pay
-The job uses only a small subset of my skills
-Imagining myself doing the same job in 10 years or dying prematurely and having my obituary summarize me as a [current job] makes me sad
-Has little upside, I'm already near the maximum compensation I could get at my company
-Very little social opportunities with co-workers, friendly but little in common
-My ability/desire to take risks is gradually weakening
-If the stock market crashes in the next 1-2 years my 2-3 year target could turn to 4-5. Difficult to imagine doing this job for another 5 years
-If my boss were to change, it could go from no complaints to unpleasant quickly
-In 3-5 years I will be even less marketable in a new job/field

New job/location

Pros:
-Will develop and use many of my other talents
-Is in the location I have wanted to live in for many years
-Provides working visa, which is non-trivial
-Working with a team of people that I like
-Has greater upside since company is small and growing
-Even if it doesn't work out, would free me from mental chains I have to this job, could give me the push to start my own company
-Would provide great experience on resume that could lead to a job with a comparable salary in the US
-I already have enough assets to almost get by without working in the new location using 4% rule (about a $200/mo deficit)

Cons:
-I won't be able to save practically any money for the first couple years
-Much less job security, especially if another economic crisis is coming
-Going back to current position will be difficult, would have to pay dues again
-I might find things about the new company/location that I dislike just as much
-I will have less autonomy and be more dependent on other people for my work
-The location has some developing country problems
-If something happens i.e. family or disaster/war in new country and I have to go back in a few years I will be still struggling for FI at the same time I want to be starting a family
-The salary may require me to take on a room-mate depending on other expenses
-Moving and selling things

I really don't know at this point. Could use some unbiased advice from strangers; maybe I've made some mental errors in how I've been thinking about this.

Padonak

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Re: Exciting low-paying job in ideal location vs. Finishing FIRE
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2019, 12:10:10 PM »
Which country are you considering moving to? Why are you interested in moving there? What kind of job is the new job?

FWIW I am in a similar situation as you except I don't have any job offers overseas but if i looked hard enough I could probably find a low paying job in a low cost of living country My savings rate is similar to yours as well, so I'm staying put for now.
« Last Edit: April 05, 2019, 12:14:23 PM by Padonak »

jjcamembert

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Re: Exciting low-paying job in ideal location vs. Finishing FIRE
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2019, 02:52:17 PM »
I always find myself thinking similar thoughts, so here's how I'd go about it. First (and I'm very guilty of this as well) this is not a logical decision you're making, but an emotional one, so logic (like pro/con lists, numbers) are good but not that helpful. We already know the practical, logical answer: stick it out for a little while longer because you're not in a bad situation. You can achieve FI and then move to this country in a couple of years.

But on the other hand there's this "If I die while at my safe current job, was my life worth living?" It seems like your answer is no! If you were FIRE today, what would you do? Sounds like move to this other country.

Now here's the good news: you've already saved $300k at a relatively young age. If you earn only 5% on that for the next 15 years and contribute nothing you'll have over $600k and still be only ~50 years old. Play with those numbers and you'll see although you might be pushing FIRE out, you're likely not excluding it.

I can't speak to your Current job/location list, but having been in a similar situation in the past these are my ideas on the Prospective job/location:

Pros:
-Will develop and use many of my other talents [for a little while, until you learn the new skills and are bored again]
-Is in the location I have wanted to live in for many years [visiting and living are completely different experiences. for brevity: cultural differences, alienation, communication w/ friends/family, even daily things like going to the store change]
-Provides working visa, which is non-trivial
-Working with a team of people that I like [how do you know?]
-Has greater upside since company is small and growing [and greater downside]
-Even if it doesn't work out, would free me from mental chains I have to this job, could give me the push to start my own company [start your own company now or later, it's all the same. there's never a good time or a magical "push"]
-Would provide great experience on resume that could lead to a job with a comparable salary in the US [you already have a good job in the US]
-I already have enough assets to almost get by without working in the new location using 4% rule (about a $200/mo deficit) [seems like a good opportunity to test living in this country at no cost]

Cons:
-I won't be able to save practically any money for the first couple years [as I said above, stache will keep growing]
-Much less job security, especially if another economic crisis is coming [how likely is it that you can't find a job (any job) back in US? depends on industry]
-Going back to current position will be difficult, would have to pay dues again [always the cost of leaving. willing to pay it for this opportunity?]
-I might find things about the new company/location that I dislike just as much [you will]
-I will have less autonomy and be more dependent on other people for my work
-The location has some developing country problems [yet you still want to move there, so it can't be that bad]
-If something happens i.e. family or disaster/war in new country and I have to go back in a few years I will be still struggling for FI at the same time I want to be starting a family [lol @ "struggling for FI", at least you aren't struggling to eat! Families cost money either way: If you want to be FI before family then you need to stay put]
-The salary may require me to take on a room-mate depending on other expenses [does this matter if you're going after your dream job?]
-Moving and selling things [it's nice to eliminate all the stuff you think you need and reset every once in a while]

Tass

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Re: Exciting low-paying job in ideal location vs. Finishing FIRE
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2019, 03:54:03 PM »
Honestly, your lists sound to me like:

Staying
Pros: safety
Cons: boredom, sadness, stagnation

Going
Pros: enrichment of personal, career, social goals
Cons: risk

Take the risk. Here is your permission.

And the risk isn't even that big. I disagree with jjcamembert that staying is the "logical" choice - that's only true if FIRE is your only/most important goal, and it doesn't sound like it is. You have a big nest egg which will continue to grow, even if you ignore it, and which will cushion you in the most disastrous outcome. You are making this decision with so much MORE safety than most people would be - maybe it's not FI money, but it's still enough that you should feel free to make any of a wide variety of decisions and happily ride out the consequences.

Life isn't something to save up for later. What you're doing now is life, and you should do your best to enjoy this part.

Freedomin5

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Re: Exciting low-paying job in ideal location vs. Finishing FIRE
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2019, 04:31:38 PM »
Which country is the new job? What is the job? Why does the job not give you an expat package?

Iím an expat (have been for the past 8 years), and even at my lowest wage of around $1000/month, we were able to save $10k per year. Okay, so thatís not a lot of money but it also did not require living off my stash. If youíre moving to a developing country, the company should also provide you with a hardship allowance.

The only jobs I can think of that pay so little is being an oral English teacher or maybe nonprofit work. If itís teaching, and youíre credentialed, you can easily get a job at an international school making a US salary.