Author Topic: Big life changes? What would you do?  (Read 1604 times)

Diver

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Big life changes? What would you do?
« on: January 19, 2017, 04:18:32 AM »
Hello from a longtime lurker, first time poster. I've gotten a lot out of perusing the forum over the last couple years but never had cause to add anything until now. I'm considering some big life changes and it'd be nice to have some objective and anonymous feedback on things!

A bit of background:

I'm 31 (nearly 32) years old, a U.S. citizen but have been living and working in small developing countries since graduating from college. SO is a 31 year old non-U.S. citizen.

My current job is pretty amazing in most ways. I manage a small business and the work is interesting, often even fun, and while it's certainly a full time job it's also extremely flexible and relatively low stress. My salary is modest by U.S. standards but the job includes housing, vehicle and fuel, utilities, cell phone, internet, and some travel costs. Our only expenses are for food, alcohol, miscellaneous stuff, any extra travel we want, and SO remitting money to help support family in her home country.

I've always been frugal by nature and had good early guidance from my parents on savings and investments. I opened my first account with Vanguard at 12 years old with money saved from doing yard work, snow shoveling, etc. for neighbors. I was lucky enough to have college expenses covered so graduated with no debt and while I've never earned a ton I've saved diligently and now have well over $300,000 stashed away (unfortunately it's almost all taxable since I've been working outside the U.S. and taking the FEIE).

Our current situation is roughly:

My base salary: $45,000
My annual bonus: varies but should be about $15,000 this year
My side gig: around $1,100 per month for the next 15 months
SO salary: $20,000

After taxes and expenses we should save about $50,000 this year.

Overall things are certainly going well but I've been feeling a need to start looking at other options lately as I get older - although the job is awesome being in a small, isolated developing country can be difficult and I don't know how easy it would be to find a job elsewhere if I stay here a long time. I'm increasingly thinking that I'll want to move on to someplace else within the next few years. My earnings are likely to be lower next year after the side gig is over and I suspect my bonus will be lower as well. Living here also means no SS or medicare in old age if we stay (though at the very least I hope to have enough savings to retire if I so desire significantly before that age).

So, my plan:

Apply to business school for an MBA later this year. My plan would be to stay in my current job until around the end of March 2018 and then take off for an around the world trip with the SO before starting school. We both love traveling and I really want to do something like this while we're still young and without kids. I'd graduate in two years at age 35. I love applied math and the problem solving involved in running a business - when I took over my current job the business had been in a rut for years but I was able to turn it around quickly with some new innovations to both lower costs and increase revenues. I think I'd be happy with the types of work I'd be looking at with an MBA although it'd certainly be a big change in lifestyle (my work uniform now is t-shirt and board shorts).

Doing this would significantly set back savings - probably something like $200,000 total for the trip and two years of school. Job prospects for SO in the U.S. are also questionable but hopefully she could find something (and she is on board with all of this). After graduating I'd certainly be able to earn a lot more than now but would also have higher expenses.

Part of me feels like I'm crazy to walk away from a job that most people would kill for but I don't know if I'd be happy here for another 10+ years and in any case it seems like the MBA route would come out ahead financially in the long run.

I don't have specific questions really, just looking for some input and feedback on this plan. How crazy is it? Any thoughts from MBA mustachians?

mozar

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3001
Re: Big life changes? What would you do?
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2017, 01:04:59 PM »
I think with your background it would be possible for you to get a full scholarship at a prestigious mba program which will also make it easier to get a job after.

birdiegirl

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 95
  • Location: Minnesota
Re: Big life changes? What would you do?
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2017, 01:49:54 PM »
Do you have an idea of what kind of career you will look for after you finish school?   Is there a way to try that type of job before you spend all that money for a degree? 

Not trying to discourage you at all.  But it's a lot of money to spend,  so I would suggest getting as much information as you can about the potential jobs you'd be look at after graduation to make sure they will be a good fit for you. 

Overall, I'm glad I got my MBA because I learned a lot both from the courses and my fellow students (I did an evening program with students that were all working full time).  But in the end I don't think it made much of a difference in my career path and earnings, experience seems to have been a bigger factor in my ability to increase my salary. 

But if you are able to get into a prestigious program that is a different story and it could make a huge difference for your earning potential. 

Diver

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 2
Re: Big life changes? What would you do?
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2017, 03:10:39 PM »
I think with your background it would be possible for you to get a full scholarship at a prestigious mba program which will also make it easier to get a job after.

This is definitely something to consider and would go a long way to making my decision easier, even if I was only able to get a partial scholarship. My goal is to go back to the business school at my undergrad alma mater (Ivy League, right up at the top in terms of median compensation after graduation). I know they offer plenty of need-based financial assistance (I assume I wouldn't qualify but will certainly investigate more) but am not sure of the degree of merit-based assistance.

It would also certainly be worthwhile to look into some other schools that may be more likely to offer financial assistance. I'd love it if I could do this and still mostly keep my savings intact.

Do you have an idea of what kind of career you will look for after you finish school?   Is there a way to try that type of job before you spend all that money for a degree? 

I'm certainly drawn towards consulting work particularly focusing on private sector growth in emerging economies. I do some similar work in my current situation though it's such a small place that options are somewhat limited and as with my current side gig (which will be two years overall with 15 months remaining) commitments are different to what I'd likely experience in that type of work (much longer and more in depth in my present circumstance).

I've been considering applying to that type of position prior to going back to school but am reticent for a couple reasons:

I wouldn't want to delay starting school as I'll already be at the upper end of the age curve for most MBA classes.
The earliest I could practically start a position like that would be September so at most I'd be working for about 10 months (and applying to school as I started the position).