Author Topic: External validation  (Read 1381 times)

Murse

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External validation
« on: June 01, 2021, 10:52:25 AM »
Hello everyone,

I think I need some external validation for psychological reasons. I rationally know looking at our figures what I am about to spell out will work but I think having some like minded individuals tell the same might help?

Due to being a nurse through covid I am very burnt out. We also had our first child recently. I requested my employer allow me to switch to part time and was denied, twice. I am still fighting this fight but I think I would be best off figuring I am leaving my job in December (burning all of my leave prior to leaving, basically will be part time until Jan 1.) I am having a hard time accepting I am leaving and continue to fight this which is also a source of my angst.

Hereís the deal, during covid I went all in on single stocks (this likely is also contributing to my burnout.) Net worth exploded from 300k to 1.1mish. I guesstimate our annual expenses at 60k/year. I am having internal fights about omy and burn out. Starting in September I plan to start selling my single stocks and shifting to vti/paying down margin (waiting for LTCG.) My wife states she plans to work part time forever, so realistically I think we can count on 20-25k income from her. I would prefer not to work but if I did I would make a minimum of 30$/hour. Currently make 55/hour but do not realistically think I could get this elsewhere, most likely will make 40-45ish/ hour.

1.1m = 44k withdrawal rate annually + wifeís 20k income, we should be good, right? This of course is assuming our stocks donít crash (I donít expect them to, if anything they should continue to go up.)

Debts include margin of 300k at 2%, mortgage 400k at 2.5%.

I have a 2 week vacation planned for Sept. also the goal we agreed on years ago was once we hit a NW of 600k we would both switch to part time positions and coast FI, so we have far outperformed that goal but I am still anxious.

I rationally know this plan is solid (assuming the market doesnít take a dump) but I am hoping some external validation will help. Thanks yíall.

bacchi

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Re: External validation
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2021, 11:18:56 AM »
Lot of issues here.

You're guesstimating your expenses. You need more exact numbers. Pull credit card statements and bank statements and figure out what you spent Jan-May and start tracking. Add in depreciation for property taxes, new roof, new car, new phone, new computer, etc.

You're burnt out. You want to quit.  What happens if the market does tumble before you can sell? What's your backup plan? The 4% rule doesn't account for investing in a non-diversified portfolio. Will you take a sabbatical instead?

How are you getting to $1.1M, considering LTCG taxes will be 23.8% from that $800k (?) gain?

Murse

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Re: External validation
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2021, 11:44:44 AM »
Lot of issues here.

You're guesstimating your expenses. You need more exact numbers. Pull credit card statements and bank statements and figure out what you spent Jan-May and start tracking. Add in depreciation for property taxes, new roof, new car, new phone, new computer, etc.

You're burnt out. You want to quit.  What happens if the market does tumble before you can sell? What's your backup plan? The 4% rule doesn't account for investing in a non-diversified portfolio. Will you take a sabbatical instead?

How are you getting to $1.1M, considering LTCG taxes will be 23.8% from that $800k (?) gain?

My expenses last year was 48k per mint. My guesstimation is based off adding having a new mortgage as well as healthcare costs on my states website. The 48k per mint includes a new 10k car every 2 years (which will not happen.) I believe my guesstimation is actually quite conservative with a margin of error, but fair points on roof expenses.

Jan-May was 3500/ month but this is very low compared to average due to not going out from having a new baby/covid and doesnít include any vacation spending (roughly 250$/month.) I expect these costs to rise substantially.

If the market does tumble before I sell then hopefully we are still above our 600k goal and we can both work part time coast FI. We are flexible, I could pick up a job or my wife could work more hours. While of course it is possible the market takes a tumble, I think my primary stock is much more likely to go up further, it is still less than 70% of what it was pre-covid. Yes, everyone thinks their stocks will keep going up.

As for the capital gains tax, some of the gain we made are in our Roth IRAs and 401ks. Second I plan to spread the sales over many years to pay a maximum of 15% on our gains, Slowly decrease the risk as I diversify. Current gains in taxable account are currently 490k. LTCG are taxed at 0% up until 80k as married filing jointly before even counting on our standard deductions or other tax breaks. Also I live in a state that does not tax capital gains.

Unsure if it was your intention- but in this moment after defending the plan, I feel more confident.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2021, 11:59:40 AM by Murse »

lhamo

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Re: External validation
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2021, 12:24:07 PM »
Would it help you mentally/emotionally to frame this as a sabbatical or trial FIRE rather than a permanent decision?

When I FIREd iin 2015 I wasn't certain it would stick.   Having an extremely robust cash bucket (which we are still living off of) made it easier to make the jump.  Plenty in cash to ride out ups and downs in the market, and low expenses mean even lower paying PT work could cover most of our basic needs.  It may not be financially optimal, but we have way more than we need already so having a big chunk in cash and mental calm that provides is worth the tradeoff.

Murse

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Re: External validation
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2021, 12:36:13 PM »
Would it help you mentally/emotionally to frame this as a sabbatical or trial FIRE rather than a permanent decision?

When I FIREd iin 2015 I wasn't certain it would stick.   Having an extremely robust cash bucket (which we are still living off of) made it easier to make the jump.  Plenty in cash to ride out ups and downs in the market, and low expenses mean even lower paying PT work could cover most of our basic needs.  It may not be financially optimal, but we have way more than we need already so having a big chunk in cash and mental calm that provides is worth the tradeoff.

It would help if I could pull it off. The problem is I would really like to keep the job Iím comfortable in making 55/hr (but part time.) There is a long line to get in the place I work, once I give it up I do not think I am likely to get it back. The job itself isnít great but the pay and benefits are.

So calling it a sabbatical means admitting I wonít work there part time which I donít know I want to accept yet.

dandarc

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Re: External validation
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2021, 01:22:27 PM »
Not in medicine, but I just started working a 3 day week in May - so far it is great and I wish I had done it sooner. Also agree that getting super confident about your expenses and to a better diversified portfolio will help with any anxiety. Plus just time getting used to the idea this is really happening will take some time I think.

I'm quite risk-averse, so I'd probably be looking to line up a 2 or 3 day per week deal at that $30 / hour (or higher) job for Jan. 1st, as having that in place would make me just generally feel better about everything. Of course, we are spendier than you are, so I probably do need to work more than you do, but this reads like it is confidence you want from this thread and having a job lined up that provides enough money for your spending definitely helps on that front.

Anyway, hope that helps on the validation front - you can and should make the change. Who knows, maybe with an actual resignation letter in hand, part-time suddenly is on the table at current place if that continues to be the best option. I'd quit anyway if it got to that point, but sometimes making it crystal clear that you really don't "need" this job opens up a lot of options that management told you weren't available before.

Rdy2Fire

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Re: External validation
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2021, 01:25:36 PM »
Take an FMLA leave

Morning Glory

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Re: External validation
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2021, 01:40:08 PM »
Take an FMLA leave

That is easier said than done. I vote sabbatical/trial FIRE, but keep your license active just in case it doesn't work out.

thd7t

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Re: External validation
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2021, 01:58:56 PM »
I'd do a couple things: First, create a glide path to a "safer" diversified portfolio.  Something that you can sleep easy with.  Second, get a handle on actual expenses.  Looks like you're pretty good there, but you can dig a little deeper.  Third, decide if $30/hour will be necessary for you to be happy working part time.  What would it take to sustain the lifestyle you want? You may be able to look at lower paying, more flexible options.  Instead of thinking OMY, maybe think "One Happier Year".  Your current savings and your wife's job should put you in pretty good shape, but if you could have a low-stress job that gave a bit of money, that might be icing on the cake.  At your spending rate, a half-time job paying $15/hour would throw off a nice cushion on top of what you have.  I think anchoring based on your current earnings could make you less happy.

seemsright

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Re: External validation
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2021, 03:34:24 PM »
You have more options than you think. You can take a break if the place you work gives you part time or not.

Nurses are in high demand, there are not enough of them due to burnout. Hell our state is calling in the National guard because of the nurse shortage for the State Hospital. I have a friend that works there. They are really working to give the nurses time off. I think they are working 3 on 4 off.

Run your numbers to the cent. Get a idea of what other costs you will have. Recover from your burnout and then make a plan. You cannot make a educated decision when you are this burnt out.

ChpBstrd

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Re: External validation
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2021, 04:13:29 PM »
My spouse was a nurse who got burned out and quit in late 2019*, after earning about what you were earning (perhaps a sweet spot for burnout?). A year and some months later we're coasting by on my much lower full-time income alone, and our NW is about $100k higher - at about the same as yours. So basically we should have a beer because we're living the same lives. :)

The spouse was able to help teach our kid from home during the pandemic when schools closed. FU money FTW; it worked out perfectly. My spouse doesn't know if they'll ever go back to work or not. We're maybe a 25% stock rally away from full FIRE. Thus it is hard to commit to a demanding new job or the stress of starting a new career path when a stock market zig zag could make it pointless 18 months from now. You'll be in a similar position, although the part-time spouse gives you the latitude to coast FIRE. I've always wanted to FIRE once and for all, and be fairly certain I never have to go back to work again, so it's been hard for me to rewire my brain now that we are on a coast FIRE path.

Recommendations:

1) Set your 401k/403b deduction amount so that you will fully max it out ($19,500). This will lower your taxable income and allow more room to digest LTCG's this year. If you can work until about March and/or delay cashing in your PTO until after next year, you could set your deduction to 100% of pay and max it out again for 2022 right before leaving.
2) Try to engineer it so that there's enough "earned income" that both you and your spouse can max out your Roth IRAs in 2021 and 2022.
3) Use your company benefits to start seeing a counselor once every week or two. Don't be one of those people who thinks they are so badass they don't need a coach. Do this while you still have access to benefits. In particular, you need a way to manage stress when your whole future hangs on a few individual stocks and you are margined to the eyeballs. How will you feel during the next routine 15% correction when $200k disappears from your brokerage screen - and you still have to work and you still have that debt?
4) Finally, you haven't mentioned your health insurance plan after you quit full time employment. Is an Obamacare plan factored into your $60k spend rate? You must get this sorted out before pulling the rip cord, but it's just another expense. Yay 'Merica.
5) Don't be like my spouse and wait until you are personally demolished by stress before you quit. If you are lashing out, having trouble sleeping, getting into feuds with people at work, dreading each day, struggling with depressive symptoms, etc. then you need to leave ASAP before you damage yourself even worse. There's a world full of jobs out there that won't leave you a hollowed out, traumatized shell. Recognize that damage is occurring each day, and understand that you're optimizing for both money and for your own mental health.

*It's not just Covid. The healthcare industry is being squeezed between stingy payers (Medicare, Medicaid, insurance co's), monopolists (pharma companies, equipment / device companies), and massive regulation, all in an environment of accelerating technology-driven cost increases. In such a world, fewer people will continue to be asked to do more and more every day by managers who are forced to use increasingly manipulative tactics until their employees break. This turnover then escalates the cost of healthcare even higher. People literally die as a result of all this, and these deaths are attributed to lack of medical attention and quality issues. You're aware of all these facts, but most people aren't, so I thought I'd write them down. I'll also add that this is a political choice we make. Hopefully there will be someone there when we all need care.

Abe

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Re: External validation
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2021, 09:31:11 PM »
You have a reasonably sound plan financially but agree the stress of riding this wild wave of stock prices may contribute to your overall poor mental health. I think the sabbatical idea sounds good, especially before things fall apart. Have you talked with the employer that youíre burning out and may just quit if they donít cut you slack? If you did and they still are being jerks, find a new place that needs part-time work since you 1) donít need the job for now and 2) are in a high-demand field.

hoodedfalcon

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Re: External validation
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2021, 08:52:09 AM »
Murse - for what it's worth, I recently decided I needed to walk away from my job. I am not at the FIRE number I always had in my brain, but I can lean FIRE and, like you, could easily find work again if I needed it. I struggled with the idea of giving up a nice 6 figure salary at a job that allows me to WFH. But burnout is burnout.

I think @ChpBstrd has a good suggestion with finding a counselor to help walk you through this. I actually did exactly that, and it was so helpful. A handful or two sessions later, I feel much more confident that a. this is what I need, b. I am allowed to put myself first and c. the world won't come crashing down. In my mind, I am treating this as a short-term undertaking that might turn long-term but I am intentionally not thinking more than 1-2 years down the road, bc then it becomes overwhelming to think about.

Good luck with whatever path you take!

FIRE 20/20

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Re: External validation
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2021, 07:43:39 PM »
I will offer two things that might be relevant to your situation that I found during my last two years of work and first two years after FIRE.  First, while your wife says she plans to work part-time forever I wouldn't count on that too much.  I set everything up to do some consulting work after I FIREd and I had every intention to follow through with it.  However I enjoyed FIRE so much more than I expected that there's no way in hell I'm going back unless something catastrophic happens.  When your wife sees you living the FIRE'd life she may decide to join you, or at least she may cut back on her hours.  Second, (and I've said this so many times on this forum that I'll keep it short - you can look at my posts if you want more details) one of the best things my partner and I did was to drop down to part-time, low stress roles for the last couple years of our career.  With $1.1M and $60k/year of spending and with skills that can earn you $30 / hour (plus your wife's work) I would absolutely without question quit and address your burnout.  You may not have enough to comfortably FIRE today, but you have way more than you need to quit and figure out things as they come.  If your stocks tank before you get into a more sustainable portfolio, that's ok - you can just extend your part-time work for a little while.  I'm sure there is someplace that will take a part-time nurse for the foreseeable future so unless you lose whatever certifications you need to legally practice as a nurse you should be fine.  It seems to me that you're in a nearly perfect situation to quit and take whatever the markets give you as you take the low-stress path up to your full FIRE number, whether that's through supporting your wife as she works or picking up some part-time nursing work.  You are in position to do whatever makes you happy until you have your full FIRE 'stache. 

clarkfan1979

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Re: External validation
« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2021, 12:45:43 AM »
You have more options than you think. You can take a break if the place you work gives you part time or not.

Nurses are in high demand, there are not enough of them due to burnout. Hell our state is calling in the National guard because of the nurse shortage for the State Hospital. I have a friend that works there. They are really working to give the nurses time off. I think they are working 3 on 4 off.

Run your numbers to the cent. Get a idea of what other costs you will have. Recover from your burnout and then make a plan. You cannot make a educated decision when you are this burnt out.

+1

Magnolia

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Re: External validation
« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2021, 05:59:26 AM »
Hey fellow nurse here.

I left a full time nursing job which was high stress after being refused my leave entitlements on several occasions. Was highly specialised with a post graduate qualification. Hospital did not care. Went to HR and got nowhere.

You will be able to find nursing work again. I have 4 jobs now.  1. work on a hospital bank casual, give Covid jabs/flu jabs, tutorial work at a college  2hrs/week plus marking essays and an exam. I supervise students on clinical placement. I actually enjoy the variety.

Have you thought about doing tutorial work/lecturing for nursing colleges in your area of speciality or clinical supervision whilst the nursing students are on clinical placements? Both these jobs look good on your CV and are casual.

Can you just work on the hospital bank at your current place of work? Get a job doing Covid jabs/flu jabs? Or what about a dialysis job? no night duty!!.   Do summer camp as the nurse. Do a 3 month contract once a year.  Nurses have heaps of choices.

If you are worried about your finances, can you not just earn whatever your living expenses are and try not to touch your stash.   Once you have had a break and recovered your equilibrium you will find something that may give you better life balance.
good luck with it all.





Sun Hat

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Re: External validation
« Reply #16 on: June 06, 2021, 05:43:35 AM »
TLDR: You can't afford to stay in your job. You can afford to leave. Do it before it's too late.

Not a nurse, but someone who left their burnout until it was too late. Burnout can cause a long list of mental and physical health problems. Our bodies aren't wired to be under high stress for long sustained periods of time, and with the life-and death impacts of nursing work, and the added stress of single-stock investing, your amygdala may learn that it needs to adapt to the higher load. When that happens, you'll have created a physiological change that will keep you in fight/flight/freeze mode permenantly. (I'm not a psychiatrist, so this is probably a significant over-simplification. This is just how I've come to understand what happened to my own brain with PTSD through a lot of reading and trying to understand my various doctors).  You're in a financial position where you don't have to take those risks. You're a millionaire. Don't risk heart attack, stroke, and cognitive impairment for $20/hr.


You need to reduce your stress asap before it ruins your ability to work in your field or function as a person.

1) Track  your expenses - not only will it help you to understand what your final stash needs to be, but it provides you with a sense of control. I found it very calming to see in concrete terms that I had enough.

2) Consider selling those single stocks and buying some index funds. Sell high and trade potential future growth for the ability to sleep and not obsess over every variation in stock price and news item.

3) Go to see a doctor. Tell them that you are burnt out. Ask them to prescribe a limit on your working hours and inform your workplace. Depending on the legislation where you live, they may be required by law to accommodate you.

4) Leave that job. Is your life worth the extra $20/hr? With your NW, a wife and kid, I hope not. You have FU money, so use it. Tell  your HR in definitive terms that your last day of work will be X unless you are offered part time work before then. Expect that they won't and be prepared to walk.

5) If  you need time to recover before you take up part-time work, take it.

Be well!